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Research Supervision

For research projects at both Masters and PhD level, you will work closely with individual members of staff in regular ‘supervisions’ (meetings). One of the things that may attract you to Durham is the chance to benefit from the internationally-renowned scholars we have here, and their specific areas of expertise.

Research Expertise

The Music Department's research staff offers a broad spectrum of supervisory expertise in musicology, music analysis, ethnomusicology, music psychology, performance, and acoustic and electroacoustic composition. For a full guide to research expertise and individual staff profiles, see our Research Areas and People pages. Co-supervision with academics in other departments is also possible, and we currently have doctoral students working between Music and Theology, Music and Modern Languages and Cultures, Music and Anthropology, and Music and Philosophy.


Developing your Research Skills

In addition to the work you’ll do with your supervisors, at Durham you’ll benefit from a range of activities designed to nurture your research skills.

  • The Department’s Research Forum features presentations by distinguished scholars working in all fields of music studies. Our postgraduate students participate in these regular research colloquia, which are a good opportunity to network with researchers from universities worldwide.
  • Our postgraduate community meets regularly for seminars and study groups offering a friendly and inclusive environment for the presentation of your work to your peers and to discuss recent publications.
  • The department also supports postgraduate students through dedicated professional development events to prepare you to present your work at conferences, to publish in musicological journals, and to write research grant applications.

The Department actively welcomes applications from postgraduate researchers wishing to base themselves at Durham to work on a project relating to our areas of specialism. Please see either our Research Degrees or Taught Masters pages for more information and how to apply.

If you are interested in postdoctoral opportunities at Durham, please visit the Funding Opportunities page. If you a PhD student registered at another institution, we may be able to accommodate you in the department as a visiting student or through our exchange opportunities. In all instances you are welcome to get in touch with the department at, or with individual members of staff directly.


What do our students think?

"I am researching touring theatre in provincial nineteenth-century France, looking at issues surrounding music and mobility, performance practices, stage genres and regional cultural history. I chose to come to Durham to explore these topics with specialist supervisors in the music and language departments, and have loved the opportunity to interact with like-minded students and faculty members in group sessions such as seminars, reading groups and research colloquiums. The Music Department is a friendly and supportive environment with students pursuing many different research topics, which is a great way of broadening my outlook on musical disciplines and skills. I chose to return to study after working in the arts industry for a short while and recognised that Durham was the right place for me balance pursuing my specific area of interest alongside wider opportunities within the Arts and Humanities faculty and extra-curricular activities."

Sophie Horrocks, PhD student (2019-2022)

"During my time here at Durham, the music department as a whole and my supervisors in particular have provided the support and guidance necessary for me to succeed in my PhD research on gesture in South Indian music pedagogy. While here, I have had two journal articles accepted for publication, presented papers at major international conferences in Europe and the US, developed my technical skills, and gained work experience teaching in the department. Highlights of my studies have included winning the Martin Hatch Prize for best student paper on Asian Music at the Society for Ethnomusicology annual meeting, and having a paper accepted for publication in the journal Music Analysis. None of this could have been achieved without the support I received in the course of my research."

Dr Lara Pearson, PhD Student (2012-2016)