Music MPhil/PhD

Major code: MUMR/MUPR


Research for the degrees of MPhil and PhD may be carried out within the Music department and the Institute of Popular Music.

Subject Overview

The likely annual intake for these degrees is six to eight students. Some recent and current thesis topics include:

  • The Structural Role of Sound and Music in Videogames
  • Tyrolean Identity and Critical Regionalism in Popular Musics
  • Popular Music in Chile during the Pinochet Years
  • Music and the Everyday Lives of Adults with Learning Difficulties
  • Towards E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Opera Aesthetic
  • Rock Music in China
  • Musical Form and Irish Modernist Literature: A study of Samuel Beckett’s prose works
  • Local Music Scenes and the On-Line World
  • Popular Music in Contemporary Films of Britain, Spain, and Italy

Enquiries and proposals should be sent to Haekyung Um with details of proposed research topic.

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) rating
60% of research activity deemed world-leading or internationally excellent and a further 30% internationally recognised.

Why School of Music?

Strong research culture

Across the School, our research activity has a strong interdisciplinary nature and is concentrated in three cross-cutting areas:- Critical and Contextual Approaches Creative Practice Media and Industry Studies. We're at the forefront of research and postgraduate teaching. Our Institute of Popular Music (IPM) was the first academic centre created specifically to study popular music – and where better than in the home of the Beatles? It also boasts an enviable archive of donated recorded material. Staff and students contribute fully to our research areas, which are informed by the broadly defined fields of: Critical theory Music and the moving image (including new media) Ethnomusicology Composition Music industries Media and cultural studies. Research students participate fully in our research activity. They present papers at the School’s research seminars, work as Teaching Assistants within the School (with pedagogical training and support provided). There are also weekly research, career, and teaching seminars for all postgraduates. As a postgraduate student you'll be able to attend research seminars involving guest speakers from many disciplines and sub-disciplines. You'll also be closely involved in classical, traditional and popular music concerts performed by professional musicians and students. Composer Kenneth Hesketh and conductor Vasily Petrenko from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic - neighbours with whom we have launched a partnership - have recently been made honorary professors of Music at Liverpool.

Research Overview

There are three department-wide interdisciplinary research themes, not intended to operate as formal research groupings, but which together foster and encourage research projects in each of the areas of specialism:

Critical and Contextual Approaches

We have a particular strength in questions of interdisciplinary approaches across repertoires. Projects either requiring or focusing on such questions would be welcome by many members of staff.

Creative Practice

Music is home to practitioners of many different kinds, especially composers.

Media and Industry Studies

Several members of staff are specialists in industry studies, and several more in moving image and in media studies. Projects in this area are encouraged in all repertoires, including classical, popular, and world musics, and in new media forms.