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MusicPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Research Degrees

Southampton is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research in music. We were ranked top in the UK in the most recent national evaluation (Research Excellence Framework 2014). PhD students—researchers, teachers and leaders of the future—join a flourishing postgraduate community that is key to our success.

Our Courses

Our PhD supervisors are specialists the music history from the Middle Ages to the present, global music history, opera studies, theory and analysis, music and gender, music and heritage studies, arts and cultural management, music technology (including Web Science and artificial intelligence), and ethnomusicology. We welcome PhD applications in performance studies (including critical editing, performance practice and reception theory) and all kinds of composition, including film music, electronic music and music-based performance art. See our staff pages for more information about individual supervisors and their expertise.


Students at lecture

Our PhD Students

We warmly welcome applications from promising researchers of all backgrounds. Our PhD students come to us from all over the world. Many study part-time alongside professional careers in and out of music. Others are returning to university study after careers in other fields.

Our research community numbers about 40 postgraduate research students. All have a primary supervisor and a team of co-supervisors. Many draw on co-supervision outside of the department: we have particularly close links to Southampton’s Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training and the Parkes Institute for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.

Graduates of our PhD programme go on to careers at universities in the UK and abroad. Others teach students of all ages and perform around the world. Some take up leading roles outside of academia. Whatever their role, they make use of the world-leading research training they received at Southampton.

Our Research Community

We host workshops and seminars by distinguished music scholars (the Hartley Residencies), performers and composers throughout the year. Our PhD students take advantage of our rich and growing network of international partners, including Erasmus links from across Europe and members of the World Universities Network such as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Rochester (Eastman School of Music) and the University of Western Australia.

PhD students have 24-hour dedicated study spaces with networked computers, printing and scanning facilities, shelves, and storage space. Our computing laboratory and state-of-the-art electronic studios are available for postgraduate use.

Student at computer

Financial Aid

Our students receive financial aid from sources such as the AHRC South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWWDTP), the Leverhulme Trust, the Wolfson Foundation, their own national funders and the University of Southampton. If we accept you on our PhD programme we will work with you to apply for all available sources of funding.  See our Money Matters page for more information.

How to Apply

If you are ambitious about your research career as a musicologist, composer or performer, we want to hear from you. We positively encourage you to make informal contact to discuss your ideas and how we can help realise them.  You are welcome get in touch with prospective supervisors or the Doctoral Programmes Director, Hettie Malcomson.

PhD students begin their course at the beginning of October each year. There is no fixed deadline for application. We recommend that prospective students applying for entry in October 2019 contact us as soon as possible to avoid missing funding deadlines.

Apply for a postgraduate research degree


Southampton is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research in Music - we are the top-ranked Music department in the UK

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