Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Research Degrees

Whether you’re looking to begin an academic career or want to develop your skills and expertise for a career in industry, studying for a PhD will be a journey that will stimulate your passion for your subject and push you to reach your potential.

The School offers three research programmes


> MPhil

> MA by Research


PhD by Distance Learning

The School of Music now also offers PhD by Distance Learning, for further information please contact Dr Mic Spencer, Head of the Graduate School: m.spencer@leeds.ac.uk


These can take the form of conventional thesis-based studies, but for PhD and MPhil can also represent practice-led research, where a commentary or smaller thesis supports a portfolio of recorded performances or compositions. All of these programmes, which can be conducted in either full-time or part-time mode, enable students to pursue advanced, independent research under the guidance of one or two specialist supervisors.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures also offers a PhD by Distance Learning programme which is available to UK, EU and International applicants. This variant form of the traditional PhD allows for flexibility of location of the postgraduate researcher, with a certain level of on-site time in Leeds for relevant training sessions and progression assessment points. For further information, please contact Dr Mic Spencer, Head of the Graduate School: m.spencer@leeds.ac.uk

Research in the School of Music is grouped under three main areas:

Music and Science

Music as Culture

Making Music

Entry requirements

You must have achieved a bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons), or equivalent, or a good performance in a Masters level course in a relevant subject. We also recognise relevant industrial and academic experience.

MPhil or MA by research candidates are normally required to have a good first degree in a related subject area.  If you are proposing to undertake research that includes practice-led elements you will normally be able to demonstrate appropriate experience and proficiency in relevant areas of practice.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to take an English Language Qualification and achieve the following entry requirements;

IELTS:  6.5 Overall with no less than 6.0 in all components

The University of Leeds Language Centre provides an Academic English for Postgraduate Studies pre-sessional course which is designed to help international students develop the necessary language and academic study skills required for successful study on a research degree programme.

For further information, please see visit the Language Centre’s website or contact via e-mail langc@leeds.ac.uk

How to apply

The easiest way to apply is online. This will allow you to track you application at each stage of the process. You will also need to write a research proposal, further details on the requirements of this can be found below.  Applications can be made at any time of the year, it is advisable that you contact the School before submitting an application.

Apply online now

For all enquiries please contact the Graduate School Administrator Linda Watson musicphd@leeds.ac.uk or 0113 343 8713. 

How Do I Write A Research Proposal?

Your proposal should be up to 3000 words, including the bibliography. We use your proposal to assess the potential of your topic for research, and to match your interests with appropriate supervisors.

Please give the following information in separate sections:

If you have any questions about writing your research proposal, please contact Dr Michael Allis m.allis@leeds.ac.uk Postgraduate Research Tutor for more information.

What happens next?

When the School receives your application, we will contact you. Wherever possible, we call candidates for interview. For international students, this can be a telephone interview. We will let you know the result of your application as soon as possible.

The University of Leeds welcomes applications from international students; further advice and information for international applicants can be found at: http://www.leeds.ac.uk//info/20019/international.

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