Postgraduate study


Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Music

If you are interested in undertaking a small independent research project in music, the one-year MSc by Research is ideal. This programme is offered in any of the areas in which members of our music staff are able to supervise.

In consultation with your supervisor you will develop an individual programme of coursework and research training over the two semesters. You will submit a dissertation, or portfolio of projects equivalent to 30,000 words.

Should you wish to undertake a large piece of independent research in music we have a wealth of opportunities. Candidates are normally admitted as probationary students for the first year of study and on satisfactory completion of this first year are approved for registration for MPhil or PhD. You will submit a dissertation of 60,000 words for the MPhil, or 80,000–100,000 words for the PhD. You may also submit an edition of work, or works, with a shorter commentary. Staff have a wide range of research interests, and you may propose projects in any area for consideration.

Members of staff engage in research at an international level in:

  • Composition (including Electroacoustic Composition, Algorithmic Composition, and Computer Music)
  • Film Music
  • Music in the Community
  • Music Psychology
  • Music Technology
  • Organology
  • Performance Practice
  • Renaissance and Baroque Music
  • 19th and 20th century Music
  • Popular Music and Music Sociology

Interdisciplinary research can also be supervised in the following areas:

  • Acoustics of Musical Instruments
  • Musical Informatics
  • Music and Architecture
  • Music Education

The principal centres of research activity are:

  • Composition
  • Musicology
  • Institute for Music in Human and Social Development
  • Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments
  • Music Informatics Research Group
  • Musical Acoustics
  • Music in the Community

All of our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary approach and all are assigned two research supervisors. Your second supervisor may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences or elsewhere within the University, according to the expertise required. On occasion more than two supervisors will be assigned, particularly where the degree brings together multiple disciplines.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Any appropriate professional experience may also be considered.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional programme costs (APCs) are used by programmes in Edinburgh College of Art to cover associated costs such as: basic consumables; equipment purchase, hire and maintenance; computing hardware and software; field trip and excursion expenses; and programme specific events. More detail will be available in programme handbooks.

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Research degrees are based on independent study determined by proposals for research projects submitted by candidates. For research proposal guidance please see:

If you are applying for a research degree within Music that involves Composition or Creative Music Practice you will also be required to submit either a portfolio of three pieces of composition or examples of work related to your proposed field of study.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE