Postgraduate Courses at Bangor University

Music PhD/MPhil/MA by Research/MMus by Research

Course facts

  • Name: Music
  • Qualification: PhD/MPhil/MA by Research/MMus by Research
  • Duration: The registration period (excluding write-up year) is:
    PhD: 3 years full-time or 5 years part-time
    MPhil: 2 years full-time or 3 years part-time
    MA/MMus by Research: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

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Research Areas

Music with specialisations in:

  • Musicology
  • Welsh Music
  • Performance

Normally the research project will be limited to any one area. Performers, however, will follow, in addition to their practical studies (60%), an agreed programme of original research into historical study, performance practice, editing or analysis, focusing on aspects related or central to repertoire performed (40%).

Programme Structure

As a research programme, the course does not have a modular outline. Each student receives close supervision on an individual and original project, which has the potential to make a new and substantial contribution to the field.

Each student has a supervisory committee, led by the main supervisor, assisted by two other staff members with relevant expertise.

Research students have regular meetings with their supervisor and are entitled to consult other members of their committee as appropriate. They are also encouraged to present reports on their work in seminars and colloquia during each of their period of study.

Final assessment will be through viva voce examination through an appointed panel. The panel consists of one internal examiner from within the University/School (not identical with members of the supervisory committee), one external examiner, who is an expert in the field, and a chair.


  • Historical Musicology / Editorial Musicology: Thesis of 100,000 words or equivalent
  • Composition: Portfolio of compositions, consisting of around 120 minutes of music (depending on complexity); accompanying essay of 7,000-10,000 words on style, technique and aesthetic which contextualises the submitted portfolio
  • Performance: (i) two full-length public recitals (40-50 mins) and one CD (40-50 mins), featuring different repertoire (60%); (ii) dissertation on a related area (40,000 words) or a composition of comparable length for the instrument in question (40%)

Entry requirements

  • Degree at British Master’s standard: normally merit degree or equivalent.
  • English proficiency (for non-native English or Welsh speakers): IELTS overall result of 6.5 with no individual score lower than 6.0.
  • Proposal of a project, appropriate to the duration and academic level of the course.
  • Performers will have to audition or, alternatively, submit a recent unedited recorded video performance, featuring contrasting repertoire (45-60 minutes).
  • Musicologists and composers may be asked to submit samples of their work.

Postgraduate degrees by research are suitable for candidates who already have some experience at postgraduate level (normally evinced through a Master’s degree). Apart from these formal requirements, candidates will be accepted on the strength of their research proposal.

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email

Application advice

Applications for research degrees differ substantially from applications for taught courses such as Masters degrees. Although the application form is the same, the way in which you approach your application can make all the difference.

Applying for a self-funded or externally-funded PhD/MPhil

As with all of our courses, you can apply to fund yourself through a PhD/Mphil at Bangor, or you may already have sourced external funding (e.g. from your employer or government), and we warmly welcome all expressions of interest in so doing. However, rather than simply filling in an application form, there are a few steps that you can take in order that your application stands a greater chance of being successful.

All PhD/Mphil students require supervision from at least one academic member of staff at the University, and if you are considering a PhD/Mphil, you will already have a good idea of the specific area or theme that you want to research. In order to ascertain that we hold sufficient expertise in your chosen topic to provide supervision, you should first look at our staff pages. This will provide you with a breakdown of each staff member's area of academic focus.

Once you have found a member of staff whose research interests broadly accord with your own, you should contact them directly with a concise research 'brief' that outlines your proposal and ask whether s/he would consider supervising your project. If the academic expresses his/her interest, you may then further discuss your ideas and develop a full PhD/Mphil research proposal.

At this stage, you should formally apply online for the PhD/Mphil programme. You should fill the form out thoroughly, including academic references, your research proposal and the name of the academic member of staff under whose supervision you intend the research to be conducted.

Your research proposal

A good research proposal is essential if you are applying for a PhD or MPhil. The proposal should include:

  1. Overview – give a brief abstract of the subject area you wish to research and include information on the key theoretical, policy or empirical debates that will be addressed.
  2. Planning – you need to demonstrate that you are aware of the research timescales and have a plan in place to conduct your work. You need to demonstrate that the research is manageable in the given time period.
  3. Literature references – you need to show that your planned area of research has not been studied before. Provide references to key articles and texts relevant to your area of study.
  4. Methodology – you need to show that you are aware of the methodological tools available and have identified which ones would be suitable for your research.

Applying for funded PhD studentships advertised by Bangor University

Funded PhD studentship opportunities arise frequently throughout the year, and are advertised as specific opportunities for which you must formally apply. The application process for funded PhD studentships may differ according to the academic School in which the studentship opportunity is held, so please check the relevant School's homepage and follow the application advice therein. If you are unsure of any part of the application process, please contact the individual School for advice, or e-mail

Online applications can now be made by prospective applicants for all postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research programmes at the University (with the exception of the PGCE, Diploma in Occupational Therapy and DClinPsy).

Home/EU students

Option 1 - Apply online

Apply online

Option 2 - Apply with a conventional form

If you're having problems with our online application system, you can download the conventional application form and Guidance Notes (all in PDF or Word format) here:

(To download the material you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. A free copy is available to download from the Adobe Web Site)

You should enclose the following documents with your application:

  • Certification of your degree and/or other academic qualifications (for those who have already graduated) from the awarding institution in the form of either:
    • a) certified copy of the certificate/transcript, or
    • b) an original letter of confirmation of the award signed by an officer of the institution and authenticated with the institution's official stamp
    • **(Please do not send your original degree certificate by post)
  • Research proposal
  • IELTS or TOEFL score (for those whose first language is not English or Welsh)

The completed Application Form and accompanying documents should be returned by post to:

The Postgraduate Admissions Office
Academic Registry
Bangor University
Gwynedd UK
LL57 2DG

Home/EU students with admissions queries please contact...

Postgraduate Admissions:, telephone: +44 (0)1248 383762 or write to:

Postgraduate Admissions Office.
Academic Registry
Bangor University
Gwynedd UK
LL57 2DG

International students

International students have two options when applying;

Option 1 - Apply online yourself

Apply online



Option 2 - Apply online with the help of a recruitment agent

  • If you would like help in completing and managing your application you may seek help from one of our authorised representatives or agents. To see a list of our representatives for your country please visit the Country specific pages.

International students with admissions queries please contact...

International Education Office: or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When do I Apply?

The University will accept applications throughout the year. We would generally advise that you submit your application in enough time for you to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application.This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer (e.g. in the case of overseas students, taking an IELTS or TOEFL test to meet the English Language requirement).


Arts & Humanities Research Board; some University and school bursaries available.

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