The Department of Music is an internationally renowned, research-driven environment for musical study and practice. Our research outlook is both cosmopolitan and international.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 rated 87% of our research as either 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*). This included 100% of our research impact being considered 'outstanding' (4*) or 'very considerable' (3*) and a research environment that was similarly assessed at 100% in being 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) for its vitality and sustainability. The department was placed 11th out of 84 submissions for the proportion of 4*+3* activity and is in the top 25% of all submissions nationally for Grade Point Average (GPA).
The Department of Music has a vibrant research culture and welcomes strong applicants with original research topics for its PhD Programme (see 'Research Areas' in the 'Structure and Awards' tab). In recent years the Department has been successful in securing several Research Fellowships and Studentships.
Applicants should normally hold a Masters-level degree in music or an area cognate to their area of research.
For students whose first language is not English, the following qualifications will meet the English language requirement for entry to a postgraduate course of study:
If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.
The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:
For more information see our main Visa page.
Research students follow individually supervised programmes leading either to the submission of a thesis (musicology; ethnomusicology), or a portfolio of compositions (instrumental and vocal composition and/or studio-based digital or electroacoustic work). Please note: the thesis for the composition is not a commentary on the student's works composed but a dissertation on an area of research related to the student's compositional interests.
Initially students are registered for the MPhil degree. Transfer to PhD status occurs once good progress has been made on the initial stages of the research; this can take place at the end of the first year of full-time study, the second year of part-time study, or later. The work completed at the time of transfer contributes to the PhD.
The PhD will normally be completed after three years of full-time research (five years part-time), followed by a one-year period of 'writing-up' during which the final preparation of the thesis or portfolio takes place. Students intending to complete the MPhil only will normally carry out two years of full-time research (or three years part-time), plus the period of 'writing-up'.
As a general guideline MPhil theses do not normally exceed 60,000 words, and PhD theses do not normally exceed 90,000 words. Audio and visual media may form part of the submission.
In Composition, the MPhil portfolio will normally contain at least three, and the PhD at least five, substantial works, or negotiated equivalent, with a contextualising commentary. The portfolio is accompanied by a thesis, which will usually consider aesthetic and contextual issues related to the works but is not about them. Substantially fewer words are expected for composition-based theses.
Applicants should normally hold a Masters-level degree in music or an area cognate to their research topic.
Research students follow individually supervised programmes leading either to the submission of a thesis (musicology, ethnomusicology); a portfolio of compositions (instrumental and vocal composition and/or studio-based digital or electroacoustic work); or a performance plus thesis (for performance-based research).
Please note: the thesis for the composition is not a commentary on works that the student has composed but a dissertation on an area of research related to the student's compositional interests.
Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.
You pay the above fees (which usually increase each year in line with inflation) annually until you are ready to go into 'writing up' status, whereby you are no longer researching your research topic and are solely writing up your thesis for examination. You will not be required to pay further tuition fees but you will be charged the writing-up fee of £300 which will cover you for the duration of the writing-up period (a maximum of 12 months for full-time and 18 months for part-time students).
If a student fails to submit their thesis within the maximum writing-up period, they will be reverted to full registration (full-time or part-time depending on their status before moving to writing up) and will be required to pay the full fees. Students will only be expected to pay for the time taken to complete the thesis and once the thesis has been submitted the remaining proportional fees will be refunded to the student.
Fees are payable upon registration. Details of methods of the payment of tuition fees can be found on our fees and funding pages.
The Department has been successful in securing or supporting research funding, and applicants for research degrees are encouraged to apply for Research Studentships where appropriate.
In the past few years the Department has been awarded five two-year Research Fellowships, of which only two are awarded each year, in Film Studies, Composition, Music Therapy and Historical Musicology. Two three-year Studentships, in Musicology and Ethnomusicology have also been awarded.
The Department has also been successful in gaining external funding for research, including various Research Council funds and a Leverhulme Trust grant for the City, University of London Sinfonietta composition project.
The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.
The School of Arts and Social Sciences is offering 7 fully funded doctoral scholarships for 2019 entry.
Each student is assigned a supervisor whose role is to:
City runs an induction programme, covering training in research methods, computer and library facilities, and discussion of research students' needs.
All research students present their work in progress in the Department's annual Research Seminar Series which acts as a regular meeting point for research students. There are also occasional postgraduate seminars in specialist areas, including a postgraduate composers' listening group.
Find out more information on the central provision for doctoral students in our City graduate school section.
With strong links between research and postgraduate teaching, research students benefit from the Department of Music's integration of Western and non-Western music, and an interdisciplinary approach that encourages studies related to popular culture and contemporary creative practice, performance, technology, aural culture and world music.
Research students are studying areas as diverse as London-based Klezmer music, 18th-century publishing practices and the nature of collaboration in live electroacoustic performance. All students benefit from participation in a weekly research seminar series, attended by both staff and student researchers across the Department. Other events held throughout each term include public concert series, specialist seminars and student performances.
We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry in late September and early February. There is no formal application deadline, but it is advisable to apply as early as possible due to the limited availability of supervisors.
To apply online, you will need to submit the following supporting documents:
When this information is received the application will be assessed by the relevant academic staff. Further information or an interview may be required. The applicant will be contacted if this is the case. The outcome will be reported to the applicant as soon as is practicable.
For instrumental and vocal composers, the Department has three ensembles in residence, EXAUDI vocal ensemble, Plus Minus and the City Pierrot Players, allowing composers to have works performed by these ensembles as well as visiting ensembles. Composers and creative practitioners working in electroacoustic and electronic music can work in the Department's well-equipped studios. They can also hear their work performed in our purpose built performance space, which is fully equipped with multimedia and network facilities.