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Postgraduate research degrees in music

Research at York embraces scholarship, creative practice, technology and empirical studies. You'll have the time and space to develop your own distinctive approach to your research project.

Why study at York?

From music technology to preserving musical history, York is making an impact on an international level. Our research projects have direct effects on the world around us, such as our empowering project SMILE, addressing the equality gap in music provision for children, or our work on documenting South African Jazz cultures.

We regularly engage with the public through our seminar series and performance-based research. Study with us and join a thriving academic environment that also benefits from the broader musical activities at York. Collaborate with other musicians, students from different disciplines across the University, and other institutions internationally.

Our courses


Applicants to PGR courses (PhD, MPhil and MA by Research) in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies are asked to submit a clear, well-structured research proposal as part of this process.

The proposal should be around 1500-2000 words long. (It can be useful to develop this proposal in consultation with the staff member who will potentially supervise the work, if this is known.) The proposal should include:

  • provisional title of research
  • summary of the topic to be investigated
  • indications of relevant previous work in the field by others: key theoretical research or creative practice
  • an overview of your own experience to date, relevant to the proposal
  • your broad aims and specific questions within this
  • provisional information about the likely methods to be used: will the work take place primarily through artistic/creative practice research, empirical processes of experimentation and/or theoretical investigation?

Visiting postgraduate researchers 

Spend up to a year in York as a visiting research student from a university outside the UK.

Scholarships and funding

Find out about scholarships and studentships that are available to students in the School of Arts and Creative Technologies.

York is a UNESCO city of Media Arts

From digital innovation to media arts, York is a creative hub for innovation and ideas. York has long been and still is a meeting point for the ideas and creativity of the world. It is a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

What York does extremely well is offer the resources, teaching and time for students to experiment, discover their voice, and find a niche: something rather important in a climate where just being an excellent violinist/pianist/soprano just won't cut it.

Kerry Andrew, PhD Composition


You'll benefit from use of the Arthur Sykes Rymer Auditorium, one of the finest listening spaces for reproduced sound in the UK. Designed for electroacoustic performance, the fully soundproofed Rymer features a completely neutral acoustic.

You'll also have access to five recording studios, as well as multiple practice facilities.

The Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall has a unique hexagonal shape, creating an ideal acoustic environment for instrumental and vocal performance. As well as a pipe organ, our main concert hall features two Steinway grand pianos, a chamber organ and a full complement of percussion.


To showcase our research and enhance collaboration, we hold a regular series of seminars including papers by visiting speakers, as well as talks by University of York staff. There are also opportunities for current research students to present their research, giving you a chance to build your confidence and forge industry links.

Our graduates

Our graduates are working in a wide range of sectors, from business to performance. They've gone on to be broadcasters, sound designers, academics and teachers, performers and arts managers.