University of Sussex

University of Sussex

Musical Composition

Our PhD courses provide you with the support and resources necessary to complete an original and substantial piece of research. The main fields in which research supervision is available are composition, musicology and music theatre. It is also possible to study for an MPhil. Contact us in good time to discuss your research proposal so we can put you in touch with the best supervisors for your work and help you develop your application. Entry in September is normally recommended to enable you to get the benefit of the many research events that take place throughout the autumn and spring, and also to benefit from induction and research training opportunities. You normally have two supervisors; they offer complementary perspectives on your work, perhaps reflecting a theory and practice balance, crucial for your development as a researcher. They help you devise a detailed programme of study tailored to the individual research project and offer regular guidance and feedback until completion.

Entry requirements

Normally a Master's degree or equivalent professional experience in a subject related to the chosen area of research; applicants wishing to take the composition option must produce evidence of compositional ability; English language requirements: IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in the other sections; internet TOEFL with 90 overall including 24 in speaking and 25 in writing.

Course modules

All new research students are required to participate in a programme of research training and to take other postgraduate modules that may be recommended by their supervisors. Recent and current PhD projects include: musical alterity and embodied practice (theory/ practice); sonification of the body (theory/practice); sound scores for early avant-garde film (composition); temporality in post-tonal music (composition); the representation of animals in music theatre (theory/practice); the impact of Stravinsky's ballets on conducting techniques in the 20th century (historical musicology).

Assessment methods

We offer a PhD in Music, assessed by a written thesis of 80000 words, and an MPhil in Music, assessed by a written thesis of 40000 words.

Sponsorship information

Limited funds to offset research expenses are available directly from the University of Sussex; there are financial opportunities for research students to contribute towards undergraduate teaching.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
PhD Full-time October 2016 GBP 12,300 per Year 1 (International) 4 years
PhD Part-time October 2016 - 6 years
MPhil Full-time October 2016 GBP 12,300 per Year 1 (International) 3 years
MPhil Part-time October 2016 - 4 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Sussex House Brighton BN1 9RH South East

Get in touch

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Key information

Telephone number: 
01273 873525