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Postgraduate degrees in Music


We offer a taught MA in Music and we also supervise research students (MPhil and PhD).

Follow this link to find out more about our MA in Music.

Research Degrees

Postgraduate research students may work towards the degrees of MPhil or PhD in a range of topics that match or are allied to the research areas of academic staff in the Music Department and the other University departments with which we work. These include historical and contemporary study of musical texts, contexts and performance, interdisciplinary themes in music research including film and literature, music computing, acoustics and the social and cultural study of music. Research students work under the supervision of one of the academic members of the department, often with supervisors from elsewhere in the Open University and sometimes in collaboration with an external supervisor from another university.

How to apply

We welcome informal enquiries about MPhil/PhD study at any time email us. Applicants for MPhil/PhD usually hold a good undergraduate degree in Music or a related subject, and in addition an MA in Music or be able to demonstrate equivalent professional experience of independent research. We normally ask potential applicants to submit a draft research proposal along the lines indicated in the Research Degrees prospectus, where you can also find further information about studying for an MPhil/PhD at the OU. This draft will enable us to assess your topic and approach, provide you with some feedback, and to consider whether we have the specialist staff to form a supervisory team prior to any formal application.

Follow this link for further details of the application process and funding for postgraduate research.

Recently completed PhDs


Ben Byram-Wigfield: The Sacred Music of Antonio Lotti: Idiom and Influence of a Venetian Master

Owen Coggins: Drone Metal and Mysticism (co-supervised with Department of Religious Studies)

Anthony Prechtl: Adaptive music generation for computer games


Alan Karass: Popular Music in Tunisia

Richard King: Contemporary Catholic Liturgical Song


Andrew Gustar: Statistics in Historical Musicology


Seymour Wright: AMM and the development of Free improvisation as a Musical Practice


Adrian Poole: Learning, Performance and Entrainment in Cuban Music

Andrew Hill: Understanding and interpreting the 6 suites for unaccompanied violon cello  by J S Bach

Nicholas Logie: The role of leadership in Orchestral conducting

Current research students

Heather Armsby: The role of women in the British brass band

Amanda Ashworth: Associations with the visual arts in the Music of Debussy: from Pre-Raphaelitism to Art Nouveau

Samantha Bassler: "The Most Splended Period of English Music". Sir Richard Terry and the Reception History of William Byrd's Latin-Texted Music in Britain during the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Natalie Burton: The marriage of music and poetry: structure in the twentieth-century english song cycle

Michael Busk: The early nineteenth-century music festivals in Manchester and the industrial north-west of England

Kirsty Caine: The Story Tellers: Narrativity in Popular Music from 1998-2008

Sarah Clarke: An Instrument in Comparative Oblivion? - The Guitar and Amateur Players in Victorian England

Lucinda Cradduck: Spirituality in the Music of Edmund Rubbra

Andrew Cusworth: Welsh Folk Music of the 19th and early 20th centuries (Arts and Humanities Research Council Capacity Building Scholarship at the National Library of Wales)

Kerri-Anne Edinburgh: A study of the effects of nationalism, patriotism and politics on the experience of listening to music in wartime Britain, 1939-1945 (Listening Experience Database studentship)

David Force: A 'Holding, Uniting-Constant Friend': The organ in seventeenth-century English domestic music-making

Daniel Gouly: Soundcloud, sampling and sonic experimentation: community in hip-hop's online underground

Chris Grey: Church-musical aesthetics (co-supervised with Philosophy)

David Hammond: The Culture of British Military Music in the Interwar Years and its Relationship with the Music Industry

Tom Hewitt: Cyborg Music: A Future Musicotechnographic Aesthetic (co-supervised with Department of Philosophy)

Maciej Kierzkowski: The history of brass bands of Poland

Angelo Pinto: The Symphony as a Novel: Mahler’s Tenth

Jessika Rittstieg: The role of Eugene Ysaye in the promotion of Contemporary Franco-Belgian Chamber Music

Martyn Strachan: Style in the Music of Arthur Sullivan: An Investigation