Historical musicology

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
(MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
October January
PhD (MPhil also available)
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Start dates
Application period

OU academics investigate an array of musical practices, from the 15th century to the present day. We specialise in:

  • sacred/devotional music
  • women in music
  • music and literature
  • medieval and early modern music
  • music and well-being
  • performance contexts and practice
  • music publishing
  • listening history
  • music analysis
  • popular music

Entry requirements

Most successful applicants to the PhD programme have a masters degree in music or a related discipline, with a substantial dissertation. However, applicants can still be considered provided they demonstrate evidence of the ability to research and write about music at a high level.  If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

We welcome applications in areas that correspond to current staff research interests (please see links to staff members below). We look for detailed and well-thought-out proposals that set out specific research questions and outline the originality of the topic or approach. If you would like to discuss your ideas informally before submitting an application, please contact us.

Current/recent research projects

  • Fin-de-siècle salon culture: a reappraisal of Cécile Chaminade
  • The marriage of music and poetry: structure in the twentieth-century English song cycle
  • An Instrument in comparative oblivion? The guitar and amateur players in Victorian England
  • Wagnerian wounds: trauma and Wagner’s post-1849 works
  • The history of brass bands of Poland
  • The symphony as a novel: Mahler’s Tenth
  • Welsh folk music of the 19th and early 20th centuries
  • Johann Adolph Hasse and the operatic music of eighteenth-century London 

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Some of our research students are funded via the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Women playing the drums

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Helen Barlow
Email: FASS-Music-Enquiries@open.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1908 653280

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.