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PhD in Music

The PhD in Music is available as a full-time programme lasting three years, or a part-time programme lasting five years. It is available in all areas in which we can offer supervision, including historical musicology, analysis, ethnomusicology, music cognition, composition and practice-based research in performance.

The majority of graduate students in the Faculty undertake research that is directly connected with the particular research interests of specific Faculty members. If you are planning an application, we recommend that you initially get in touch with the member of staff whose interests seem most in line with yours. Our Research Themes page gives an overview of the principal areas of the Faculty’s research and the academic staff who work in these areas.

Because of the diversity of research topics pursued, the PhD programme in music at Cambridge does not involve a core taught component. There are a variety of skills training opportunities, and some incoming research students audit courses offered within our MPhil programme, but in general you will be working primarily with your individual supervisor. Your formal studies will be complemented by attendance at Faculty colloquia and seminars, while membership of a college will enable you to socialise with students and others from a wide variety of disciplines. Studying for a PhD at Cambridge gives you access to facilities and a range of Research Resources that compare favourably with anywhere in the world.

Recorded performances may now be included within a doctoral submission, along with an academic thesis of the standard length. Students who wish to pursue this possibility are encouraged to make contact with the member of staff most relevant to their particular performance-related interests.

We realise that for many potential applicants, funding is a major issue; see Funding Graduate Study for information on costs and funding options. Applicants whose proposals involve fieldwork, performance tuition, or other substantial additional expenses should include an indication of approximate total costs as part of their application.  While small grants may be available for research and travel purposes, these should not be expected to cover funding for your case studies, performance tuition or major fieldwork expenses. Some support for doctoral students undertaking fieldwork is also available from the School of Arts and Humanities.

The PhD programme is available on a part-time basis over five years, but please note that this is not a distance learning course and you will be expected to attend supervisions and participate in other Faculty activities in person, even if you don't live in Cambridge. If you come from outside the EU, please note that it is not possible to obtain a student visa for part-time study. See the University’s Graduate Admissions pages for further details on part-time study.

Further details of graduate life at Cambridge may be found on Cambridge Students webpages.

Study Music at Cambridge