Postgraduate students are an integral part of the Music & Science Lab in Durham. Our PhD and MA students contribute actively to Music & Science research by conducting internationally-renowned research across a variety of topics (see our Projects pages), contributing to our undergraduate teaching curriculum, and taking an active role in public engagement events.

Postgraduate Community

Postgraduate students in the Music & Science Lab attend regular lab group meetings (held approximately every other week), in which they give presentations on their ongoing research and contribute to discussions of state-of-the-art methods and techniques and important publications in the field. Our students regularly present their research at international conferences (e.g. International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition, European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music) and have published their research findings in prominent journals (e.g. Psychology of Music, Frontiers in Psychology). Current students are using a range of behavioural and physiological methods (skin conductance, EEG) to investigate questions related to music-evoked emotions, musical memory, musical ability, and cross-cultural responses to music. Postgraduate students also engage actively with the undergraduate community by contributing to teaching and supervision of research projects on the Music & Science and Psychology of Music undergraduate modules and serving as Editorial Assistants for our in-house journal Durham Undergraduate Research in Music & Science (DURMS). We encourage postgraduate students to engage with the wider, non-academic community by participating in such activities as the annual Durham University Schools’ Science Festival and writing blog posts to communicate their research and academic experiences in an accessible and non-technical format.

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New Masters (MA) Pathway in Music & Science in 2021

We are currently planning a revision to the Masters (MA in Music) curriculum that will include a Music & Science pathway from Autumn 2021, with specialised training opportunities in empirical music research. Indicative lecture topics will include (but not be limited to): emotional responses to music, musical memory, the psychology and physiology of music performance, cross-cultural music perception and cognition, and applications of music and science research. Topics will be chosen to reflect the research expertise of the academic teaching staff, in order to facilitate research-led teaching and opportunities for students to collaborate on ongoing, world-leading research projects. The MA pathway will also focus on developing advanced practical skills for conducting music and science research. Indicative methodological topics include (but will not be limited to): experimental design, qualitative analysis, inferential quantitative statistics, and computational modelling techniques. These techniques will be taught with an emphasis on developing students’ skills in coding/programming and conducting high-quality, reproducible and transparent research.  More details on the MA in Music & Science pathway will be available in mid-2020.

Student Testimonials

“My PhD experience at Durham university has been a great one so far. I feel extremely lucky to have the opportunity to learn from expert researchers in the field of music psychology. My supervisors have been extremely supportive, and constantly challenge me to better develop my research and advance in my area of study. Having regular lab meetings allows me to keep in contact with staff members and other PhD candidates, creating a close-knit group of researchers that support and educate each other. Durham is a lovely quaint city, and with its majestic Cathedral and spectacular views it is the perfect backdrop for the ultimate PhD experience.”

Annaliese Micallef Grimaud, 2nd Year PhD Candidate

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“The PhD experience at Durham has been overwhelmingly positive, and a great opportunity to work professionally with world leading researchers and supervisors, whilst developing an independent research agenda and my future career prospects. I could not recommend enough choosing to study at the top UK music department here in Durham, surrounded by friendly peers, and working in the shadow of the famous Durham Cathedral is not so bad either!”

Scott Bannister, 3rd Year PhD Candidate

Scott Bannister