Course information

Department

Music

Length

3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time

Course overview

Goldsmiths’ Department of Music has a lively and varied research base, large postgraduate community, active performing tradition, and offers proximity to London’s resources.

Staff research interests are correspondingly diverse and wide-ranging, and we offer research supervision in any of these areas of specialism.

Our MPhil/PhD pathways

You can register for any one of the following:

  • Written thesis of up to 100,000 words (MPhil: 60,000 words). We offer supervision in many areas of music studies.
  • Composition. Examined by portfolio of compositions, together with a 20,000 word commentary (MPhil: 12,000 words).
  • Performance. Examined by a full-length recital, together with a related 50,000-word thesis (MPhil: 30,000 words).
  • Sonic Arts: Examined by portfolio of practice, and a 40,000-60,000 word commentary (MPhil: 20,000-30,000 words). Portfolios may include recordings, documentation of installation work, or other sonic arts work.
  • Practice-Based Research in Music: Examined by portfolio of practice, and a 30,000-60,000 word written element. Portfolios may include recordings of composition; documentation of performance; ethnographic film; web-based and digital humanities projects; documentation of installation; other practice-based research.

Research supervision

You are assigned members of staff qualified to supervise your research throughout your period of registration. Supervision involves regular meetings throughout the period of study, and involves the development of an intensive intellectual relationship between you and your supervisor.

Facilities

You have access to Goldsmiths’ Graduate School, containing an open-access computer room, a student common room and seminar room for use by postgraduate research students. 

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Patricia Alessandrini

Structure

Overview

You can study full-time or part-time. The programme normally begins in September, but applications for entry in January and April may be considered.

Supervision is available in any of the areas of specialism outlined above or covered by staff research interests.

Research students are strongly encouraged to contribute to the Department’s research culture. You will have regular opportunities to present papers at seminars and conferences.

Composers can have pieces performed or recorded by Goldsmiths ensembles, including the Sinfonia, or by the Ensembles-in-Residence.

Performers are encouraged to take part in departmental concerts, and may audition for concerto appearances.

Registration and study

Initially, you register for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme to train you in the research methods you will need to complete a PhD. You can apply to transfer to PhD registration when you have satisfactorily completed an agreed part of the research and training programme; this usually happens after approximately 18 months if you are studying full-time, or before 36 months if part-time. 

You should aim to complete and submit your PhD thesis within an agreed period, usually three to four years for full-time students, and four to six years for part-time.

If you decide not to upgrade to PhD registration, you can submit your thesis for an MPhil after two years if you are studying full-time, or after three years if part-time. With the agreement of your supervisor, you can change your registration from full to part-time or vice versa.

North American applicants especially should note that the British system does not include preparatory taught classes or examinations as part of the MPhil/PhD programme, except for an initial course in research methods.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a high pass in a taught Masters degree. In exceptional circumstances we will also consider applicants with an undergraduate degree and professional experience equivalent to a Masters degree.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

AHRC studentships.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Normally, you should begin by contacting either the programme contact listed above, or a staff member active in the relevant field in order to discuss their research project. Staff biographies and specialisms can be seen on our staff pages.

Once you have discussed and shaped your project, and the staff member concerned has provisionally agreed to supervise you, you should draft a formal research proposal and personal statement. The former should be about 1,500 words long, and should outline your project, describing your research questions, methods, and context – this part comprising a literature review, and a statement as to how your work will seek to make an original contribution to knowledge. The personal statement should outline the reasons you want to carry out the project, your longer-term plans as a researcher, and the ways that you see your work as fitting into and being supported by our Department.

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online

           Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview.

Find out more about applying.

Staff

Please visit our Staff pages to find out more about who teaches in the Department.

Research

What our students say

Viktoria

"At Goldsmiths I found a versatile music research community which allowed me to combine performance and academia as a creative and informative process."

"Academic supervision expertise, the Centre for Russian Music, research events and Graduate Festivals and a vibrant concert life, have made my study experience scholarly rich and musically interdisciplinary. At Goldsmiths I found a versatile music research community which allowed me to combine performance and academia as a creative and informative process. I studied musicology at the University of Athens followed by music performance studies at the Royal Academy of Music and thus a doctorate degree in Performance Practice enables me to continue developing in both directions."

James

"Studying music and sound at Goldsmiths affords incredible opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration."

James is an artist and composer whose work focuses upon exploring sound composition through site-specific installation and and autonomous systems art. His practice-based doctoral research at Goldsmiths includes explorations into documenting site-specific sound work and the archival impulse.

James says:

"Studying music and sound at Goldsmiths affords incredible opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration, great resources (the Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths Music Studios, the Daphne Oram archive), and provides a thriving community within one of the most innovative centres for artistic research in the world."

Jeremiah

"Studying at Goldsmiths has been deeply rewarding."

Jeremiah’s research focuses on the jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, and aims to develop a clearer picture of his stylistic development. To do so, Jeremiah’s work examines Reinhardt via a critical engagement of his socio-cultural milieux, and within the frame of his geo-historical contexts. 

Jeremiah says: "studying at Goldsmiths has been deeply rewarding, and I have been inspired by the diversity of thought and richness of ideas that I have encountered at the University."

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