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Musical Composition - PhD
The normal period of study for the degrees are as follows:
- MSc: One year full-time or two years part-time
- MPhil: Two years full-time or four years part-time
- PhD: Three years full-time or six years part-time
For the MPhil and PhD in Composition degrees students are allocated principal and second supervisors who oversee and guide the development of their work. Candidates are normally admitted as probationary students for their first year of study; on satisfactory completion of this first year, candidates are approved for continued registration for MPhil or PhD.
Students submit a portfolio of original compositions in place of a thesis. The MPhil portfolio should include one work suitable to form the major item in a concert program.
For the PhD the portfolio should normally include one major work, the performance of which would occupy an entire evening (i.e. an opera). Part or all of the portfolio may consist of computer-based or electronic fixed-media works, interactive work or work involving new media.
There is no requirement for an additional thesis or commentary to accompany the portfolio, but students are required to develop an understanding of the cultural context of their work.
Professor Peter Nelson, Programme Director, Music - PhD/MPhil/MScR by Research | View staff profile >
All research degrees require students to work closely with a supervision team. Please browse staff profiles to learn about the research specialisms and outputs of Music staff. If your research is interdisciplinary, look at staff profiles in other subject areas, too. We encourage you to approach staff directly to gauge their availability and suitability as a prospective supervisor.
When making first contact with either a prospective supervisor or the Programme Director, please introduce yourself and mention your research intentions as a composer. If you maintain a professional website or online portfolio, please include a link.
This helps potential supervisors to understand your vision of the scope of a PhD or MScR project, and your understanding of the type of practical - as well as intellectual - matters that postgraduate research entails. This early contact with staff should also be helpful to you, for decisions you will need to make about how to develop your proposal, and with whom you would like to work.
Yati Durant, Programme Director, MSc in Composition for Screen | View staff profile >
Composition, Contemporary, Electroacoustic, Empirical, Improvisation, Music for screen (TV/Film/Game), Performance, Philosophy, Sonic art, Technology, Twentieth century, Twenty-first century
Dr Michael Edwards, Programme Director, PhD in Creative Music Practice, MSc in Digital Composition and Performance | View staff profile >
Algorithmic composition, Composition, Computational, Contemporary, Electroacoustic, Improvisation, Performance, Technology
Dr Martin Parker, Programme Director MSc Sound Design/MScR Sound Design | View staff profile >
Acoustics and audio, Composition, Computational, Contemporary, Electroacoustic, Improvisation, Instrument research, Music for screen (TV/Film/Game), Performance, Sonic art, Technology, Twenty-first century
Dr Gareth Williams, Teaching on MMus Composition | View staff profile >
Community, Composition, Contemporary, Music and health, Opera/Theatre, Twentieth century
Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.
A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.
Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.
Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.
The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.
Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.
At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.
ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.
Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.
EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.
Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.
A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.
The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.
Edinburgh is home to a number of musical societies, bands, orchestras and dance troupes.
17 practice rooms equipped with pianos, ideal for students requiring a private place for music practice.
A technical support team is on hand to help you with any studio or equipment queries.
Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.
Nearly 1,000 items including stringed, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.
Includes organs, harpsichords, and instruments from the Musical Instruments Museum.
By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.
A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.
Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.
The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.
Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.
Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.
The oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. Used for concerts and part of the Musical Instruments Museum.
Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.
Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.
Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.
Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.
A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.
A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.
Scholarships & bursaries
Successful applicants will have a research interest aligning with, or cutting across, ECA's five Schools.
The scholarships cover tuition fees, maintenance allowance, research and travel allowance.
Designed to attract high quality students applying for PhD research.
Funding for PhD students undertaking interdisciplinary research at ECA. (£16,000 per year)
Open to overseas students starting a PhD at University of Edinburgh.
Open to current students pursuing research in the area of Scottish Music. (£1,000)
Open to new and current postgraduate Musicology students. (£500)
News & events
Oli Jan was invited to an awards ceremony in Łódź, Poland where he was commended for his original compositions
Tomke Kossen-Veenhuis was placed second in the CHSS round of this year's '3 Minute Thesis' competition