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Postgraduate research


Music students performing in a band

Join our community of researchers at Southampton, and work at our internationally-recognised centre of excellence for research in music. 


We welcome PhD applications in areas such as performance, musicology (including opera, critical editing, domestic music), composition (including concert, film, and electronic music) and music technology. You'll have access to instrumental teachers and supervisors who are leading practitioners in their fields.

Our research community

You'll be supported by a research community of around 40 postgraduate research students. We'll also provide a primary supervisor and a team of co-supervisors to support you.

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 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
  • University of Rochester (Eastman School of Music)
  • University of Western Australia

Our work in performance features both practice-led research by professional performers, and the study of European art music performance and performance history.

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 academic staff specialise in research topics including:

  • performance
  • music history
  • cultural studies
  • composition
  • music technology

In music technology, our staff are involved in AI-based tools for:

  • music production
  • digital composition
  • interactive music systems
  • work with conductors on motion capture

Main areas of research

Our research areas include:

  • British music history
  • cultural policy
  • early music
  • 18th studies and 19th century studies
  • music theory
  • gender, sexuality and queer studies
  • postcolonial and critical race studies

Similar research degree topics

We also collaborate with colleagues in:

  • electronics and computer science
  • the School of Health Sciences
  • Southampton Business School
  • the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research

Many research students have co-supervision outside of the department, and we have particularly close links to Southampton’s Web Science Centre for Doctoral Training and the Parkes Institute for Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.