Both the PhD and MA by Research require you to attend a training programme as prescribed by the Department and both are assessed on the submission of a portfolio of compositions but these differ between the two programmes:
MA by Research – the portfolio should have a total duration of between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the nature and size of the forces used, to be agreed with the supervisor.
For those following the MA by Research programme, it is possible to upgrade to a PhD.
PhD – this substantial portfolio (approximately 90 minutes in duration) should display a suitable range of genres and resources to be agreed by the supervisor, which is not derivative, and which satisfies the examiners that it contains original work which is worthy of performance at a professional level and also worthy of publication.
You can study an MA by Research or PhD programme on campus or by distance learning. Please note that if you are studying with us by distance learning, there is a compulsory annual visit to campus (every two years for part-time PhD students) - please see our frequently asked questions about distance learning to find out more.
You will have access to outstanding facilities in the new £16 million Bramall Music building, including five electroacoustic studios (all of them multichannel; the largest 24 channel), an isolation room for recording, a dedicated control room which can record sound from around the building, and an 18 seat computer cluster. The Dome room is home to the 32 channel BEASTdome system, regularly used for listening sessions, rehearsals, and concerts. The Elgar Concert Hall – which has extremely flexible acoustics and technologically advanced AV systems designed by renowned acoustician and architect Nicolas Edwards (Symphony Hall Birmingham, Symphony Centre Dallas, Royal Shakespeare Theatre) – is arguably the best and most adaptable space of its kind in any University in the UK. Like the entire building it is wired for audio over Ethernet, and multi-projector video presentation.
You have the opportunity to write works for the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (our ‘Ensemble in Association’) the Department’s New Music Ensemble, and for other workshops with visiting performers and ensembles (e.g. Darragh Morgan, Carla Rees, Joby Burgess, Exaudi, and the Hermes Ensemble in recent years). The internationally recognised BEAST system (Birmingham ElectroAcoustic Sound Theatre; arguably the best system of its type in the world) regularly presents student works in concerts with up to 100 loudspeakers in Birmingham and abroad (e.g. Berlin, Copenhagen, Basel). Our postgraduate laptop ensemble, the Birmingham Ensemble for Electroacoustic Research (BEER) provides opportunities to explore advanced aspects of live electroacoustic performance such as controller integration, network music, and live coding.
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.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are as follows:
Home/EU: £4,052 full-time; £2,026 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.
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
For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:
As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:
- Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
- Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
- Access to local library facilities (where needed)
- Access to IT facilities
- Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
- Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)
You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.
For all applicants:
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