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Research degrees

Students studying for a research degree concentrate on pursuing an independent research project devised in consultation with their supervisors. Musicologists and ethnomusicologists write a large-scale dissertation, and composers produce a portfolio of original compositions accompanied by a critical commentary. You will work under the guidance of an expert supervisory team and your progress will be reviewed periodically to support you in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.

To foster your development as a researcher and integrate you fully into the department’s community of scholars, we will ask you to participate in the departmental seminar series and attend the regular meetings of an appropriate research group related to your area of specialism. These events offer opportunities for lively intellectual exchange and debate which will stimulate you to find new ways of thinking about your topic and to refine your ideas. The department’s research environment is notable for its strong interdisciplinarity, which will enable you to become familiar with a range of pertinent methodological approaches current in other domains of intellectual enquiry. You will additionally be encouraged to present your work at conferences, workshops, and at other appropriate forums as suitable opportunities arise, and to participate in a range of training courses to assist your personal and professional development.

The research degree programmes that we offer are shown in the table below.

ProgrammeDurationThesis length
MA by thesis 1 year full-time or two years part-time 50,000 words (maximum)
MMus by thesis 2 years full-time or four years part-time 70,000 words (maximum)
MMus by composition 2 years full-time or four years part-time Commentary length: 12,000 words;
Composition length: 60 minutes
PhD by thesis 3 years full-time or six years part-time 100,000 words (maximum)
PhD by composition 3 years full-time or six years part-time Commentary length: 20,000 words;
Composition length: 90 minutes

Further information about each of these programmes can be found in our Postgraduate Research Students Handbook.

Detailed guidance on preparing an application can be found here.

Postgraduate Funding Opportunities


Postgraduate funding opportunities - find out more about scholarships available for postgraduate study.