Apply for a PhD

Applicants for PhD should normally hold a good (Distinction or Merit) Master’s degree (MMus, MA, MSc or equivalent) in a relevant subject. The degree should have included a research component.

Your two referees must have knowledge of your current or recent academic work. You can find more on entry requirements here.

First, please note that PhD submissions (including theses and portfolios of submissions in composition and performance) are described in Section 11 of the RNCM Research Degrees Handbook (Preparation and Presentation of Thesis).

Next, read the Guidelines for Applicants and browse the research interests of RNCM staff  to determine who might be a potential supervisor for your research project.

You are strongly advised to discuss your research project with the potential supervisor you have identified, or with one of the members of staff listed below. They will not suggest specific topics to you; rather, they will expect you to be familiar with published and on-going research in your field of interest, and to be capable of constructing a proposal for an original research project.

When you have discussed your project with the appropriate member of staff, please submit your formal application.


Applicants for PhD are normally required to hold a good (Distinction or Merit) master’s qualification in a relevant subject, having undertaken research training and produced a dissertation and/or portfolio of compositions or performances. They will also be considered for a place on the RNCM-Man Met research degree programme if they expect their master’s qualification to be awarded within the first three months after they have enrolled. All enrolments are expected to take place in September.

Application Forms

Once you have received feedback on your draft research proposal from the appropriate member of staff, and are ready to make a formal application, you should download and complete an RNCM Research Degrees Application Form.

Deadline for Applications

For September 2023 start:

  • With the possibility of AHRC funding via the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (, 5pm on 5  December 2022
  • For self-funded places only, 5pm on Monday 8 May 2023.

Application forms, recordings and portfolios must be sent as email attachments to [email protected]. Links to online recordings are acceptable.

RNCM interview dates

Interviews will take place in January and June 2023, dates to be confirmed.

Deadline for Applications to North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

For applicants who have been offered a place on the RNCM research degrees programme and current PGRs in their first (full-time) or second (part-time) year, the deadline for NWCDTP funding applications is 5pm on Friday 3 February (

Further information

Charlotte Wheatcroft, Programmes and Assessment Coordinator (PGR) at [email protected].