Research ( full-time, part-time)
January, April, September
Distance-learning supervision available on this course.
This course is located in the Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research.
For application deadlines visit our how to apply page.
Our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research is an international centre for research into music therapy, putting you at the heart of new music therapy research worldwide. Our large community of PhD students, and links to seven other universities across the world, will make you part of a team that leads on music therapy research.
Our research institute leads music therapy research for adults, older people, young people and children with a range of issues. We specialise in finding out what works clinically in music therapy and how it works, including which theoretical frameworks such as neurology, psychology, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis best inform the work.
Our innovative research involves outcome studies in a variety of settings, such as schools, health services, voluntary and the private sector, and we have many partnerships within these. Our research streams include music therapy and dementia, autism, end of life process, learning disability, mental health, children and families, addiction and stroke. Our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research is based in a state-of-the-art music therapy centre, including a research laboratory where practical music therapy and music and brain research can be undertaken in purpose-built spaces.
Over ten music therapy PhDs have been completed through us during the last few years, and our cohorts are growing. As a PhD student here you will be working alongside larger scale international projects on music therapy, and there is a rich programme of specialist lectures and PhD subject specific opportunities.
Our Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research is based in the purpose-built Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre on Young Street, which includes state-of-the-art therapy rooms and a large hall. The centre is used for all of our teaching and our professional therapy consultations. It offers a large range of musical instruments specifically chosen for clinical work, as well as high-quality recording and videoing equipment in the therapy rooms.
You will also have access to the extensive facilities offered by Cambridge School of Creative Industries, including a recital hall, a suite of computer music studios and music practice rooms, a fully-equipped drama studio and two large drama rehearsal spaces.
Our researchers are involved in public policy, and we regularly provide talks for parliament, keynotes around the world at international conferences, and research is linked to a working music therapy clinic in The Jerome Booth Music Therapy Centre. Three professors and two post-doctoral researchers are working on research into music and brain and improvisation EEG projects - music therapy for people in the local community with dementia and their carers, linked to local partners such as MHA care homes and Saffron Hall Trust. We also work closely with the Centre for Music and Science at Cambridge University.
MPhil: full-time 1-3 years, part-time 2-4 years.
PhD via progression from MPhil, including that period: full-time 2.5-5 years, part-time 3.5-6 years.
PhD: full-time 2-4 years, part-time 3-6 years.
For further guidance on the duration of research degrees please refer to the Research Degrees Regulations.
Our staff are recognised as experts in their fields and have produced a number of influential books, journal articles, edited collections, compositions, recordings and creative artefacts.
Professor Jörg Fachner, DMSc, MSc Edu (Professor of Music, Health and the Brain): music, therapy and the brain; music and consciousness states; state dependent cognition and recall; music therapy and addiction treatment.
Professor Helen Odell-Miller, OBE, BA, LGSM, RMTh, MPhil, PhD: music therapy and dementia; music therapy and links with diagnosis in adult mental health; music therapy and personality disorders; psychoanalytically informed music therapy; arts therapies and mental health.
Professor Amelia Oldfield, RMTh, PhD, LGSM (Senior Lecturer): music therapy with children with autism; music therapy with families; music therapy diagnostic assessments; orchestral instruments in music therapy improvisation.
Dr Clemens Maidhof, PhD, MA Music Cognitive Neuroscience of Music, Music Psychology, Neurophysiology, Multi-modal data acquisition and mobile brain-behaviour research, Syntactic processing of language and music.
Dr Alex Street, PhD, RMTh, BA Music: Neurorehabilitation (adult and children); disorders of consciousness; work in special schools; music and neuroscience; protocol development.
In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.
Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.
In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.
Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.
We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.
If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.
For 2021/22 the bench fee bands are:
Initial registration: £1,300
Full registration: £4,000
Part time: £1,000
Full time: £1,800
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.
For advice on the doctoral loan and other sources of funding, including ARU scholarships, visit our finance guide for postgraduate researchers.
You might also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.
ARU's academic excellence was recognised in 2021, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Sixteen areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on the societies we live in.
We will provide you with many opportunities for career development and training, in areas like writing up a paper for publication; placing an academic article; giving a conference paper; the doctoral writing style; updates on research methods and literature searches; internet training; editing skills for doctoral research; subsequent monograph publication; and dealing with festivals, agents, and publishers. You might also be able to take on teaching responsibilities in the department, or organise research events like seminars and conferences.
In conjunction with the University’s research support, you can request specific support for writing-up, conference papers, general research methods and other research skills if you need it.
You can also take part in running research projects where appropriate and link your research ideas accordingly.
If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities in this area, please email [email protected]
We recommended that you also contact one of the above potential supervisors before applying to discuss your plans, particularly if you do not have a degree in music therapy.
MPhil or PhD with progression from MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelors degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.
PhD: You’ll need a Masters degree or equivalent in a related subject area.
Please note we consider candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil in the first instance. If you want to be considered for direct entry to the PhD route then this can be discussed at interview if you are shortlisted. Please note you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this request.
If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the programme as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Contact our postgraduate research degree team for more information about studying a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate at ARU.
You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your research programme. Before starting, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
Studying during COVID-19
Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face access to research resources in limited circumstances where access can be justified under movement restrictions. Visit our restrictions page for details. All assessments and supervision are currently conducted online.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and related Government guidance, your research programme will be framed, wherever possible, to be conducted away from campus and in line with movement restrictions. For some types of research attendance on campus will be essential for some activities, and these activities will need to be undertaken in a COVID-19 safe manner in line with our risk management procedures.
In the event that there are further changes to the current restrictions that are in place within the UK due to the pandemic, we may need all of our researchers to work online only at short notice to remain in line with Government guidelines and ensure the continued safety of our students and staff.
Full-time, part-time research ()
January, April, September
Full-time, part-time research ()
January, April, September
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