Music Performance Practice PhD/MA by Research

Uniquely, we offer degrees in performance practice at MA by Research and PhD levels, which allows performers of a proven ability to develop their work on historically-informed performances of western art music. The programmes are assessed by performance supported by written work which demonstrates a high level of ability in presenting, and reasoning from, historical evidence relating to performance practice.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Distance learning, full time, part time

Duration: PhD - 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MA by Research - 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: Year-round. Major intakes in September and January.

Details

The MA by Research in Performance Practice is examined by:

  • a thesis of c.20,000 words
  • a performance not exceeding 45 minutes actual performance time (30-35 minutes for wind and brass players) which illustrates, at least in part, ideas raised in the thesis
  • a written programme note for, and detailed critical commentary on, the performance.

The PhD in Performance Practice is examined in two stages. At the end of Year 2, you will give a live ‘Minor Performance’ of 30 minutes, together with a written programme note for, and critical commentary on, the performance.  This performance is examined by two internal examiners and is followed immediately by a short viva focusing on issues of performance. You may be advised by the examiners not to proceed to the PhD in Performance Practice, but rather to transfer to a Musicology PhD.

At the end of Year 3, you will be examined by:

  • a thesis of c.60,000 words
  •  a ‘Major’ performance of one hour’s actual performance time (40-50 minutes for wind and brass players),
  •  a written programme note for, and detailed critical commentary on, the performance.

Note, the performance will be given as a standard live recital, of which a recording will be made and a copy on CD submitted with the library copy of the thesis. The recital element will be examined by three examiners (one external and two internal).

These courses can be studied on campus, or by Distance Learning

Profiles of our current Music doctoral researchers

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:

  • Home/EU: £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,550 full-time; £7,275 part-time

Please note that this fee is for 2015/16 only. For courses lasting more than one year, fees for subsequent years will also be due, and are liable to change.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

Eligibility for Home/EU or Overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

Learn more about postgraduate tuition fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Making your application

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Research interests of staff

  • Singers and singing; gender and sexuality; performance; early modern period.
    Contact: Dr Amy Brosius
    Email: a.brosius@bham.ac.uk
  • Fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; violin performance; conducting.
    Contact: Dr Andrew Kirkman
    Email: a.kirkman@bham.ac.uk
  • Early music performance practice.
    Contact: Dr Mary O'Neill
    Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5792
    Email: m.j.i.oneill@bham.ac.uk

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Birmingham?s Music postgraduates work in a wide range of careers within and beyond the music world. A postgraduate degree in Music develops a broad base of skills including general skills such as communication, problem solving and research, and also specific skills developed by practice and performance such as self-management, team work and presentation.

Over the past five years, 96% of Music postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Whilst some graduates pursue music-related careers, others choose to use their transferable skills to follow career paths in fields including finance, the media and the public sector. Employers that graduates have gone on to work for include: Arts Council England; BBC; Birmingham Conservatoire; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group; Coventry City Council Performing Arts Service; Lancaster University; National Opera Studio; National Orchestra; Raffles Institution; and Royal Northern College of Music.