PhD Programme

Music Therapy PhD

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Welcoming new applications for the MPhil/PhD programme 2018

phd Programme

The programme has two parallel tracks:

  • MPhil/ PhD in Music Therapy 
  • MPhil/ PhD in Music, Health, Society

This postgraduate research degrees programme is validated by Goldsmiths, University of London and is linked to both the Nordoff Robbins Research Department and to the Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies Department (STaCS) at Goldsmiths. It is a practice-orientated programme designed for experienced practitioners in either music therapy, or community music/ music and health who seek further professional development through research.

If you would like to learn more about the PhD Programme please download the Prospectus and FAQs, which provide further information on the programme and application process. You can also download the Application Form.

Please note that unlike larger doctoral programmes located within university departments, the Nordoff Robbins MPhil/ PhD programme recruits new students only when places become available. Because currently all of our students are part-time (taking up to seven years to complete their studies) the programme does not recruit on an annual basis. Instead, when places are likely to become available there is a formal call for applications, advertised on the Nordoff Robbins website and other bulletins.

The Programme Convenor is always keen to talk to people who may be thinking of making an application in the near future.

Please contact the Programme Convenor Prof Gary Ansdell: gary.ansdell@nordoff-robbins.org.uk

PhD Students

Our international postgraduate student community includes music therapists and music psychologists contributing to the growing body of research around music therapy practice and related fields. Read about the research projects conducted by current and past PhD students below. 

Current PHD Students and Projects                Past PhD students and projects

Testimonials

STUART

One thing I have always loved about music therapy is that along with being a helping profession, it is an academic discipline. From my training in the late 90s I knew that there was so much out there for me to question and to develop within music therapy thinking, and this has continued to motivate me. I also knew that it would be very important to choose the right site for that questioning, and that for me, Nordoff Robbins would be the best fit.

I was drawn to the size of the programme, which is light on its feet, but which has a great range and scope in impact through the reach and reputation of the academic supervisors. It was responsive to my developing interests and topic, so that as I reached new territory in my enquiry, the programme was already there to meet me.

During and then after the programme, I was introduced to key figures in the international scene, both via my examination and through giving lectures in other universities, which have developed into important academic relationships in the UK and internationally, and I have since been awarded a research grant from the Wellcome Trust to develop an aspect of my doctoral studies.

The Nordoff Robbins programme helped to refine a vocabulary and set a standard of communication in my academic work which truly trained me - in the traditional sense of having changed me.

CLAIRE

Having worked as a music therapist for many years, for me, deciding to do a PhD was a case of different things coming together.  I became interested in a specific area of everyday music therapy work, which became an itch that needed scratching!  It combined with a wish to challenge myself academically, to extend my professional roots in order to sustain me for the next phase of working life, and to contribute something to the wider music therapy world.

For me, Nordoff Robbins was definitely about finding supervisors who ‘got’ both me, and the area that I was interested in researching.  It was also important that I ‘got’ them, and their work, particularly in terms of their writing and thinking about music therapy, had appealed to me for years.  I also chose the programme because I knew it would be intellectually challenging, introducing me to ways of thinking that were new, sometimes felt just out of reach, and were certainly not always comfortable.   

Being on the programme has certainly extended and challenged me!  I do feel as though I’ve been helped to navigate those challenges by my supervisors, other staff, and fellow students.  The regular seminars have been a great platform both for presenting work, testing out new ideas, hearing from others, and having input from the team. 

One thing which I hadn’t expected was how doing a PhD would shift my thinking about my everyday music therapy work.  Not only has it fed into my usual work, but it has been instrumental in opening up the potential for new areas of work which I couldn’t have imagined when I started. 

ERINN

Having practised music therapy for many years, I returned to academic work in order to understand more fully the relationship of music to social life and how this might be expressed in music therapy theory.

The Nordoff Robbins programme has offered me the opportunity to creatively pursue my own research agenda while providing solid methodological and theoretical training. The faculty are generous in their time and attention, and fellow students are stimulating and diverse in their backgrounds and interests. Seminars are filled with lively and challenging discussion, and are designed so that students at different stages of the research process can both learn from and help guide their colleagues. I could not imagine a better programme for anyone who is interested in a rigourous PhD experience, values a vibrant and supportive research community, and is passionate about contributing to an interdisciplinary conversation about what music therapy can be.

Programme Supervisor Publication lists

Professor Gary Ansdell

Professor Mercédès Pavlicevic