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How to Apply

How to Apply for Graduate Study in Music at Cambridge

Key Dates

Note for MPhil and MMus: Even if you are not seeking funding from Cambridge sources, you are strongly encouraged to apply by 03 January 2019.

Note for PhDs New PhD students can begin their course at the start of any term throughout the year. However, the funding timetable is structured around an autumn start, and the same applies to graduate seminars, Freshers events, etc.

The Application Procedure

All applications are made electronically with an online Applicant Portal through the University's Graduate Admissions Office

It is important that you read through the information available on the Graduate Admissions Office website before submitting your application.

Funding

If you are seeking funding for your course, there are specific deadlines and eligibility criteria for each distinct funding competition. Please check the Graduate Admissions web pages for full details. You can use the Cambridge Funding Search to see which competitions you are automatically considered for.

For funding purposes, the deadline refers to the date on which you submit your online application with supporting documents.  It is vital that you submit your application by the earliest relevant deadline for any funding that you wish to be considered for.

Application Checklist

Your application needs to include:

PhD

  1. Two academic references
  2. Transcripts from your previous degree(s)
  3. Research proposal (approximately 750 words plus bibliography) - see note 1
  4. One or two samples of recent academic written work - see note 2
  5. Any relevant additional information - see note 3

MPhil

  1. Two academic references
  2. Transcripts from your previous degree(s)
  3. Research proposal (summary of proposed dissertation/extended essay topic, c. 250 words)
  4. Sample of academic written work (between 3,000 - 5,000 words)
  5. (Composition Students Only) CV, original scores and recordings - see note 3
  6. (Performance Studies Only) audio recordings - see note 3

MMus

  1. Two academic references
  2. Transcripts from your previous degree(s)
  3. Sample of academic written work (between 3,000 - 5,000 words)
  4. Performance video - see note 3

Additionally, you may need:

After the Application - What Next?

  1. Once you press submit, your application is forwarded to the Faculty.
  2. Two academics (with relevant expertise) will read your application, and decide whether or not to invite you to interview.
  3. If you are invited to interview, this will either be in person (for UK applicants), or via Skype (for international applicants).
  4. Afterward, your interviewers will write a joint report that is sent to the Faculty's Degree Committee.
  5. The Faculty carefully examines both the application and the joint report, and then makes its own recommendation to the central University.
  6. The University then sends out a notification to the applicant, either of an offer being made, or of rejection.

Due to the unusual structure of Cambridge University, these decisions can take a little while to filter through the various committees and departments that must consider them. As a result it may take several weeks for a decision to come through after your interview. We thank you in advance for your patience.

Please be aware that this process may take several months. You can check the status of your application at any time via your applicant portal but if you have any particular queries or concerns please .

Notes

[1] Research Proposals: While there is a box on the application form for a research proposal, the space is limited and formatting is very sparse. It is recommended that you upload a research proposal as a separate document.

Also note:-

PhD Applicants - You should give as much information as possible about your likely subject of specialization. This should outline the basis for your interest in the proposed subject (including some bibliography), situate your own contribution within the current literature, and tell us what you hope to contribute to our understanding of the field through your own research. While your choice of topic may evolve or change later on, this helps us to decide how well we can cater for your needs, whether you are qualified to undertake the research, and who your initial main Supervisor should be. You may state on your application form who your preferred Supervisor would be, and you may find it helpful to contact possible Supervisors before applying.  (You can find on this site a list of Faculty members and their research interests).

[2] Samples of Academic Written Work (PhD): 

The Faculty has no set requirements for samples of work. We typically receive two essays of 2,000 - 4,000 words or an undergraduate or Master's dissertation. Ideally, we want to see recent academic writing (on a relevant subject) in which the applicant examines a question with some degree of depth. That said, we are aware that many degree courses only ask students to write shorter pieces than this, and that is also acceptable.

Work submitted should be in (or translated into) English.

[3] Additional Information:

PhD Applicants -

Applicants who wish to include a performance component in their eventual submission are asked to describe how their scholarly research and performance activity will interrelate and inform each other. In addition, they should submit the following as part of their application:

  • one or more audio recordings featuring a range of repertoire lasting approximately 60 minutes in total. Audio recordings cannot be uploaded through the University's online application system, but should be submitted directly to the Faculty through Dropbox by sharing files with
  • a list of relevant performance activity and details of previous performance tuition.

Candidates for the PhD specialising in Composition are asked to submit:

  • between three and five original scores which demonstrate the breadth of their work and which should normally be accompanied by a live recording of at least one of these works. (Composers whose work is primarily electroacoustic may submit recordings of their works in place of scores.) Audio recordings cannot be uploaded through the University’s online application system, but should be submitted direct to the Faculty through Dropbox by sharing electronic files with
  • a written proposal of around 750 words outlining a proposed programme of work and its end results and clarifying their artistic intentions in terms of both their technical and poetic aspects. (Candidates are also encouraged to consider how the opportunity presented by the PhD may deepen their artistic self-awareness.)
  • a list of works and details of previous studies in composition.

MPhil Applicants -

Applicants wishing to specialise in Composition are asked to submit:

  • between two and four original scores which demonstrate the breadth of their work. (Candidates should submit recordings of some or all of these pieces in support of their application; in cases where a representative live recording is unavailable, midi realisations are admissible. Composers whose work is primarily electroacoustic may submit recordings of their works in place of scores. Audio recordings cannot be uploaded through the University's online application system but should be submitted directly to the Faculty through Dropbox, by sharing files with .
  • a Curriculum Vitae which should include a list of works and details of the candidate's previous studies in composition.

Applicants who wish to specialise in Performance Studies with the recital option should additionally include one or more audio recordings featuring a range of repertoire lasting approximately 60 minutes in total. Audio recordings cannot be uploaded through the online application system, but should be submitted directly to the Faculty through Dropbox, by sharing files with .

MMus Applicants -

Applicants are asked to submit a video of approximately 10-15 minutes in length as outlined below.  Video recordings cannot be uploaded through the online application system, but should be submitted directly to the Faculty through Dropbox, by sharing files with .

  • Candidates for the Vocal Pathway should submit a recording which shows you performing solo vocal repertoire. The recording should ideally contain at least two contrasted pieces.
  • Candidates for the Organ Pathway should submit a recording which shows you performing solo organ repertoire, in which you are clearly visible. The recording should ideally contain at least two contrasted pieces.
  • Candidates for the Conduction Pathway should submit a recording which shows you conducting and rehearsing a choir or vocal ensemble. The recording should be focused primarily on you as director of a choral ensemble (rather than on the ensemble itself). It should include footage of you rehearsing the ensemble as well as some longer sections of 'performance' - though these need not be in front of a live audience.

Study Music at Cambridge