Research Degrees in Music | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Schools
  3. School of Arts and Cultures
  4. Music
  5. Study with Us
  6. Research Degrees in Music

Research Degrees in Music

Alderley Edge Prize Band image

Postgraduate research students may work towards the degrees of MPhil or PhD in a range of topics that match or are allied to the research areas of academic staff, including

  • historical and contemporary studies of musical texts, contexts and performance;
  • interdisciplinary themes in music research, including film and literature;
  • the social and cultural study of music.

Each student is supported by at least two supervisors, as well as a programme of university-wide training in research skills. OU students benefit from the flexible approach to learning offered by the University, which also allows them to receive supervision from staff working in different faculties. In addition, they have opportunities to participate in a lively research culture and to contribute to regular seminar programmes, conferences and workshops.

Further information on PhD study can be found in the Research Degrees prospectus.

How to apply

Funded study

We accept applications for funded doctoral study each year; the deadline falls in mid-January. Applicants are initially assessed for a place on the Music PhD programme; successful applications are then forwarded to internal and external panels that consider them for AHRC and OU studentships. Here is the guidance on how to apply.

Applicants for research degrees usually hold a good undergraduate degree in music as well as an MA in the subject (although a number of our students have come to doctoral study by other educational routes).

We encourage applicants to send us, at least five weeks before the January deadline, a draft research proposal following the guidelines in the studentship posting. The draft will enable us to assess your topic and approach, provide you with feedback, and let you know whether we have the specialist staff to form a supervisory team for your project. It often takes a significant amount of time and effort to put together a strong PhD proposal, so we encourage you to send your draft early.

Please send draft proposals and questions to FASS-Music-Enquiries@open.ac.uk.

Self-funded study

We also accept applications for self-funded study outside of the studentship process, with applications due in mid-January (for study starting the following October) and at the end of August (for study beginning the following February). The application deadline for October 2018 entry to our PhD programme is 10 January 2018.

We encourage potential applicants to send us, at least five weeks before the application deadline, a draft research proposal following the guidelines here.

Please send proposals, draft proposals, and questions to FASS-Music-Enquiries@open.ac.uk.

Current research students

Heather Armsby: The role of women in the British brass band

Amanda Ashworth: Associations with the visual arts in the music of Debussy: from Pre-Raphaelitism to Art Nouveau

Samantha Bassler: "The Most Splended Period of English Music". Sir Richard Terry and the Reception History of William Byrd's Latin-Texted Music in Britain during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Paul Britten: English Municipal Orchestras in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Natalie Burton: The marriage of music and poetry: structure in the twentieth-century English song cycle

Michael Busk: The early nineteenth-century music festivals in Manchester and the industrial north-west of England

Kirsty Caine: The Story Tellers: Narrativity in Popular Music from 1998–2008

Sarah Clarke: An Instrument in Comparative Oblivion? The Guitar and Amateur Players in Victorian England

Lucinda Cradduck: Spirituality in the Music of Edmund Rubbra

Nick Curley: Indigenous music and syncretism in post-colonial Australia

Kerri-Anne Edinburgh: A study of the effects of nationalism, patriotism and politics on the experience of listening to music in wartime Britain, 1939–1945 (Listening Experience Database studentship)

David Force: A 'Holding, Uniting-Constant Friend': The organ in seventeenth-century English domestic music-making

Daniel Gouly: Soundcloud, sampling and sonic experimentation: community in hip-hop's online underground

Chris Grey: Church-musical aesthetics (co-supervised with Philosophy)

David Hammond: The Culture of British Military Music in the Interwar Years and its Relationship with the Music Industry

Tom Hewitt: Cyborg Music: A Future Musicotechnographic Aesthetic (co-supervised with Philosophy)

Maciej Kierzkowski: The history of brass bands of Poland

Angelo Pinto: The Symphony as a Novel: Mahler’s Tenth

Jessika Rittstieg: The role of Eugene Ysaye in the promotion of Contemporary Franco-Belgian Chamber Music

Martyn Strachan: Style in the Music of Arthur Sullivan: An Investigation

Recently Completed PhDs

2017

Andrew Cusworth: Welsh Folk Music of the 19th and early 20th centuries (Arts and Humanities Research Council Capacity Building Scholarship at the National Library of Wales)

2016

Ben Byram-Wigfield: The Sacred Music of Antonio Lotti: Idiom and Influence of a Venetian Master

Owen Coggins: Drone Metal and Mysticism (co-supervised with Religious Studies)

Anthony Prechtl: Adaptive music generation for computer games

2015

Alan Karass: Music and the Negotiation of Identity at the International Festival of the Sahara in Douz, Tunisia

Richard King: Contemporary Catholic Liturgical Song 

2014

Andrew Gustar: Statistics in Historical Musicology

2013

Seymour Wright: AMM and the Development of Free Improvisation as a Musical Practice

2012

Adrian Poole: Learning, Performance and Entrainment in Cuban Music

Andrew Hill: Understanding and interpreting the 6 suites for unaccompanied violon cello by J S Bach

Nicholas Logie: The role of leadership in Orchestral conducting

 

Photo credit: By Chas, H. Prince, Alderley Edge - https://www.flickr.com/photos/27718315@N02/6257242061, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome