Music research degrees

How to applyMusic

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Check our current PhD scholarship opportunities now!

Our programmes

Music at Hull has a long-standing history of high quality research. Our internationally excellent and world-leading research in popular music, jazz studies, sonic arts, and music psychology was recognised by the Research Excellence Framework of 2014. We host up to 45 public performances every year and contribute regularly to musical events in the region, including Early Music festivals, jazz festivals and community projects as well as running the prestigious Newland Lectures in which renowned international academics, composers and music industry figures discuss their work in detail.

By studying here, you will be able to access some of the finest music facilities in the country following a major redevelopment of Middleton Hall - with rehearsal spaces and studios available 24/7. The investment will see some of the best facilities of their kind in the UK at the University of Hull, including a concert hall, surround-sound cinema, an ambisonic sound studio and industry-standard recording and rehearsing facilities. The refurbishment will include a new entrance and café with a 400-plus seater concert hall forming the centre-piece of the development. The versatile space is ideal for classical and popular music concerts. With adaptable acoustics, it will also be used for music, theatre and cinema screenings- see here for more information about our facilities. 

We offer a range of research degrees that include:

  • MA in Music by Research
  • MPhil in Music
  • MPhil in Composition
  • MPhil in Performance
  • PhD in Music
  • PhD in Composition
  • PhD in Performance

These programmes have been designed to be flexible to enable you to pursue your chosen specialism in a supportive and productive environment with individual supervision for all specialist modules. Our staff are active researchers, so you can access wide-ranging expertise quickly and easily. These programmes are available full-time, or part-time, and where appropriate, for distance learners.

MA in Music by Research

You’ll explore a topic in the field of musicology, composition or performance through the completion of a thesis of 40,000 words or equivalent, or the development of a practice-based portfolio. The topic might be developed into a larger thesis or portfolio through transfer onto an MPhil or PhD programme.

MPhil/PhD in Music

Research and advance your knowledge in a chosen area of musicology that culminates in a thesis of 60,000 words or equivalent for the MPhil; or 100,000 words or equivalent for the PhD.

MPhil/PhD in Composition

Develop a portfolio of original compositions of up to 60 minutes for the MPhil; 90 minutes for the PhD with supporting research documentation of 20,000 words for the MPhil and 25,000 words for the PhD, or equivalent.

MPhil/PhD in Performance

Focus on a research context related to your specialist instrument or voice, including conducting, and to demonstrate advanced solo or ensemble performance skills, culminating in a thesis of 25,000 words or equivalent for the MPhil; 50,000 words or equivalent for the PhD and portfolio of performances of 160 minutes for the MPhil; 300 minutes for the PhD.


We consider students for research degrees in any area in which we can provide adequate staff supervision and library or other relevant resources. You are welcome to contact the Postgraduate Music Admissions Tutor, Dr Alexander Binns ( in advance of your application to check the suitability of your chosen subject area.

We welcome proposals related to any of the following research areas:


  • British Music
  • Film Music
  • Historical and Critical Musicology
  • Theory and Analysis
  • Philosophy, Aesthetics and Semiotics
  • Jazz Studies
  • Popular Music
  • Psychology of Music (including performance, perception and cognition)


  • Acoustic (instrumental, vocal, film)
  • Electroacoustic
  • Computer-Aided Composition and Virtual Instrumentation
  • Multimedia
  • Sonic Art


  • Instrumental and Vocal Studies
  • Conducting
  • Jazz and Improvisation
  • Music Theatre and Opera
  • Performance Studies

Music Technology

  • Studio Production
  • Pedagogy

Admissions status

Open for admission in 2018/19

Research options

MPhil: 2 years (full-time) / 3 years (part-time)

PhD: 4 years (full-time) / 7 years (part-time)

MRes: 1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time)


Home/EU: £4,195 (full-time) / £2,098 (part-time)

Overseas: £12,800 (full-time)

*Please note, the fees shown are for 2017/18 entry. The fees for 2018/19 have not yet been confirmed, and may increase.

These fees are for all Music research degrees research programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

It is now widely recognised by employers, professional bodies and research funding agencies that specialist expertise alone is not sufficient preparation either for research or a subsequent career. With this in mind, the University of Hull requires all its postgraduate research students to follow a research training programme relating both to their particular field of study and to generic skills; for example, information technology and communication skills.

Postgraduate Training Scheme

Next steps


For information about bursaries and how to fund your studies see our money page, or take a look at our PhD scholarships page for specific funded PhD opportunities.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally have a first degree in Music with First or Upper Second Class Honours, or equivalent. Exceptionally, alternative musical qualifications will be considered. A detailed research proposal (approximately 1,000 words) will be required as part of your application along with a sample of work (musicology/composition) and/or an audition (performance) depending on your chosen specialism.

All applicants will be required to attend an interview and/or an audition (for performance applicants) as part of the admission procedure.

International students (language requirements)

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. For other English language proficiency qualifications acceptable by this University, please click here.

If your English currently does not reach the University’s required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.


Music at Hull has a sustained commitment to excellent teaching and research.

Our teaching is responsive to our students' interests, to ongoing shifts in music culture and to practical and intellectual developments in the discipline. Moreover, our research activities contribute to these developments nationally and internationally.