Practice-based research focuses on composition, performance, improvisation and other forms of multi-media work.
Areas of musicological and theoretical inquiry can include the following approaches:
- cultural and critical
- music analytical
- philosophical and aesthetic
Applications are welcome from students with academic or practice-based research interests in any field that we are able to supervise.
To view the staff areas of expertise please visit:
You'll join a wider community of fellow postgraduate students working in the International Centre for Music Studies (ICMuS), and more widely in the School of Arts and Cultures and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. ICMuS also holds regular PhD/MPhil forums for students to discuss their research.
We've highlighted important information about your course. Please take note of any deadlines.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
Find out about the different qualification options for this course.
An MPhil is available in all subject areas. You receive research training and undertake original research leading to the completion of a 40,000 - 50,000 word thesis.
A PhD is a doctorate or doctoral award. It involves original research that should make a significant contribution to the knowledge of a specific subject. To complete the PhD you will produce a substantial piece of work (80,000 – 100,000 words) in the form of a supervised thesis. A PhD usually takes three years full time.
How you'll learn
These programmes are delivered remotely or in the Armstrong Building. You'll be assigned a principal supervisor, supported by a wider supervisory team of one or more additional supervisors.
In the first year, you'll complete the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Doctoral Research Training Programme.
Beyond this, study is based on one to one tutorials with your supervisors, which can be flexibly scheduled. A blended approach of in-person and web-based supervision can also be negotiated for students studying remotely.
Depending on your modules, you'll be assessed through a combination of:
We offer a wide range of projects for the master's thesis. These will be provided by our academics. You can also propose your own topic.
If you choose to engage in academic research you are normally assessed by a thesis of no more than 100,000 words for PhD and 50,000 words for MPhil. If you choose to undertake practice-based research you will normally submit a portfolio (eg of scores, sound files, video files, other forms of documentation or some combination of these). This is supplemented by a related dissertation to explain the larger, practice-based component.
Our mission is to help you:
- stay healthy, positive and feeling well
- overcome any challenges you may face during your degree – academic or personal
- get the most out of your postgraduate research experience
- carry out admin and activities essential to progressing through your degree
- understand postgraduate research processes, standards and rules
We can offer you tailored wellbeing support, courses and activities.
You can also access a broad range of workshops covering:
- research and professional skills
- careers support
- health and safety
- public engagement
- academic development
PhD students may be given the opportunity to undertake some undergraduate teaching, with appropriate mentoring, at a suitable point in their study.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) researcher development programme
Each faculty offers a researcher development programme for its postgraduate research students. We have designed your programme to help you:
- perform better as a researcher
- boost your career prospects
- broaden your impact
Through workshops and activities, it will build your transferable skills and increase your confidence.
- techniques for effective research
- methods for better collaborative working
- essential professional standards and requirements
Your programme is flexible. You can adapt it to meet your changing needs as you progress through your doctorate.
Doctoral training and partnerships
There are opportunities to undertake your PhD at Newcastle within a:
- Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT)
- Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)
Being part of a CDT or DTP has many benefits:
- they combine research expertise and training of a number of leading universities, academic schools and academics.
- you’ll study alongside a cohort of other PhD students
- they’re often interdisciplinary
- your PhD will normally be funded
If there are currently opportunities available in your subject area you’ll find them when you search for funding in the fees and funding section on this course.
The following centres/partnerships below may have PhD opportunities available in your subject area in the future:
Our Careers Service
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
Quality and ranking
All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body
From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK
We have outstanding specialist music facilities. Our £4.5m purpose-built Music Studios were designed with performance, multimedia and studio-based work in mind.
Additional facilities include:
- two professional-grade recording studios
- a large student common room, including a work area with PCs featuring specialist music software
- a range of recently refurbished rehearsal spaces
- a full range of recently refurbished teaching facilities, including a 100-seat lecture theatre, two 50 seat lecture theatres and three 25-seater seminar rooms
- 12 practice rooms with integrated recording facilities
- a dedicated postgraduate workspace
- a project room equipped with 5.1 mixing system
The University Library provides access to
- extensive music collections (including a number of important manuscript and microfilm collections)
- subscriptions to many specialist music journals
- a significant body of online resources
The library is widely recognised for the supportive service it offers students and staff.
Fees and funding
Tuition fees for 2022 entry (per year)
For 2022-23 entry, we will be aligning our standard Home research fees with those set by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The standard fee will be confirmed in Spring 2022 by UKRI.
If your studies last longer than one year, your tuition fee may increase in line with inflation.
Depending on your residency history, if you’re a student from the EU, other EEA or a Swiss national, with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll normally pay the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate and may be eligible for Student Finance England support.
EU students without settled or pre-settled status will normally be charged fees at the ‘International’ rate and will not be eligible for Student Finance England support.
If you are unsure of your fee status, check out the latest guidance here.
We support our EU and international students by providing a generous range of Vice-Chancellor's automatic and merit-based scholarships. See our searchable postgraduate funding page for more information.
What you're paying for
Tuition fees include the costs of:
- tuition (or supervision)
- library access
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
Find out more about:
- additional costs
- living costs
- tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts
If you're applying for funding, always check the funding application deadline. This deadline may be earlier than the application deadline for your course.
For some funding schemes, you need to have received an offer of a place on a course before you can apply for the funding.
Search for funding
Find funding available for your course
The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
How to apply
Using the application portal
The applicant portal has instructions to guide you through your application. It will tell you what documents you need and how to upload them.
You can choose to start your application, save your details and come back to complete it later.
If you’re ready, you can select Apply Online and you’ll be taken directly to the applicant portal.
Alternatively you can find out more about applying on our applications and offers pages.
Open days and events
Open days and events
You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year including:
- Campus tours
- On-campus open days
- Virtual open days
We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.
Get in touch
Questions about this course?
If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:
For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.
Our Ncl chatbot might be able to give you an answer straight away. If not, it’ll direct you to someone who can help.
You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.
We regularly send email updates and extra information about the University.
Chat to a student
Chat online with current students with our Unibuddy platform.
Get involved with the Music social media.