Doctor of Music

Student working in the H Library
The Doctor of Music (DMus) research degree is aimed at outstanding performers and composers who wish to explore research questions arising directly from their artistic practice.


Start date September 2024
End date Flexible depending on planned duration and possibility of a write-up period before completion
Duration 3 or 4 years full-time; 5 or 6 years part-time

As a DMus student you will work with at least two supervisors on a substantial portfolio of practical work in performance or composition. You will also provide an extended commentary of typically between 15,000 and 25,000 words to contextualise your research.

If you are considering applying to undertake doctoral research, your first step is to identify a member of staff with relevant expertise to support your project and capacity to act as your supervisor. An initial enquiry with a potential supervisor will help to establish if they are interested to work with you.

Find a supervisor

In addition to your individual supervision, you will enjoy participating in an array of group classes and research events. This will ensure you are fully embedded in the H’s diverse and supportive research community.

Royal College of Music courses are internationally recognised as full degree, with successful students awarded their qualification under the H's Royal Charter.

Recent DMus projects : 

  • Edwin Hillier (2022) 
  • Mannion, R. (2019)  
  • Konstantinos Destounis (2019) 

AHRC doctoral studentships through LAHP

The H is the only music conservatoire in London to be part of an AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, with full studentships awarded to exceptional applicants through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

Find out about the AHRC studentships and LAHP

Performance and composition opportunities

With a busy events calendar of more than 500 events every year, the H offers a vibrant environment for research projects in performance and composition.

Doctoral students are able to participate in the H’s performance programme (including access to coaching for chamber music) and to perform in the College’s public programme. Doctoral students may audition for orchestral and ensemble placements in induction week every year.

A proportion of supervision hours may be taken as lessons with a performance professor, where this tuition is integral to your project. This option should be discussed with your lead supervisor during the application process, who will explore the availability of a suitable professor with the relevant Head of Faculty. Involvement in other faculty activities is by permission of the relevant Head of Faculty and can be explored with your lead supervisor during the application process.

Composition at the H fosters partnerships with the College's large body of gifted instrumentalists. Doctoral composers will have the opportunity to hear performances of their own works and benefit from a range of collaborations, both within the H and externally.


The Royal College of Music is proud to offer its students fantastic practice and performance facilities with resources to support teaching and learning. We continually improve our facilities to ensure H students have the best opportunities.

Key facilities at the H include:

  • The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall - our primary performance venue for orchestras and large ensembles.
  • Our 400-seat Britten Theatre, home to the H’s thriving International Opera School.
  • A new Performance Hall, offering an alternative space for ensembles, with a retractable stage, Fazioli grand piano and variable acoustics.
  • Intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance in our Performance Studio and Parry Rooms.
  • Sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods for private practice.
  • A purpose-built percussion suite – you can .
  • Over 160 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, as well as organ rooms.
  • A Blüthner Practice Suite which holds ten Blüthner Model A upright pianos.
  • Instrument surgeries including luthier services.
  • H Studios: a commercial-grade facility, enabling live broadcasts around the world.
  • Digital Innovation Lab: advanced recording and mixing suite.
  • H Library with more than 200,000 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, as well as access to more than 400 music journals.
  • Recently refurbished H Museum, holding more than 14,000 instruments, portraits and images, as well as a climate-controlled performance space and the associated Wolfson Centre in Music & Material Culture | Royal College of Music (rcm.ac.uk)

Find out more about H facilities

Career development

The H’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.

The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.

Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.

Find out more about the Creative Careers Centre

Entry requirements

To be admitted onto the programme, you will normally need a good Master’s degree, the ability to demonstrate a close familiarity with existing theoretical and practical aspects of your topic area, a developed awareness of fundamental research skills, and ability to design and define a viable project. There should be a good match between your intended project and the expertise of your proposed supervisor at the H.

Performance applicants should be performing at a level that matches the entry requirements for the Artist Diploma in Performance.

The H welcomes applicants from all backgrounds and alternative qualifications may be considered. If your qualifications are not listed here, please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to discuss your suitability for the programme.

English language requirements

All applicants must be able to demonstrate that their level of English language ability meets the Royal College of Music’s minimum requirements in order for their application to be accepted.

If you require a visa to study at the H, you must meet the English language requirements before the H is permitted to sponsor your visa application.

Find out about English language requirements

How to apply

Before applying

If you are considering applying to undertake doctoral research, use our Find a supervisor list to help you find a suitable supervisor. An initial enquiry with a potential supervisor will help to establish if they are interested to work with you. General enquiries about the programme can be sent to our Head of Research.

Our Admissions team can help you with advice on fees, visas, language requirements, the online application process and other application enquiries.

Application process

Finding an expert supervisor is essential for doctoral study, so explore and contact potential supervisors on the Find a supervisor page. They will be able to advise whether they have the right expertise to support your proposed project. If a supervisor is willing to support your project, they will read and offer advice on your research proposal, and advise whether your research proposal is sufficiently developed to submit before the application deadline.

Please note that this agreement to support your application does not guarantee offer of a place, which will be dependent upon supervisory capacity and performance at interview.

For guidance on the format and content of your research proposal, please consult the following document:


H application deadline for candidates considering LAHP funding is 30 November 2023.

Applications received by this deadline will be assessed first for admission to the H, through an interview with their chosen supervisor and another member of H staff. If you are offered a place at the H, your research proposal will then be considered for submission to the LAHP studentship competition.

Please note that LAHP funding is intensely competitive, and the H is only able to support the strongest applicants for this scheme: an internal H panel (including the Head of Doctoral Programmes) will select applicants to be taken forward to the LAHP competition, and these applicants will receive mentoring on their proposals during December and January to maximise their chances of success. Applicants admitted to the H but not entered into the LAHP competition can apply to the H bursary scheme in May.

H application deadline for other candidates is 15 March 2024.

Applications received between 1 December and 15 March will be considered as they are received. Applicants will be considered for the H Bursary scheme in May.

Submitting an application

You will need to:

  • Create an account on the H online submission portal.
  • Complete the Doctoral application form and upload your research proposal and your supporting documents.
  • Pay the application fee of £100.
  • Arrange for your referees to email their references direct to admissions@rcm.ac.uk.
  • Promising applicants will be invited to interview, normally within two weeks of the application being received. Interviews normally take place online.


If you are interested in pursuing your research interests at the H, use our Find a supervisor list to help you find a suitable supervisor.

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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