Study modes: Full-time, Part-time
Programme website: Creative Music Practice
The PhD in Creative Music Practice is an opportunity for you to pursue practice-led research in the field of music at the highest level. This will involve research that combines textual and musical outputs. For example, composition, performance (either of original or pre-existing repertoire), installation, sound design, and interactive music software.
The outputs take the form of a portfolio, performance or recording, as well as theoretical work and documentation of the processes by which the music was made (video, photographs, recordings, sketches, studies, web pages, etc). The musical outputs are explicitly linked to the textual material. This link may take various forms: musical material might exemplify, contextualise or expand an idea elaborated in the text, and vice versa. The programme requires candidates to critically evaluate and articulate the relationship of textual to extra-textual media in the formation of musical knowledge.
The format of the PhD thesis consists of a text of not more than 50,000 words, as well as the documentation of the process, contained in a coherent and archivable format (bound thesis and/or CD/ DVD). Where a thesis relates to live musical performances, documentation in the form of high-quality audio and video recordings is central to the submitted materials.
Typical applicants to this programme include:
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.
All research students undertake a research-methods training course at the beginning of their programme.
Regular individual meetings with the supervisor provide guidance and focus for the course of research undertaken.
All students also have access to the University's Postgraduate Skills Training courses.
The University offers one of Britain's largest and oldest-established music centres, with two international collections of historical instruments, state-of-the-art electronic and computer studios, and a special commitment to composition at an advanced level.
A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Any appropriate professional experience may also be considered.
Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:
If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:
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.
Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.
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:
Applicants for Creative Music Practice 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: