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A student playing a flute being instructed by someone else in the foreground, while another student plays a violin in the background Image courtesy of Malcolm Brown


Music - PhD/MSc by Research

PhD/MSc Research


1 - 6 years
Full-time; Part-time


People come from all over the world, and from a range of different backgrounds, to study Music in Edinburgh. Many have a first degree in Music, but some have degrees in other subjects. Some are involved in making music as performers, songwriters and composers, but many are not. Their musical interests, too, are varied. What unites our students is a desire to understand more about what music is, how it works, and why it is such a fundamental and significant part of human culture and in doing so, make an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen area of study. 

Reid School of Music boasts a large and successful community of postgraduate research students. You will study with scholars, composers, and performers of international renown who are passionate about research. Our research programmes suit candidates who have a particular project and approach already in mind. We consider applications relating to any specialism which staff members have the expertise and capacity to supervise.

Research interests

Our staff have a wide range of expertise and can supervise a variety of topics including musicology and music theory, including audio-visual media, musical and cultural history, musical analysis, musical instruments, philosophy, politics, popular music studies, and psychology. Please browse our profile pages to learn about the research specialisms and outputs of Music staff.

Why you should choose this programme


You will have access to supervision from a range of world-class researchers, with expertise across a wide range of areas. 


You will have access to world-class computing, library and workshop facilities, all located in a European capital city with good transport links.


You will be living in a beautiful European capital city with a vibrant musical and arts scene and an internationally celebrated festival.


You will benefit from research training methodologies and seminar events, including distinguished visiting scholars, all within a lively, research-driven environment.


The programme provides exciting opportunities for cross-disciplinary exploration and research with the Schools of Art, Architecture, Design, and History of Art.

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate research programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder  
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply  
  • Find out about study modes, start dates and fees  
  • Find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal  
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Application process

Before you apply

Students are assigned two research supervisors, the second of which may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) or wider University. 

Please ensure that at least one member of staff (see below) maintains an active research programme that aligns with the themes of your proposed project.  

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to make contact with the relevant member(s) of staff via email to explain your research interests prior to submitting an application. Please note that we only accept applications and review application materials submitted through the official EUCLID application portal. 

After you apply 

Once your application has been submitted for consideration, it will be sent to a team of academic reviewers for their attention. They will then make a decision about your application and research topic, and decide whether it is possible to make an offer of a place to study with us. You may be asked to attend a brief online interview but if this is the case, you will be notified in advance. 

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 651 5740

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