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Postgraduate research

Music and Sound PhD

What is Music and Sound?

A research degree in Music and Sound offers you the opportunity to engage in an extended piece of academic research, either through creative practice in the production of an original body of work, or through the production of a written thesis. During this process, you’ll draw on and extend existing knowledge and practices, and you’ll show that your research makes an original contribution to knowledge.

As a research degree candidate, you’ll be supported by a supervisory team with expertise in your subject and/or research approach. A research degree can offer career progression opportunities in academic research and teaching, in addition to enhancing students’ understanding of professional practice, facilitating other routes for career progression.

We support research practice in the following areas:

  • Ageing in popular music
  • Composition and sound design for film, TV, and games
  • Cultural history of popular music
  • Ecomusicology / music and sustainability
  • Gender in popular music
  • Music production
  • Music and screen media
  • Spatial sound and immersive audio

Current postgraduate research includes:

  • Exploring non-linear time within Interactive and Adaptive Electronic Music Composition through Unreal Editor (practice-based)
  • Audio, Immersion and Audiences in Gaming (practice-based)
  • Immersive Audio and Enhancing Creative Expression (practice-based)
  • The Music of Michael Kamen: Using an Archive to Explore Composition Processes
  • Hauntological Aesthetics in Film Soundtracks (practice-based)
  • Gender Identities in Popular Music: A Corpus-driven discourse analysis of song lyrics in Japan and the UK

Study style

As a Music and Sound research student, you can take a practice-based approach to research, and develop a creative project which will be accompanied by a short thesis, or develop a musicological or theoretical project in the form of an 80,000 word, written thesis.

Researchers have opportunities to study, discuss or showcase their work, engaging with colleagues from a range of areas via seminars, symposia, conferences and training events.

All research students have access to the Music and Sound production facilities at Park Campus, and are encouraged to make use of them as part of their research. Our facilities include, 22.2 immersive audio lab, Dolby Atmos dubbing theatre, recording studios and production labs.

You’re also encouraged to attend national and international academic conferences in the latter stages of your research to present your ideas, and receive feedback at such events.

Get Music and Sound course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Entry requirements

    • At least a 2.1 honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area

    • A master’s degree or equivalent in a subject area relevant to the proposed research topic.

    • We’re happy to receive applications for students wanting to do their PhD by portfolio or publication. You’ll need to submit materials from your practice (film, composition, exhibition etc) and books or chapters in anthologies, between 6-12 months after registering. You’ll also need to write a supporting commentary of 6,000-10,000 words, which clarifies your work’s coherence, significance and contribution to knowledge.

    • We actively encourage applications from students from a range of diverse backgrounds who demonstrate appropriate research experience and achievement.

    • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent.

    • Please provide a copy of your research proposal. This should be 1,000 words (excluding references and appendices) following the structure outlined in this research proposal guide.

      Please note; we’re unable to process applications without a proposal for the School’s consideration. Not supplying one will delay the processing of applications.

Fees and costs

Start date Course code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
October 2023 £5,100 £11,730
February 2024 £5,100 £11,730
October 2024 TBC TBC
February 2025 TBC TBC

Ready to apply?

Possible careers

  • Academic research and teaching
  • Music Producer
  • Composer for Games and Screen Media
  • Immersive / Spatial Audio Engineer
  • Sound Designer for Games and Screen Media
  • Accreditations & memberships

Music and Sound at University of Gloucestershire is part of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership and the Music Managers Forum, giving students exclusive and extensive access to a range of music industry events and professional development opportunities.

Industry links

Our School of Creative Industries runs annual research events such as the Equal Platforms symposium and the Women, Ageing and Media summer school. Plus there are regular seminars and lectures throughout the academic year, which are open to postgraduate students from across the university.

Present your research

The School of Creative Industries will support you with opportunities to present your work at national and international conferences and festivals.

Join our academic community

We run events allow you to present and develop your research and creative practice in a vibrant and supportive atmosphere.

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