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In the foreground a hand holds a conductor's baton and in the background is some sheet music

Musical Composition - PhD



3 years (Full time); 6 years (Part time)
Full-time; Part-time


Whatever your compositional background, our postgraduate composition degrees develop your creative voice and skills across an extensive period of time, all under the expert guidance of leading figures in composition and sound design. 

For the PhD in Composition degree, students are allocated principal and second supervisors who oversee and guide the development of their work.  Our staff have particular strengths in opera and music theatre music, music for screen and multimedia, electroacoustic music, sound design, improvisation, and music in the community.  Prospective students are encouraged to browse our staff profiles and make contact directly with potential supervisors.

Why you should choose this programme


Supervisory excellence. You will have access to supervision from a range of leading figures in composition and sound design.


Flexibility. The programme provides exciting opportunities for exploration across a range of creative practices and wider afield with the Schools of Art, Architecture, Design, and History of Art.


Professional prospects. The practical experience you will gain will stand you in good stead for a career in music and. Several of our alumni have gone on to have highly successful careers as composers.


A world-class research environment. Be part of an outstanding University with a world-class international reputation.


A vibrant capital city. Study in Edinburgh, one of the world’s great capital cities, with a vibrant music and arts scene. The beautiful highlands of Scotland are also only a short journey away.

How to apply & 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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