PhD Musical Composition / PhD By Distance Learning / MA By Research

University of Birmingham

Application deadline: None, but early application advised
Tuition fee:
  • € 3,830 / Year (EEA)
  • € 14,860 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: Any time  
Duration full-time: 36 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time
Project type: Open
Educational Form: Academic

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Both the PhD and MA by Research require you to attend a training programme as prescribed by the Department and both are assessed on the submission of a portfolio of compositions but these differ between the two programmes:

MA by Research the portfolio should have a total duration of between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the nature and size of the forces used, to be agreed with the supervisor.

For those following the MA by Research programme, it is possible to upgrade to a PhD.

PhD this substantial portfolio (approximately 90 minutes in duration) should display a suitable range of genres and resources to be agreed by the supervisor, which is not derivative, and which satisfies the examiners that it contains original work which is worthy of performance at a professional level and also worthy of publication. You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

You will have access to outstanding facilities in the new £16 million Bramall Music building, including five electroacoustic studios (all of them multichannel; the largest 24 channel), an isolation room for recording, a dedicated control room which can record sound from around the building, and an 18 seat computer cluster. The Dome room is home to the 32 channel Mini-BEAST system, regularly used for listening sessions, rehearsals, and concerts. The Elgar Concert Hall which has extremely flexible acoustics and technologically advanced AV systems designed by renowned acoustician and architect Nicolas Edwards (Symphony Hall Birmingham, Symphony Centre Dallas, Royal Shakespeare Theatre) is arguably the best and most adaptable space of its kind in any University in the UK. Like the entire building it is wired for audio over Ethernet, and multi-projector video presentation.

You have the opportunity to write works for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (our Ensemble in Association) the Departments New Music Ensemble, and for other workshops with visiting performers (e.g. Darragh Morgan, Carla Rees, and Joby Burgess in recent years). The internationally recognised (BEER) provides opportunities to explore advanced aspects of live electroacoustic performance such as controller integration, network music, and live coding.

Duration: PhD 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time; MPhil 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time


Research interests of staff * Composition and acousmatic electroacoustic musicContact: Professor Jonty Harrison
Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5787

* Composition and live electroacoustic musicContact: Dr Scott Wilson
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5767

* Instrumental/Vocal CompositionContact: Professor Michael Zev Gordon
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 6743


The usual entrance requirement is an upper second-class degree or higher in Music, or appropriate equivalent qualifications

Applying to a Doctoral Research programme at Birmingham is a simple four-step process -

Step 1 - Ensure your qualifications meet our entry requirements|

Step 2 - Find a potential supervisor(s) and identify your research area|

Step 3 - Develop and submit an initial research proposal|

Step 4 - Submit your formal application

In order to undertake a programme of study here at the University, you will need to demonstrate that you have a good level of written and spoken English. You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS, TOEFL or alternative qualifications..


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