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Music PhD (option of joint PhD with Hong Kong University)

  Faculty of Arts & Humanities

About the Programme

About Music PhD

The department has an international reputation for music research in history, theory, anthropology/ethnography and composition. We are particularly strong in Western music from the twelfth century to the present day, jazz, opera, film music, performance studies, and the musical cultures of the Middle East, South and South East Asia, Latin America and West Africa.

PhDs can be co-supervised with other arts & humanities or social sciences departments at King's, or with a department at another of our London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP) partners.

As a department, we believe in the complete equality of all areas of music research, and welcome students from all backgrounds, especially those who are currently under represented in musicology, ethnomusicology, performance research, and composition.

Most recent REF rankings: Department of Music – jointly ranked 4th in the UK with Film (REF 2021). 100% per cent of the research impact and research environment was rated either ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).

Current number of academic staff: 16.

Current number of research students: 40 FT and 12 PT.

Recent publications:  

  • Lessons in Love and Violence and Written on Skin (George Benjamin). 
  • The Sense of Sound: Musical Meaning in France, 1260-1330 (Emma Dillon). 
  • The Letters of Cole Porter and Mozart: Lettere d@Italia (Cliff Eisen). 
  • Romantic Empowerment at the Paris Opera in the 1770s and 1780s (Michael Fend).
  • Thinking on our Feet: A Somatic Enquiry into a Haydn Minuet' (Joseph Fort). 
  • Sovereign Feminine: Music and Gender in Eighteenth-Century Germany (Matthew Head). 
  • De oro y sombra (of gold and shadows), for ensemble (Silvina Milstein).
  • Contemporary Carioca: Technologies of Mixing in a Brazilian Music Scene (Frederick Moehn). 
  • Songs for a Dying World, for soprano and chamber ensemble (Edward Nesbit). 
  • A History of Opera (Roger Parker). 
  • Tellings and Texts: Music, Literature, and Performance in North India (Katherine Schofield with Francesca Orsini).  
  • Puccini’s Soundscapes: Realism and Modernity in Italian Opera (Arman Schwartz).  
  • The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music (Martin Stokes). 

Current research projects: ERC project, Music in London 1800-1851; British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, Histories of the Ephemeral: Writing on Music in Late Mughal India


The department has an international reputation for research in Musicology, Ethnomusicology and Composition. We are particularly strong in Western music from the 12th century to the present day, jazz, opera, performance studies, and the musical cultures of the Middle East, South Asia and Brazil. In addition to PhD programmes in Musicology (thesis of max. 100,000 words) and in Composition (portfolio with technical commentary), we offer an innovative Performance-Research programme in which performance materials (e.g. concerts, recordings) combine with a 50,000-word thesis to explore a significant and clearly-defined research question.

Prospective students are welcome to contact any member of staff whose field of research interests them. Alternatively, Musicology and Ethnomusicology applicants may discuss their plans with the PhD Coordinator Roger Parker or the Ethnomusicology Coordinator Martin Stokes. Composers are encouraged in the first instance to contact Professor Silvina Milstein who coordinates the Composition programme.

Joint PhD Opportunities

The joint PhD in Music affords students the opportunity to work with leaders in the fields of Ethnomusicology, Musicology and Composition. We invite applications on any area of research represented by faculty interests. We also draw your attention to areas of overlapping interest among faculty in the departments of Music at King's College London and University of Hong Kong: composition; 19th-century music studies; music and film. Students in the joint PhD programme will benefit from one-to-one supervision with a number of scholars working in their field. The programme also offers them access to the lively intellectual communities in these two world-class centres for music research, as well as to all the cultural riches on offer in the cities of London and Hong Kong.

Postgraduate training

The Institute for Musical Research at the University of London offers a full and varied programme of training events.

Free language tuition at King's

All research students in any discipline at King's can take a module from a choice of over 25 languages with the Modern Language Centre without any additional cost. 

More information can be found here.

Funding Notes

Find out more information about fees on our course web page on the King’s website: View Website

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