Research course


The University of Manchester · School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Entry requirements

Successful completion of a Masters course with an overall classification of Merit or higher, or its overseas equivalent, with an element of research training, is a prerequisite for entry to a PhD. A research proposal must be included with the formal application materials.

The University requires you to reside within a commutable distance from Manchester during your time as a registered student, unless you are on approved fieldwork/a formal placement or are on a period of Submission pending. This is to ensure that you are able to meet attendance expectations and participate in wider research activities within your discipline area and/or School. Should you be unable to do this at any point during your programme, a formal case must be made to the Faculty office, together with the full support of your supervisor(s). The University reserves the right to reject such a request where it is considered that your residency could have a detrimental impact on the progression and engagement of your studies.

Months of entry


Course content

You will develop historical and/or analytical skills at an advanced level, with independence and originality of thought combined with technical skill. The supervised research will normally be related in some way to the research interests of a member of staff; these currently include but are not limited to:

Medieval and Renaissance music; English Baroque music; Baroque music theory and performance practice; Beethoven and his contemporaries; Music in 19th-century Germany (Mendelssohn, Schubert); Analysis; 20th-century music, especially that of Russia and the Soviet Union; 20th-century symphony; Opera; Music in contemporary culture; Ethnomusicology; Music Revivals in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Musicologists and ethnomusicologists will produce an 80,000 word dissertation that presents independent and original research executed at a high standard. They will be assigned a research panel consisting of their supervisor, a co-supervisor and advisor who will meet with them on a regular basis to monitor their progress. Postgraduate students are expected to take part in the academic community of the department and University by participating in seminars and presenting their research at regular intervals.

Recent or current PhD topics in Musicology and Ethnomusicology include: 'Aesthetic and Ideological Trends in the Reception of Mendelssohn's Music in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Sinéad Dempsey); 'Beethoven's Compositional Approach to Multi-Movement Structures in his Instrumental Works' (Erica Buurman); 'Arrogance or audacity : the music of Sebastián Raval' (Esperanza Rodriguez-Garcia); 'Alfred Schnittke's symphonies 1-3 in the context of late Soviet music' (Ivana Medic); 'The Chapel Royal Partbooks in Eighteenth-Century England' (James Hume); 'Music Publishing and Compositional Activity in England, 1650-1700' (Stephanie Carter); 'Structure, rhetoric, imagery: intersections of literary expression and musical narrative in the vocal works of Beethoven' (Matthew Pilcher) 'Schumann's Music and Hoffmann's Fiction' (John Macauslan); 'Printing Polyphonic Music in the Early 16th century' (Sanna Raninen); The String Quartets of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (Daniel Elphick); 'Diligentissime Emendatum, Atque Correctum? The Transmission And Revision Of Plainchant In Italian Printed Graduals, 1499-1653' (Marianne Gillion); 'The Music of Fantasy Film Franchises: On the Creation, Evolution and Destruction of Musical Worlds' (Daniel White); 'Transmitting guitar culture within and between island communities: Maltese prejjem at home and in the Maltese-Australian diaspora' (Andrew Pace); 'Music and Spirit Possession in Yoruba Worship' (Sam Amusan)

Information for international students

Students whose first language is not English require:

an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component


a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test


a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 overall with 70 in the writing component


an overall Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III grade of Merit with Merit in the writing component.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The School offers a limited number of bursaries and studentships on a competitive basis, details of which can be found via the links below.

Please note that whilst we do not have closing dates for programme applications, all funding competitions have a specified deadline for submitting the funding application form and a separate (earlier) deadline for submitting the online programme application form, both of which will be stated in the funding competition details below:

Qualification and course duration


part time
72 months
full time
36 months

Course contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
+44 (0) 161 275 3559