Funded PhD Opportunity Music (Creative Practice and/or Contextual Studies)

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies


Music at Ulster is firmly committed to creative practice as an integral part of its research activity.  Proposals are sought within our areas of research expertise, which include composition, performance, traditional music, jazz, music technology and scoring for screen.  Practice–based PhDs will include both practice–based and written submissions (the length of which will be determined in relation to given projects in accordance with Ulster University regulations).

Indicative topics are summarised below, but interested parties are advised to make contact with potential supervisors in advance of making an application to discuss the feasibility of their proposed topic. If in doubt as to who to address your query to, please contact Dr Brian Bridges (Research Director).

Traditional music practice and research

Proposals are sought in the field of Irish traditional music. These may involve traditional music in a research context or in a practice as research context. Topics considering Irish traditional music alongside other related traditions e.g. Scottish, Cape Breton, are also welcomed and proposals in the Irish language are also an option. Topic contact: Dr Liz Doherty.

Music Composition for Instruments and Live Electronics

Projects may focus on the investigation of solo and/or ensemble interaction with a wide range of compositional methodologies using live electronics in the production of a portfolio of original music. Topic contact: Prof. Frank Lyons.

Jazz Performance

Proposals may consider the development of original improvisatory concepts and/or innovative technical approaches in jazz instrumental or vocal performance. Topic contact: Dr Linley Hamilton

Design of Music Performance Systems/Digital Musical Instruments

Proposals are sought for a project which focuses on design, technological development and theoretical aspects underpinning the creation of digital musical instruments (DMI) or performance systems. Potential topics could encompass either technologically augmented instruments in combination with digital systems or the design of purely digital musical instrument systems. Topic contact: Dr Brian Bridges

Music and the Visual

Proposals are sought for practice-based (composition, performance) or musicological projects that investigate the relationship between music and the visual world e.g. visual arts, visual media, visual/visualized objects and environments. Of particular interest are project proposals exploring interdisciplinarity and collaborative practice, music and moving image, site-specificity and music and architecture. Topic contact: Dr Adam Melvin

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Practice-based research experience and/or dissemination
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Experience of presentation of research findings
  • Use of personal initiative as evidenced by record of work above that normally expected at career stage.


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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Ulster has a very relaxed feel and atmosphere

David Lyttle - PhD in Musicology

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 19 February 2018
Interview Date
5 to 12 March 2018

Contact Supervisor

Dr Brian Bridges

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #238039 when applying for this PhD opportunity