Popular music

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

Research in this area may focus on a wide range historical and contemporary genres, communities, practices, audiences, and institutions. It can incorporate a range of methods and approaches, including ethnographic study, archival research, and music analysis. Areas of staff expertise include:

  • Popular music, technology and culture
  • Popular music and gender
  • Popular music analysis
  • Popular music and digital culture
  • Popular music and medievalism
  • Sound recording, reproduction and sampling

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 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

  • SoundCloud, sampling and sonic experimentation: knowledge transmission in hip-hop’s underground
  • Drone metal and mysticism (interdisciplinary project co-supervised in Religious Studies)
  • Groove in cuban dance music: an analysis of son and salsa

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.


Singer performing at a concert

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
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.