Research degrees

An RCM researcher using composition facilities on the computer at the RCM
The Royal College of Music (RCM) is ranked top UK conservatoire offering music as a single subject in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

Home to a lively and diverse community of approximately 50 doctoral students, the RCM welcome applications in the areas of:

  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Musicology and the cultural study of music
  • Material culture and organology
  • Music education
  • Performance science

With access to fantastic resources, you can devise a programme of original research in your chosen field. Mentored and supported by internationally recognised staff at the forefront of research in your discipline, you will be challenged to push the boundaries of new knowledge.

The RCM's doctoral programme offers both a DMus and PhD pathway. It is possible during the course of your degree to move between pathways to best reflect the way your individual project evolves.

The DMus pathway places emphasis on practical work in performance or composition, supported by a written commentary. The PhD emphasises written work with a longer final dissertation, which may be supported by practical elements in appropriate circumstances.

For more information on our doctoral options, available supervisors, and how to apply, please follow the links below.

Find out more about the DMus

Find out more about the PhD

AHRC studentships

The RCM is a member of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), made up of eight of London’s leading universities. LAHP awards around 90 fully funded AHRC studentships for doctoral study each year in an open competition that runs across all the performing and fine arts, and humanities subjects. AHRC studentships cover full fees and a generous living stipend, and offer exceptional opportunities, including supervision of interdisciplinary projects and industry placements, creating outstanding training for diverse career paths.

Find out more about AHRC studentships

Resources, facilities and collections

The RCM is rich in both practical and intellectual resources. Our library and the Royal College of Music Museum manage outstanding collections of priceless musical instruments, composers’ manuscripts and historical documents, which are the subject of a number of staff and student research projects.

These are complemented by our magnificent performance spaces and by RCM Studios, which provide advanced facilities for audio and video recording, super-fast video conferencing and technology-enhanced composition. Plus, we have the most important resource of all – supremely talented musicians eager to participate in bringing music to life.

Talk to us

If you are interested in pursuing your research interests at the RCM, use our Find a supervisor list to help you find a suitable supervisor. For general enquiries about the programme, please contact our Head of Research.

Alternatively, if you have any questions about the admissions process please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to help you.

Professor Robert Adlington

Head of Research


Admissions and general audition enquiries

+44 (0)20 7591 4362

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