The RNCM is firmly established as a leading centre for the advanced study not only of music performance and composition, but also theoretical and applied musicology, music psychology and music education.

Our Research Degree programme (PhD) provides opportunities for undertaking high-level research projects within the creative, and supportive environment of one of Europe’s most dynamic conservatoires.

RNCM student working on manuscript paper at the piano.

Postgraduate Research students (PGRs) at the RNCM are part of a lively community of world-class scholars and creative practitioners, with access to outstanding resources and facilities, supervision of the highest calibre, individually-tailored research training and a wide range of opportunities for career development and enhancement. They also benefit from the College’s close collaborations with numerous professional ensembles across Europe and participation in the rich research environment of the North West’s major universities.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees are awarded by Manchester Metropolitan University for a collaborative programme of research, undertaken and supervised at RNCM.

There are five specialist pathways:

  • Composition in a variety of media and genres
  • Musicology, including the historical, analytical and cultural study of music
  • Music Psychology, including quantitative and qualitative approaches to research in all aspects of music making, particularly expert music performance and musicians’ health and wellbeing
  • Music Education and Pedagogy, including the philosophy, history, practice and theory of music education
  • Performance, including performance practice and practice-as-research.

Postgraduate Research students (PGRs) play an active role in the RNCM’s research events programme, including participating in the weekly Research Forum.

Get an idea of the kinds of projects Research students are working on.