How to apply for Higher Degree Research programs

Higher Degree Research applicants can apply to the program at any time. If you wish to be considered for an AGRTP stipend scholarship and ANU postgraduate scholarships the application deadline is October 31 each year.

Domestic and international student application forms.

School of Music special requirements

In addition to ANU entry requirements for HDR students, applicants will need to demonstrate they have the capacity to pursue research at Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level in the School of Music. Assessment of this is based on the applicant's prior achievement in the discipline and the merit of a submitted research proposal. In addition, the School's capacity to provide appropriate human and material resources is taken into consideration.

As such, in addition to the information requested on the ANU Application form, an application should provide the following:

  • A Research Proposal of three to four pages (i.e. maximum of 2000 words). See the application information and research proposal guidelines provided by the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • Evidence of ability to satisfactorily engage with theoretical matters and complete written research material. This could include papers submitted for prior degrees (essay, thesis etc) or published material including journal articles, reviews etc.

Application procedure

Prospective applicants should consult with Dr Bonnie McConnell, HDR Convenor

T: +61 2 6125 7015

Consideration of a Research Proposal may involve critical feedback, advice and subsequent amendment and re-submission of the Proposal.

Research Proposal guidelines

The PhD in Music may be undertaken with a major study in one of the following broad areas (which include studies in Jazz):

  • Austalian Indigenous Musics
  • Composition
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Pedagogy
  • Music Theory and Analysis
  • Musicology
  • Performance
  • Interdisciplinary fields may be negotiated

A thesis of some kind is required in all cases, but the size of the thesis and what kind of other activities or materials may be submitted is to some extent negotiable. For example, a composition folio, recital or recording may be considered as part of the submission. The materials submitted must be shown to be a closely integrated body of work, built around a single research topic. Please consult with the Graduate Convenor and the Head of Area for further information.

A strong proposal is one that provides a clear sense of the research project (object of inquiry, scope, empirical elements, methodologies, theoretical underpinnings, and originality). It is important to discuss this proposal with your prospective supervisor(s) prior to submission. Proposals should be a maximum of three pages double-spaced and provide:

  • Your full name
  • A short descriptive title for your project [topic]
  • The object of your inquiry (i.e. the aim and over-arching question that drives the research)
  • A brief review of existing literature in this specific area of research
  • A clear indication of your project’s scope (e.g. time period to cover, case-studies to consider, objects to document and analyse)
  • A description of the empirical elements (e.g. the location and accessibility of data, the number and nature of subjects to analyse)
  • A review of the methodologies to be deployed, and a rationale for their use in light of the object of inquiry, your project’s scope and the data to be considered
  • A review of your project’s theoretical underpinnings (its orientation in light of theoretical and/or historiographical work in the field)
  • An indication of your project’s originality (in terms of the nature of the inquiry, and/or the project’s scope, and/or its empirical base, and/or its selected methodologies, and/or its theoretical perspective)
  • The nature of the anticipated outcome(s) (e.g. written thesis, or thesis and composition folio), including discussion of the format and weighting of the submission components where applicable.
  • You might also mention any particular technical equipment, software, support or training that would be essential to the successful completion of the project.
  • A select Bibliography (highlighting key works that will inform your study)

You should discuss your draft proposal with your prospective supervisor before submission. Note also that you must submit a one-page summary of this proposal with the actual application.

These guidelines have been adapted from the Interdisciplnary Cross-Cultural Research (ICCR) program's application process.

More information

International applicants should visit International student website for information regarding language requirements, and for other relevant information about studying at ANU.

Research-intensive programs

View on Programs and Courses website

Program details

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program: 9552XPHD
4 years full-time
192 units

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

Program: 8551XMPHIL
1-2 years full-time


Updated:  24 January 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications