Doctoral attributes

Doctoral graduates will acquire the following qualities and skills:

  • a demonstrated capacity to design, conduct and report sustained and original research;
  • the capacity to contextualise research within an international corpus of specialist knowledge;
  • highly developed problem-solving abilities and flexibility of approach;
  • the ability to analyse critically within and across a changing disciplinary environment;
  • the capacity to disseminate the results of research and scholarship by oral and written communication to a variety of audiences;
  • an understanding of the relevance and value of their research to national and international communities of scholars and collaborators.

The University provides a variety of opportunities in addition to the supervised research program, to facilitate a students' acquisition of these attributes.

Come along to our information evening on Monday September 3, to speak to Clinical Placement Coordinator Jason Kenner, and current Music Therapy research students, to find out more about this course.

Register here.

Course Description


Changes to the PhD courses in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music have recently been approved by the university. The present PhD – Music and PhD – VCA will become one course: the PhD – Fine Arts and Music. This will not change the course entry requirements, nor will it change the actual courses. We are doing this to simplify our course offerings and make choosing the correct course simpler and easier. If you have already applied for 2019 entry to a PhD in Music or at VCA, your application will be assessed and it is likely offers will be for the new course.

The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music offers the PhD with expert supervision in music therapy, music performance, composition, music psychology and performance science, jazz & improvisation, interactive composition, musicology and ethnomusicology.

In the case of composition and music performance, the PhD thesis takes the form of a performance or composition folio as well as a dissertation of 20,000-25,000 words that addresses, elucidates and contextualises the creative work of the folio.

Musicology, ethnomusicology, music psychology and performance science, and music therapy PhDs take the form of a more traditional scholarly investigation leading to a thesis of approximately 80,000 words.

For the disciplines of Jazz & Improvisation and Interactive Composition a PhD thesis may take the form of performance and/or corpus of creative work, plus a dissertation of 40,000 - 50,000 words which aims to address, elucidate and contextualise the work. The creative work may be in the form of performance, multimedia, CD Rom or other new media technologies and modes of presentation.

Common pathways into doctoral studies at the Conservatorium are either the prior completion of a Masters degree in Music, or an Honours degree leading into a research candidature that is converted to PhD status after one year if probationary requirements are met.

Candidates are selected into the PhD after consideration of the merit of the research proposal and support material relevant to the field of research: for example, applicants for the PhD (Composition) and PhD (Interactive Composition) must submit a folio and there is an audition for applicants for the PhD (Music Performance) and PhD (Jazz & Improvisation).

The PhD requires three years full-time study (six years part-time). PhD applicants are eligible to apply for the competitive APA scholarships and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music has numerous endowments that support graduate researchers for fieldwork, archival research, attendance at conferences and international travel as required by their research.

PhD graduate researchers become part of an active research culture. Regular graduate seminars, research symposia and conferences provide opportunities for our graduates to present their emerging ideas in a supportive environment that includes contact and networking with visiting international scholars.

The PhD is taught and administered within the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

Next : Degree structure

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