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Course options

  • Qualification

    PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

  • Location

    University of Oxford

  • Study mode

    Full time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    3 years

Course summary

About the course

This degree, with specialisation in musicology or composition, is awarded upon successful completion of a substantial original contribution to these fields prepared over the course of usually three or four years for full-time students, or seven or eight years for part-time students.

The DPhil in Music is intended to provide you with a wide range of research skills as well as in-depth knowledge, understanding and expertise in your chosen field of research.

You are normally expected to have a master’s degree in music or equivalent before embarking on the DPhil, or you may first undertake one of the MSt programmes in music at Oxford.

Areas of research represented in the faculty include.

  • historical musicological topics from the Middle Ages to the present
  • music theory and analysis
  • composition
  • ethnomusicology
  • psychology of music
  • performance studies
  • aesthetics of music
  • popular music
  • critical and empirical musicology

Part-time students are fully integrated into the research culture of the university and expected to attend the University on a regular basis for supervision, study, skills training and participation in some of the many research seminars. If you are in employment, you must provide a letter from your employer stating you may take time off if necessary to attend the University as required for the duration of the course. The faculty appreciates that part-time research students will have non-standard attendance and work patterns. Your supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies will be available to advise you on access to research and training provision for part-time students.


All students will be initially admitted to the status of Probationer Research Student (PRS). Within a maximum of four terms as a PRS student (and normally by the third) you will be expected to apply for transfer of status from Probationer Research Student to DPhil status. Part-time students are required to apply for transfer no later than their eighth term.

A successful transfer of status from PRS to DPhil status will require either (A) or (B).

A. For those intending to offer compositions as part of the final submission.

  1. a portfolio of two significantly contrasted compositions (together lasting between 10 and 15 minutes maximum);
  2. a related essay of 5,000-6,000 words (not exceeding 6,000 words);
  3. a stand alone 250-word overview of the topic of their thesis; and
  4. a proposed work-schedule for the following year.

B. For all other candidates.

  1. a literature review essay of c.5,000 words that provides a discursive review of the historical and/or theoretical literature relevant to the thesis topic and its field;
  2. an essay of c.5,000 words on a focused topic relevant to the proposed thesis, and intended to constitute a part of it;
  3. a stand-alone 500-word overview of the topic of the thesis; and
  4. a provisional timetable for completion of the thesis.

Students who are successful at transfer will also be expected to apply for and gain confirmation of DPhil status within eight terms of admission (sixteen if studying part-time), to show that your work continues to be on track.

Graduate destinations

DPhil students go on into all manners of work and careers. Many seek postdoctoral positions in higher education all round the world. Others may become full-time performers or composers. Careers in concert and performance administration are also favoured and all manner of professions.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

£ 25,900per year

Tuition fees shown are for indicative purposes and may vary. Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

University of Oxford

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    University of Oxford, University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2JD, England

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    1st out of 87 3

  • Entry standards

    / Max 214
    187 92%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    85.0 85%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5

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