Music Performance MPhil/PhD

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MPhil/PhD Musical Performance

Full-time: 2 years, Part-time: 4 years

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 6 years

Entry requirements

Masters degree in a relevant subject or equivalent professional experience. Applicants with degrees in subjects other than music must demonstrate a suitable level of aptitude. An upper second-class Honours degree (or international equivalent) or equivalent musical experience for MPhil.

Audition requirements: applicants are asked to prepare approximately 45 minutes of contrasting repertoire, submitted as a recent unedited video performance (online link or DVD to be sent by post).

7.0 (6.0) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
1 October, 1 December, 1 February, 1 April, 1 July
University Park
Other requirements



The MPhil/PhD in Musical Performance is available to advanced performers wishing to undertake practice-led research at the highest level. The degree will enable you to deepen critical engagement with and understanding of performance practice while exploring specific aspects of technique or repertoire. You will follow an agreed programme of original research into the chosen topic supported by regular meetings with the agreed supervisors. For details of staff specialisms, visit our people page. Additional supervision and collaboration may be available within other University departments and industry partners. 

For submissions at MPhil level, assessment is normally one public recital or lecture-recital of approximately 60 minutes.

The recital or lecture-recital must be accompanied by a dissertation of c.20,000 words on a related area, to be followed by a viva.

For submissions at PhD level, assessment is normally either: 

(i) By one full-length public recital or lecture-recital of approximately 90 minutes, which can also be presented as a “minor” recital of 30 minutes at the end of year two and a “major” recital of 60 minutes at the end of year three. The recital must be accompanied by a dissertation of c.50,000 words on a related area or equivalent, to be followed by a viva. The recital performance should display an original and imaginative stance on the art of performance, an advanced level of creative ability and outstanding technical and interpretative mastery. The recital should be worthy of a professional standard of performance.


(ii) Assessment option two is normally two public recitals or lecture-recitals of approximately 60 minutes each, the first at the end of year two and the second at the end of year three. The recitals must be accompanied by a 20,000-word commentary or equivalent, to be followed by a viva. The recital or lecture-recital performances should display an original and imaginative stance on the art of performance, an advanced level of creative ability and outstanding technical and interpretative mastery. The recitals or lecture-recitals should be worthy of a professional standard of performance.



The department is housed in modern, purpose-built accommodation overlooking the boating lake on University Park Campus. Specialist music facilities include an on-site music library (including listening booths, a large collection of sound recordings and a video and DVD archive, and a substantial range of books, scores and online resources), a computer laboratory, an iMac suite, a fully-equipped recording studio, teaching and practice rooms, a dedicated postgraduate study room with networked PCs and a wireless router, a lecture theatre, an orchestral-size Rehearsal Hall, and the Djanogly Recital Hall, one of the country’s top 10 venues for chamber music, where professional and student concerts are presented throughout the year. The department owns a varied collection of orchestral and early instruments.

Postgraduate students in performance studies will have the opportunity to be featured as soloists with University ensembles such as the Philharmonia Orchestra. You will also be encouraged and supported in performances through the newly established Forum for Artistic Research as well as in professional venues off-campus in collaboration with organisations such as the Theatre Royal, Nottingham Albert Hall and St Peter’s Nottingham. Further opportunities include the postgraduate research forum and regular workshops and lectures with distinguished visiting scholars and artists in partnership with Lakeside Arts.

There are also numerous performance opportunities


Research support

The department's lively research culture includes the NottFAR (Nottingham Forum for Artistic Research) series featuring top new music performers and regular research seminars, which offer the chance to hear visiting scholars from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas as well as opportunities for staff and postgraduates to present research in progress in a friendly and constructive environment. These occasions also allow you to broaden your knowledge of the subject and gain a better sense of how research develops as part of an interactive process.

The Arts Graduate Centre offers a comprehensive range of research training courses. You are also eligible to take the Research Techniques module that forms a part of the MA in Music, and may elect to audit other courses in the University.

A number of University support services exist to assist you during your time at Nottingham and beyond. The Graduate School  is a particularly important source of support.


Find a supervisor

We encourage you to get in touch with Director of Performance Dr Xenia Pestova about your research proposal before submitting an application. She may be able to help you with your proposal and offer support to find funding opportunities in your area. 

Candidates will follow an agreed programme of original research into the chosen topic supported by regular meetings with the agreed supervisors. Details of staff specialisms can be found here. Additional supervision and collaboration may be available within other University departments and industry partners.


Fees and funding

UK/EU Students

Competitive scholarships available include:

  • MA Scholarships
  • PhD Scholarships
  • Department MA Studentships
  • School Overseas Research Scholarship

Midlands4Cities funding

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership supports the personal and professional development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. Studentships are available to UK/EU students.

How to apply to the University of Nottingham through Midlands4Cities

This is by no means a complete list. For up-to-date information and application forms on these and other funding opportunities, please visit the funding section of the Department’s website.

The University’s International Office has a wide range of scholarship opportunities for students with an EU fee status, including a fee reduction for alumni, and EU and Accession State Scholarships.

You may also search the University’s funding database, designed to give you an indication of University scholarships for which you may be eligible to apply. The University Graduate School operates funding schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research.

For a detailed list of external funding schemes, please visit the School of Humanities funding page.

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the Department page for additional opportunities

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 96% of postgraduates from the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,370 with the highest being £30,000.*

*Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career Prospects and Employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research.


This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to 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 the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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Department of Music
University of Nottingham
University Park

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