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Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music may be pursued in composition, creative work in music, ethnomusicology, musicology, music education, and performance studies. PhD requirements vary between disciplines and may comprise a thesis of up to 80,000 words; or a thesis comprising a dissertation that includes a critical and theoretical discussion together with a substantial body of creative work.

From 2021, Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. Students will have access to a range of specialist units of study relevant for research students.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Applications are open all year round. Apply well in advance (at least 6 weeks prior to your start date) to allow for a timely response to your application. If your application cannot be processed in time, it will be considered for the next possible research period. Separate scholarship application deadlines apply.

Starting date

Research period 2: March - June.
Enrol between 1 February and 31 March. Commence no later than the census date: 31 March.

Research period 3: July - September.
Enrol between 1 April -31 August. Commence no later than the census date: 31 August.

Refer to key research dates on the `How to Apply website.

Applications are open all year round. Apply well in advance of your start date to allow for a timely response to your application and necessary visa and travel arrangements. If your application cannot be processed in time, it will be considered for the next possible research period. Separate scholarship application deadlines apply.

Starting date

Research period 2: March - June.
Enrol between 1 February and 31 March. Commence no later than the census date: 31 March.

Research period 3: July - September.
Enrol between 1 April -31 August. Commence no later than the census date: 31 August.

Refer to key research dates on the `How to Apply website.

Research areas

PhD candidates at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music may undertake supervised research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in a wide variety of research areas. Topics may be chosen from areas including but not limited to Western historical musicology, music analysis, historical performance practice, Australian Indigenous studies, East Asian and South-East Asian musics, music education and music pedagogy, music perception and cognition, score-based and electronic composition, music technology, jazz, contemporary and popular music studies.  

What you'll study

Changes to higher degree research in 2021

From 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. PhD students will complete 12 credit points of coursework and be able to choose from a pool of 270+ units from any faculty. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students. Browse all available units here.

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake, it is part of the tuition fee for the course.

See the 'Your Fee' section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

You will be able to see and enrol in any of the units available, subject to capacity constraints and your own background. Note that your faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given PhD degree pathway.

Applying for admission

1. Find a supervisor within the University whose academic background aligns with your research. You may visit Research Supervisor Connect to start or contact the Conservatorium of Music’s Associate Dean (Research Education) for advice. Visit Our People. 

2. Contact a supervisor and provide your academic/educational background and research experience with examples such as an academic transcript your CV/resume, the area of interest for your PhD and why you believe your research topics align with this supervisor. 

3. In conjunction with the supervisor, develop a preliminary research proposal of at least 1500-2000 words that outlines the subject area, objectives, introductory literature review, method proposed, significance and schedule of the proposed research.  

4. Obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements. We recommend that you use our template for the referee reports.

5. If you intend to study part-time towards a PhD (international student visa holders must enroll full-time), you will also need to supply evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time PhD enrolment; and a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.

6. Submit your application along with your research proposal, CV, academic referee reports, academic transcripts, supporting evidence (where required) and other supporting documents such as identification and evidence of residency status. Applications are made via the University's online application portal.

7. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on the right hand side of this page.

Admission requirement

To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Conservatorium), you must have completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area: bachelor's degree with first class or second class honours or, master's degree by research or, master's degree by coursework with an independent research component such as a thesis, dissertation or research project. These criteria constitute the minimum requirements for eligibility and do not guarantee admission. That remains at the discretion of the relevant supervisors and Dean or Associate Dean, and access to supervision remains highly competitive. The University must certify that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully. 

Graduate opportunities

Through the completion of a PhD, students gain deeper understanding of a subject area and develop analytical, problem solving, communication and project management skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. PhD graduates may pursue careers in industry, academia and research organisations.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.