Department of Music

PhD courses

Why study for a PhD in Music?

The School of Media, Film and Music offers a varied programme of research events, including student work-in-progress seminars, subject-specific research seminars and talks, events organised by our specialist research centres (including the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre), and talks by professional practitioners. The University’s Doctoral School also offers an extensive programme of study and professional development skills training for research students. For students engaged in creative practice there are state-of-the-art facilities and highly experienced technical support staff.

What to expect

To apply for doctoral study, you need to apply online and submit a research proposal. Your research proposal should normally consist of between three to five pages (1,500-2,000 words, not including bibliography).

1. Title of the project.

2. Brief abstract (50-80 words)

3. Your proposed field of study, giving an indication of why you think your research will be an original contribution to knowledge or understanding, and why you think your research matters.

Note that originality may take many forms: identifying a new field of study or practice – perhaps a field that has been previously overlooked, or a recently emerged phenomenon; offering a new theoretical approach to understanding an existing field of study or practice; offering new empirical evidence to modify knowledge or understanding in an existing field of study; proposing new methodological or technical approaches to a field of study or practice, etc.

4. Identification of key research questions (the ‘what?’, ‘how?’; ‘why?' of your project). It would be normal to present about three main research questions. 

5. The research context for your study, identifying relevant work in the field of study or practice, any theoretical approaches to be employed, etc.   

6. Methodology – how do you hope to achieve your research aims and outcomes? How will you answer your research questions?

7. A specimen bibliography, videography, or inventory of online resources.

How to apply
Writing a research proposal

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Choosing a supervisor

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Submitting an application

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Funding

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Recent PhD research in Media, Film andMusic

Music theatre

The musicalisation of theatre post-Grotowski; sonic body representation in performance art; animals in opera and music theatre.

Musicology

rock music in Britain from the blues boom to heavy metal; local psytrance scenes and their sonic aesthetics; the interdisciplinary art of Violeta Parra; transnational flows in K-pop performance; musical materiality and memory in British record labels; listener, performer and composer horizons and the construction of aesthetic experience; the impact of Stravinsky’s music on conducting, with reference to Stravinsky’s dance scores; changing performance traditions of Brahms in the 19th and 20th century as documented in the recorded legacy; Korean popular music, dance and video and the globalisation of Korean popular culture.

Composition

Ghosting Sonic Heritage: How can sound and music works interrogate sonic memory and temporality in relation to ruined, disused and repurposed industrial or post-industrial spaces?; Audiovisual syntaxes in contemporary compositional readings of early abstract cinema; Polychords and Tonal Implications in 'Post-Tonal' Composition.

Student experience

Goes here

See also

Contact us

For any enquiries about doctoral study in Music, contact:

Dr Kate Lacey, Director of Doctoral Studies
E k.lacey@sussex.ac.uk

Sarah Maddox, Doctoral Studies Co-ordinator
E s.maddox@sussex.ac.uk