Why choose this course
Surrey is a respected authority in sound technology and musical research. Thanks to our renowned expertise in musicology and composition, and the prestige of the Institute of Sound Recording, we can count many household names in entertainment, audio technology and the recording industry among our partners and collaborators.
Research in music and sound brings together a broad range of interconnected subject areas, including dance, digital arts, film, music, theatre and sound recording. Facilities include industry-specification sound-recording studios, music-practice rooms and venues for concert performance and musical theatre.
The School is highly collegiate, with a close-knit and supportive academic environment. It is home to the Institute of Sound Recording, one of the world’s leading centres for research in psychoacoustic engineering and sound perception.
Our musical research and composition achieves wide international circulation through established scholarly channels and broadcast media. We are also principal organisers of the Guildford International Music Festival.
Our music programmes were ranked second in the UK by the Guardian University Guide 2019. Academic members of staff are well known internationally for their exceptionally strong research profiles.
What you will study
Our research degrees prepare you for success at each stage of your PhD project development. The structure of our Music PhD is designed to provide intensive graduate preparation for a future career and is suitable for either part-time or full-time candidates.
As a PhD student within our Department of Music and Media you will conduct a research project within one of our areas of research strength. Completion of the programme entails submission of a thesis, the submission of practice if undertaking a practice-based PhD, and an oral viva with external examiners.
PhD students in all programmes in the School of Arts can expect three levels of research training: University-level, School-level and subject-specific.
University-level training is provided by the Postgraduate Skills Development Programme and the University Library including a PhD induction, workshops on writing skills and preparation for the confirmation and viva. There is also an annual student-led University Postgraduate conference. School-level training is offered in the form of interdisciplinary seminars, reading groups, visiting speaker events and conferences. You will also receive subject-specific training that will vary depending on your programme. You may participate in research “intensives” featuring formal presentations of work by students, keynote seminars, study groups on current themes in arts research, and research skills training sessions. You may meet regularly for debate and discussion and participate in annual formal presentations of research.
Before you submit your formal application form, please take a look at our list of Department of Music and Media supervisors.
Once you have found an appropriate supervisor, please make contact with them to discuss your proposal. You should then proceed to completing and submitting your formal application form.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate Careers and Employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
Code of practice for research degrees
Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees. The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.
Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
- 20th-century concert music, especially Bartok, Stravinsky, Mahler, Elgar, Britten
- Popular musics, particularly rock, jazz, electronic dance music
- Aesthetics of sound and music
- Contemporary music and its composition and performance
- Critical musicology
- Music for screen
- Folk music studies
- Psychoacoustic engineering
- Acoustic-perception modelling
- Performance studies and techniques
- Digital signal processing
- Psychoacoustics (theoretical and experimental)
- Statistical analysis and user-interface design
- Spatial audio: perception and reproduction.
Our academic staff
See a full list of all our academic staff within the Department of Music and Media.
Facilities include industry-specification sound-recording studios, music-practice rooms and venues for concert performance and musical theatre.
Applicants are expected to hold a good honours degree and usually an MA in a relevant arts subject or appropriate professional experience.
View entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Candidates submitting proposals that include practice-based research will be required to evidence appropriate experience and expertise.
Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.
For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).
Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.