Research Degrees in Music

[Until MT 2015: 1. Probationer Research Student

  • (a) Admission

    • (i) Each candidate for admission as a Probationer Research Student should support the application with:

      EITHER

      • (A)

      • 1. a sample of recent written work (4,000–6,000 words), preferably but not necessarily related to the proposed topic or area of research, such as an undergraduate dissertation (or part of it) or a substantial essay;

      • 2. a proposal for a research topic or area (about 1,000 words), which should include a statement why this work should be carried out at Oxford.

    • OR

      • (B) (For those intending to offer compositions as part of the final submission)
      • 1. a sample of written work (2,000–3,000 words);

      • 2. one or two recently completed compositions;

      • 3. a plan of work to be completed in Oxford.

      Candidates should expect to attend for interview if required.

  • (b) Course of study

    Candidates seeking admission in order to read for the M.Litt. or D.Phil. are normally registered as Probationer Research Students and as such, unless specifically exempted by the board must follow the requirements laid down for the Degree of Master of Studies in Music. Such exemption will not normally be granted except to candidates who have already obtained a qualification of equivalent status and breadth elsewhere. Transfer to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status normally takes place at the end of the first year and is dependent on successful completion of the M.St. course (though this in itself is not a sufficient condition of transfer).

    Probationer Research Students who have been exempted from the requirements laid down for the Degree of Master of Studies in Music must attend courses as recommended by their supervisors and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. In most instances these courses of study will be undertaken in the Faculty of Music, but exemptions will be made where more appropriate courses are offered in other faculties.

    Students will also undertake foundation work related to their research area or topic under the direction of a supervisor.

  • (c) Transfer to the status of M.Litt. or D.Phil. Student

    • (i) Probationer research students seeking to transfer to the status of M.Litt. or D.Phil. Student must satisfy the Board of the Faculty of Music that (a) they have followed and completed their prescribed courses of study, (b) they have undertaken preparatory research work to the satisfaction of their supervisor, (c) the proposed research topic is acceptable, and (d) they are competent to handle the research topic.

      A candidate for transfer to the new status must make a submission in the manner prescribed in the University's Examination Regulations.

      The faculty board requires that the written work submitted shall be:

      EITHER

      (A) an essay of about 5,000 words relevant to the topic proposed for the thesis, and a bibliographic essay of the same length reviewing the historical and/or theoretical literature relevant to the thesis topic and its field.

      OR

      (B) (For those intending to offer compositions as part of the final submission) a portfolio of two significantly contrasted compositions (together lasting between ten and fifteen minutes maximum), a proposed work-schedule for the following year, and a related essay of 5,000-10,000 words.

      Two copies of the thesis title, thesis outline, essays and compositions must be submitted. The essay must be typewritten in double spacing, and placed in a temporary form of binding. The submissions must be made through the Registrar no later than seven days before the second meeting of the Graduate Studies Committee of the board in the student's third term from admission. Upon the recommendation of the supervisor, the board may permit a student to submit no later than seven days before the second meeting in the fourth term of study.

    • (ii) On receiving the submissions the board shall appoint two assessors, both of whom shall read the scripts and conduct the oral examination, provided that the board may appoint additional assessors should the need arise.

    • (iii) Transfer to the new status shall only take place when the board has received satisfactory reports from the assessors, from those who conducted the prescribed courses of study, and from the student's supervisor.

    • (iv) M.St. students admitted to the status of Probationer Research Students must apply for transfer to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status in their fourth term of graduate study. The submissions required may consist of all or part of the work submitted for the Degree of M.St. provided that it is relevant to the research topic.

    • (v) Students for the M.Phil. who intend to take the degree may seek admittance to the status of M.Litt. or D.Phil. Student, provided that they satisfy the general regulations of the university, and that they submit a provisional thesis title and outline of the manner in which it is intended to treat the research topic which is acceptable to the board.

2. M.Litt. Students

  • (a) Admission

    The procedure for the admission of a Probationer Research Student to the status of M.Litt. Student is outlined in section (c) of the faculty board's regulations for Probationer Research Students in Music.

  • (b) Supervision

    The Graduate Studies Committee of the board will receive a report on each student's progress from his or her supervisor at the end of each term. The committee may request or receive an additional report at the end of the Long Vacation.

3. D.Phil. Students

  • (a) Admission

    The procedure for the admission of a Probationer Research Student to the status of D.Phil. Student is outlined in section (c) of the faculty board's regulations for Probationer Research Students in Music.

  • (b) Supervision

    The Graduate Studies Committee of the board will receive a report on each student's progress from his or her supervisor at the end of each term. The committee may request or receive an additional report at the end of the Long Vacation.

  • (c) Confirmation of Status

    The status of D.Phil. Student shall normally be confirmed in the sixth term as a research student at Oxford. In addition to the general requirements of the regulations, the Board of the Faculty of Music requires that every student seeking confirmation of status must make a submission consisting of:

    EITHER

    (A)

    • 1. thesis title, together with an annotated outline of the thesis (both title and outline may be altered or revised forms of those submitted for the examination for admission to D.Phil. status);

    • 2. an essay of about 6,000 words on the current state of the student's research, or a portion of the thesis of comparable length.

  • OR

  • (B)

    • 1. an annotated inventory of the proposed contents of the final portfolio of compositions and title of the supporting dissertation;

    • 2. a portfolio of two or more well-contrasted compositions, with a total duration of approximately 25 minutes;

    • 3. a critical or analytical essay of 5,000–10,000 words.

    • (i) Candidates will be examined orally. Two copies of the thesis title, thesis outline and essay (or thesis extract), or inventory, thesis title, portfolio, and essay must be submitted. The essay (or thesis extract) must be typewritten in double spacing, and placed in a temporary form of binding. The submissions must be made through the Registrar no later than seven days before the second meeting of the Graduate Studies Committee in the student's fifth term from admission. Upon the recommendation of the supervisor, the board may permit a student to submit no later than seven days before the second meeting in a subsequent term of study, provided that this falls within the limits set down in the University's Examination Regulations.

    • (ii) On receiving the submissions the board shall appoint two assessors, both of whom shall read the scripts and conduct the examination, provided that the board may appoint additional assessors should the need arise.

    • (iii) Confirmation of status may only take place when the board has received satisfactory reports from the assessors, and from the student's supervisor.

4. Final submission for the Degree of M.Litt

EITHER a thesis of not more than 50,000 words.

OR (Musical Composition) a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling approximately 45 minutes' duration, and a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.

5. Final submission for the Degree of D.Phil.

EITHER a thesis of not more than 100,000 words, exclusive of any text being edited but including notes, bibliography, glossary, appendices, etc.

OR (Musical Composition) (a) a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling between 45 and 90 minutes' duration, with at least one composition being of large scale (defined as for large-scale forces, such as orchestra, and/or of more than 30 minutes' duration); and (b) a dissertation of between 20,000 and 25,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2015: 1. Admission as a Probationer Research Student

    Research students are admitted as Probationer Research Students. Candidates may apply for admission on a full-time or part-time basis. In assessing applications from candidates seeking to undertake a research degree through part-time study, the Graduate Studies Committees of the Board of the Faculty of Music shall have regard to evidence that the candidate can meet the following attendance requirements for their period of part-time study: attendance for a minimum of thirty days of university-based work each year, normally coinciding with the full terms of the academic year, to be arranged with the agreement of their supervisor, for the period that their names remain on the Register of Graduate Students unless individually dispensed by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Board of the Faculty of Music. During a candidate's probationary period the attendance arrangements must take account of relevant induction and training events scheduled by the Faculty.

    2.  Transfer to the status of M.Litt. or D.Phil. Student

    Applications for admission/transfer to M.Litt. or D.Phil. status shall be accompanied by:]

    [For students starting before MT 2016: EITHER

    In the case of students specialising in Musicology, a completed transfer application form (GS0.2), together with:

    • (1) an essay of normally c. 5,000 words length, related to the proposed dissertation;

      (2) a bibliographic essay of the same length, reviewing the literature relevant to the proposed research topic and its field;

  • OR

    In the case of students specialising in Composition, a completed transfer application form (GS0.2), together with duplicate copies of:

    • (1) a portfolio of two significantly contrasted compositions, together lasting between 10 and 15 minutes, which show evidence of an ability to create music of varied character;

      (2) a proposed work-schedule for the following year, and

      (3) a related critical or analytical study of between 5,000 and 10,000 words on a topic relating to the candidate’s compositional concerns.]

    [For students starting from MT 2016: EITHER (A) or (B):

    • (A) For those intending to offer compositions as part of the final submission:

      (1) a portfolio of two significantly contrasted compositions (together lasting between 10 and 15 minutes maximum);

      (2) a related essay of 5,000-6,000 words, which opens with a 250-word overview of the topic of the thesis;

      (3) a proposed work-schedule for the following year.

      (B) For all other candidates:

      (1) an essay of c.5,000 words, which opens with a 500-word overview of the topic of the thesis, followed by a discursive review of the historical and/or theoretical literature relevant to the thesis topic and its field;

      (2) an essay of c.5,000 words on a focused topic relevant to the proposed thesis, and intended to constitute a part of it.

      The submissions should normally be made electronically as pdf files.]

  • 3. Confirmation of D.Phil. status

    In addition to the general requirements of the Humanities Divisional regulations above, the Board of the Faculty of Music requires that every student seeking confirmation of status must make a submission consisting of:

    [For students starting before MT 2016: EITHER

    (A)

    • 1. thesis title, together with an annotated outline of the thesis (both title and outline may be altered or revised forms of those submitted for the examination for admission to D.Phil. status);

      2. an essay of about 6,000 words on the current state of the student's research, or a portion of the thesis of comparable length.

  • OR

    (B)

    • 1. an annotated inventory of the proposed contents of the final portfolio of compositions and title of the supporting dissertation;

      2. a portfolio of two or more well-contrasted compositions, with a total duration of approximately 25 minutes;

      3. a critical or analytical essay of 5,000-10,000 words.

      • (i) Two copies of the thesis title, thesis outline and essay (or thesis extract), or inventory, thesis title, portfolio, and essay must be submitted.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2016: EITHER (A) or (B):

  • (A) For those intending to offer compositions as part of the final submission:

    • (1) an annotated inventory of the proposed contents of the final portfolio of compositions, along with the title and a detailed plan of the supporting dissertation, normally presented in chapter-by-chapter form as a series of abstracts;

      (2) a portfolio of two or more well-contrasted compositions, with a total duration of approximately 25 minutes;

      (3) a critical or analytical essay of 5,000-10,000 words.

  • (B) For all other candidates:

    • (1) Thesis title, together with an annotated outline of the whole thesis, normally presented in chapter-by-chapter form as a series of abstracts;

      (2) A portion of the thesis of between 7,000 and 10,000 words (normally a chapter or chapter section).

  • Confirmation should normally take place between the sixth and ninth terms following admission as a student, and not normally closer than three months before final submission.]

     4.   Final submission for the Degree of M.Litt
  • [For students starting before MT 2016: EITHER a thesis of not more than 50,000 words.

    OR (Musical Composition) a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling approximately 45 minutes' duration, and a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2016: EITHER (A) or (B)

  • (A) For those offering compositions as part of the final submission: a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling approximately 45 minutes' duration, and a dissertation of not more than 15,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.

    (B) For all other candidates: a thesis of not more than 50,000 words.]


  • 5. Final submission for the Degree of D.Phil.

    [For students starting before MT 2016: EITHER a thesis of not more than 100,000 words, exclusive of any text being edited but including notes, bibliography, glossary, appendices, etc.

    OR (Musical Composition) (a) a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling between 45 and 90 minutes' duration, with at least one composition being of large scale (defined as for large-scale forces, such as orchestra, and/or of more than 30 minutes' duration); and (b) a dissertation of between 20,000 and 25,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.]

  • [For students starting from MT 2016: EITHER (A) or (B)

  • (A) For those offering compositions as part of the final submission:

    • (a) a portfolio of between three and six musical compositions, totalling between 45 and 90 minutes' duration, with at least one composition being of large scale (defined as for large-scale forces, such as orchestra, and/or of more than 30 minutes' duration); and (b) a dissertation of between 20,000 and 25,000 words either on the candidate's own music or on some aspect of music related to the candidate's compositional concerns.

  • (B) For all other candidates: a thesis of not more than 100,000 words, exclusive of any editions of text or music being submitted as supporting material, notes, bibliography, glossary, appendices, etc.]