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Music Research MPhil/PhD, option of joint PhD with HKU

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The department has an international reputation for music research in history, theory, anthropology/ethnography and composition. We are particularly strong in Western music from the twelfth century to the present day, jazz, opera, film music, performance studies, and the musical cultures of the Middle East, South and South East Asia, Latin America and West Africa.

PhDs can be co-supervised with other arts & humanities or social sciences departments at King's, or with a department at another of our London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) partners.

As a department, we believe in the complete equality of all areas of music research, and welcome students from all backgrounds, especially those who are currently under respresetnted in musicology, ethnomusicology, performance research, and composition.

Department of Music – jointly ranked 4th in the UK with Film (REF 2021). 100% per cent of the research impact and research environment was rated either ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).

Current number of academic staff: 16.

Current number of research students: 40 FT and 12 PT.

Recent publications:   

  • Lessons in Love and Violence and Written on Skin (George Benjamin). 
  • The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Emma Dillon). 
  • The Letters of Cole Porter and Mozart: Lettere d@Italia (Cliff Eisen). 
  • Romantic Empowerment at the Paris Opera in the 1770s and 1780s (Michael Fend).
  • Thinking on our Feet: A Somatic Enquiry into a Haydn Minuet' (Joseph Fort). 
  • Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Matthew Head). 
  • De oro y sombra (of gold and shadows), for ensemble (Silvina Milstein).
  • Contemporary Carioca: Technologies of Mixing in a Brazilian Music Scene (Frederick Moehn). 
  • Songs for a Dying World, for soprano and chamber ensemble (Edward Nesbit). 
  • A History of Opera (Roger Parker). 
  • Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature, and Performance in North India (Katherine Schofield with Francesca Orsini).  
  • Puccini’s Soundscapes: Realism and Modernity in Italian Opera (Arman Schwartz).  
  • The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music (Martin Stokes). 
  • Islam and Popular Culture, (Martin Stokes, with Karin Van Nieuwkerk and Mark LeVine). 
  • Britten’s Unquiet Pasts: Sound and Memory in Postwar Reconstruction (Heather Wiebe). 
  • Of Time and the City: Verdi’s Don Carlos and its Parisian Critics (Flora Wilson).

Current research projects: ERC project, Music in London 1800-1851; British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, Histories of the Ephemeral: Writing on Music in Late Mughal India

Joint PhDs available: Exciting opportunities exist to gain a joint PhD with Hong Kong University or with King's own Department of Digital Humanities.

Our department forms part of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), which offers Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships (www.lahp.ac.uk).

Key information

Duration Expected to be three years FT, four-six years PT. September to September, January to January or April to April.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and HKU for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Music



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Course detail


The department has an international reputation for music research in the areas of history, theory, anthropology/ethnography and Composition. We are particularly strong in Western music from the twelfth century to the present day, jazz, opera, film music, performance studies, and the musical cultures of the Middle East, South and South East Asia, Latin America, and West Africa. In our PhD programmes in Music Research you will write a thesis of max. 100,000 words; in performance research write a thesis of c. 50,000 words and produce a set of new recordings; and in Composition create a portfolio with technical commentary. Prospective students are welcome to contact any member of staff whose field of research interests them. Alternatively, music research and performance research applicants may discuss their plans with the PhD Coordinator Dr Katherine Schofield. Composers are encouraged in the first instance to contact Professor Silvina Milstein who coordinates the Composition programme.

Joint PhD Opportunities

The joint PhD in Music affords students the opportunity to work with leaders in the fields of Ethnomusicology, Musicology and Composition. We invite applications on any area of research represented by faculty interests. We also draw your attention to areas of overlapping interest among faculty in the departments of Music at King's College London and University of Hong Kong: composition; 19th-century music studies; music and film. Students in the joint PhD programme will benefit from one-to-one supervision with a number of scholars working in their field. The programme also offers them access to the lively intellectual communities in these two world-class centres for music research, as well as to all the cultural riches on offer in the cities of London and Hong Kong.

Postgraduate training

The London Arts and Humanities Partnership offers a full and varied programme of training events to King's students, whether or not they are recipients of LAHP doctoral scholarships.

Head of group/division

Dr Katherine Schofield (music research and performance research); Professor Silvina Milstein (Composition)

Contact for information

  • Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200
  • Music research (Musicology, ethnomusicology, performance) enquiries, Dr Katherine Schofield, katherine.schofield@kcl.ac.uk
  • Composition enquiries, Professor Silvina Milstein, silvina.milstein@kcl.ac.uk 

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Music Res Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements   

A Bachelor's degree with 1st class or 2:1 honours. A Master’s degree in Music or a related humanities or social science discipline is also normally required, but particularly strong candidates who do not hold a Master’s degree may be considered. Equivalent qualifications or experience may be considered in exceptional cases. Master's degrees in performance will usually only be considered suitable qualifications for the phd in performance research, but please contact the phd coordinator if you are unsure.

International requirements    Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.



Application procedure

You are encouraged to contact us before applying to discuss your proposed research project. We will need to be sure that your research proposal will make a significant contribution to scholarship and that it can be completed to PhD level within three years (or part-time equivalent). We will also need to feel that we can offer sufficiently expert supervision to give you the very best support that you can find anywhere. Admission to our research programmes will initially be for the MPhil but we expect students to transfer to the PhD after an appropriate period, by agreement with their supervisor and the Departmental Postgraduate Admissions and Research Committee.

Personal statement and supporting information

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application. To identify a supervisor please see: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/

Additional requirements differ for applications to the Music research, Composition and Performance Research pathways: please read carefully the instructions below. You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Music Research checklist
Personal Statement Yes (all applicants)

A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). Give your reasons for applying and achievements to date. In the first sentence of your personal statement, please make clear which pathway you are applying for: Music research, Composition or Performance Research. 

Research Proposal Yes (all applicants) The proposal (1,000 words) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.
Previous Academic Study Yes (all applicants) A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
Reference Yes (all applicants) One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Portfolio  Composition applicants only

Applicants in Composition should send a portfolio of recent scores (in hard copy), accompanied by recordings of the works if available, by post to this address:

PhD Composition Applications
c/o Claire Arnold
Music Department 
King's College London

Writing Sample Music Research and Performance Research applicants only

Applicants for Music Research and Performance Research should upload a Master's dissertation (if available) or two or three recent essays to the Admissions Portal. Your work should engage with the existing scholarly literature (so essays that are purely descriptive or technical are unlikely to be appropriate).

Performance Research applications only will be required to perform on their instrument/voice if selected for interview, or provide audio-visual recordings where that is impossible

Please note that all applications are handled in the first instance by Admissions. With the single exception of composers’ scores, which must be sent in hard copy, all documentation should be scanned and uploaded to your application, NOT sent to the address above.

Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application


Course intake

8 FT, 6 PT approximately.

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King’s.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

  • June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research with University of Hong Kong) 

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research with University of Hong Kong)  

Part time tuition fees: £10,935 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research with University of Hong Kong) 

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research with University of Hong Kong)  

Part time tuition fees: £11,115 per year (MPhil/PhD, Music Research)


EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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