4 years full time, 6 years part time
Choose to start in September 2017, January 2018 or May 2018

Music Theatre

Work across media and forms to challenge disciplinary boundaries. You’ll study with expert faculty to produce a performance work supported by a portfolio of practical research activities or compositions and critical writing.

We welcome research proposals in history and theory of opera and music theatre as well as artistic practice, and also welcome applicants from varied disciplinary backgrounds.

Full-time and part-time study

You can choose to work on your research full time or part time. For details about part-time study, contact us at

PhD or MPhil?

You can choose to study for a PhD or an MPhil. PhD and MPhil degrees differ in the length of the course and therefore in the extent of the research work you can undertake and incorporate in your thesis.

  • An MPhil typically takes three years full time and four years part time. You’ll conduct an independent piece of research but in less depth than for a PhD. You will graduate with the degree title Master of Philosophy.
  • A PhD typically takes four years full time and six years part time. You will undertake a piece of research that makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge or understanding in your chosen field.

If you choose an MPhil, you might be able to change to a PhD during the course of your studies.

How to apply

If you’d like to join us as a research student, there are two main routes:

Find out how to apply for a PhD at Sussex


The Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre (CROMT) focuses on issues of music theatre such as:

  • theories and practices of opera
  • experimental music theatre
  • related multimedia forms.

The Centre’s activities involve critical and theoretical enquiry into opera and music theatre, historical research, and practice-based research, often in collaboration with partner institutions in the Sussex region (e.g. Glyndebourne Opera) and elsewhere in the UK and Europe.

CROMT also organises seminars and conferences on opera and music theatre, and creative projects and events. 

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Martin Butler
    Professor of Music

    Research interests: Musical Performance

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    Dr Evelyn Ficarra
    Lecturer in Music

    Research interests: Collaborative Projects, Composition, experimental film music, Installation, Music, Music Technology, Music Theatre, Sound Art

    View profile

    Mr Tim Hopkins
    Research Fellow

    Research interests: Intermedia, lyric theatre, Making New Works, Opera Production

    View profile

    Prof Ed Hughes
    Professor of Composition in Music

    Research interests: Composition, ensemble music-making, ensemble performance with technology, music and silent film, the orchestra

    View profile

    Prof Sally-Jane Norman
    Professor of Performance Technologies

    Research interests: Embodiment and Technologies, Performing Arts, Practice-based research, Scenography, Sonic Arts, Theatre History

    View profile

    Prof Nicholas Till
    Professor of Opera & Music Theatre

    Research interests: art practice, Critical Theory and Marxism, Cultural History, experimental art, historical materialism, historical musicology, opera and music theatre, Opera Production, practice as research, Scenography, Sound Art

    View profile

Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree or equivalent professional experience in a subject related to your chosen area of research.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our PhD degrees.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Scholarships and fees

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters Loan

MPhil students might be eligible for a Postgraduate Masters Loan. This is not available for students registering for a PhD.


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Part-time work

We advertise around 2,500 part-time jobs a year so you can make money and gain work experience. We have a special scheme to employ students on campus, wherever possible.

Find out more about careers and employability

How much does it cost?

Fees for self-funding students

Home: £4,195 per year

EU: £4,195 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £4,195 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Our fees follow the indicative fee level set nationally by Research Council UK and may be subject to change.

Contact us