School of Arts and Cultures



The PhD takes 36 months full-time study or 72 months part-time.

A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) is the gold standard of all research degrees. It is normally the minimum requirement for entry into an academic career.

Course structure

The PhD can be taken by:

  • thesis in musicology (historical and critical musicology, ethnomusicology, analysis
  • portfolio in composition (notated, studio-based, or other forms - see here ) or in performance (see here )
  • elements of both

During your time as a student in ICMuS, you will have your research training needs assessed and attended to, you will be assigned two supervisors in your chosen area of specialisation and you will have full access to our outstanding research facilities in ICMuS.

ICMuS staff have research expertise in, and are keen to supervise research students in, these areas:

  • composition
  • ethnomusicology and world musics
  • folk music (Ireland and Britain)
  • historical musicology (medieval, early modern, nineteenth-century and twentieth-century musics)
  • improvisation
  • mixed-media work
  • music analysis
  • music and cultural theory
  • performance
  • popular music studies
  • studio-based work

For more information about the areas in which staff at ICMuS undertake research, click here.

The PhD by thesis requires the submission of a 100,000 word thesis. This is based entirely on original research. 

The PhD by portfolio requires the submission of work based around your creative practice. It is usually accompanied by a smaller thesis.

Your research

You'll have your research training needs assessed and attended to throughout your PhD study. This might include special additional courses or training outside of the university. You'll be assigned two supervisors in your chosen area of specialisation. You will work alongside our current music PhD community of some 30 students, and you will also be given opportunities to develop the skills and experience you need for your career after your PhD. 

Our staff are keen to supervise research students in their specialist areas. for which they are known internationally. Click here to see more about those specialisms..