Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance offers the research degrees of MPhil and PhD, validated by City, University of London.
The Research Degree Programme leads to one of the following awards:
- MPhil/PhD in Creative Practice: [Dance / Music / Collaborative Arts]
- MPhil/PhD in [Dance and/or Music] Science
- MPhil/PhD in [Dance and/or Music] Pedagogy
All programmes are research degrees, which include shared elements, such as induction, research skills training and occasional seminars, but mainly focus on regular one-to-one supervisions with two allocated members of Trinity Laban staff or one member of Trinity Laban staff and one supervisor from another institution. The options in creative practice are suitable for those whose main focus is in composition, choreography, performance, or any related activity which embodies practical components, including those whose research incorporates interdisciplinary collaborations. In addition, historical research projects that utilize archive resources at Trinity Laban are also admissible under this option.
Trinity Laban supports a wide range of research based activity, including choreography, composition, sound-art, music/dance performance, dance theatre, scenography, music/dance science, as well as encouraging collaborative work, for example between music and dance, film or technology. Some researchers pursue interdisciplinary work, combining practice with theoretical perspectives, for example looking at the cultural context of the creation and performance of work, or education and pedagogically based work. Practitioners/researchers from Trinity Laban are developing innovative, collaborative projects which aim to push the boundaries of the art forms and promote the development of new artistic media.
Recent research by Trinity Laban staff has been funded by awards from The Leverhulme Trust, The Wellcome Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, and Arts Council England. An ambitious boost to research activity within the institution introduced a number of appointments at Reader and Professor level which led to the institution submitting to the REF 2014 (Research Excellence Framework), the first such submission for Trinity Laban.
The Research Degree Programme includes an induction period, research skills training, seminars, and a requirement to present your research work on a regular basis. You will have one-to-one meetings with two allocated research supervisors.
The options in creative practice are suitable for those whose main focus is in composition, choreography, performance, or any related activity which embodies practical components, including those whose research incorporates interdisciplinary collaborations. In addition, historical research projects that utilise archive resources at Trinity Laban are also admissible under this option.
The options in science and pedagogy are available for those specialising in empirical approaches to topics in music and/or dance research and those who wish to concentrate on educational and pedagogical aspects.
Initial registration for research degree candidates is usually for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme, allowing students time to develop their research methodology and refine their topic. The projects will be assessed after an initial period, at which time transfers to the PhD programme may be considered.
Registration can be either in full-time or part-time mode, and there are two intakes for the Research Degree Programme in each academic year: January and September. We also offer options for suitably experienced Staff Candidates to pursue doctoral study, and in appropriate cases, submission by prior publication is possible.
The MPhil and PhD programmes are led by:
Prof Clark welcomes informal enquiries relating to any aspect of potential postgraduate level research at Trinity Laban. If you are considering contacting us or submitting a formal application, please read the Guidance Notes for RDP Applicants before you do so. The Guidance provides detailed information on the above and many additional aspects of the Research Degree Programme and the application process.
For further information, read the Trinity Laban Research Degree Programme Handbook.
- At Trinity Laban, the guideline supervisory contact hours for full-time research students is based on a student/supervisor meeting of two hours once a month (24 hours/Academic Year shared between supervisors).
- Part-time RDP students will therefore receive a supervisory meeting of two hours, once every two months (12 hours/AY shared between supervisors).
- The number and frequency of meetings is expected to change during an individual’s course of study (it may be the case that more supervision is required at the beginning, and less at the end).
- The role of ‘first’ or ‘main’ supervisors and second supervisors: it is expected that this be flexible, and designed in consultation with all parties; as is the ‘split’ of supervisory meetings between supervisors.
- All students and supervisors are required to keep notes of the content of all designated supervisory sessions that are shared after each meeting; these notes form the basis of the supervisors' annual written review for each student.
Supervisory support during the ‘writing up’ period is halved and stipulated to be 12 hours in total for full-time students (pro-rata for part-time students); and halved again during an amendment period post-viva voce.
Our research students have access to an annual programme of Professional Development events which are organised in two strands:
- the Researcher Development Series, with sessions on a wide variety of subjects, from diversity to planning and managing your research project
- Professional Development for Research Students with presentations designed to help with specific milestones, which are part of MPhil/PhD students’ progression towards submission
During the annual RDP/MFA Week, research students present their work in progress in talks to which we invite all our staff and students as well as external visitors.
The Parallax series of staff and student showcases is an opportunity for Creative Practice students to apply to stage a performance or presentation of their work, for example Parallax13: Hollie Harding's Melting, Shifting, Liquid World.
Our Research Seminar Series takes place on occasional Wednesdays and is an opportunity to hear invited researchers speak about an aspect of their work.
The Preparing to Teach course, delivered through two workshops during the course of the year, is part of TL: Augment, our Professional Development programme that has been accredited by Advance HE (formally the Higher Education Academy). Amongst other, it is designed specifically for RDP students, who should attend to develop their understanding of teaching within Higher Education and in preparation for being considered for opportunities to become involved in curricula delivery at Trinity Laban.
Please contact the Research Administrator if you would like further information on any of the above.
Find out more about our Research Events
All candidates present a written dissertation for examination: this may take the form of a combination of practice and/or practical documentation, in addition to a written document. Wholly written submissions, for example in music/dance science or historical projects, are also appropriate.
For details of word-counts and submission materials please see the Trinity Laban Research Degree Programme Handbook.
Creative Practice MPhil/PhD submissions are practicable in the following areas of study: musical composition (by portfolio submission); choreography (by portfolio submission); movement-based somatic practice; music and dance performance; other projects in artforms such as film, installation and photography that interface substantially with either music or dance.
You can find a brief outline of prerequisites for an application and its necessary components below. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and that you should read the Guidance Notes for RDP Applicants carefully before you consider submitting an application.
- Applicants for the programme should have a good Honours degree in a relevant subject and, preferably, a Master's qualification.
- Applicants from overseas must also have sufficient command of English to study at doctoral level: equivalent to an IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 or above in each element. Please note that applications which should include an IELTS (or equivalent) certificate cannot be assessed if they are submitted without it.
- All applicants are required to submit a detailed research proposal, which outlines the area(s) of study and a description of how these correlate with existing areas of scholarship, both theoretical and practical. You will also be asked to state how the proposed research project is represented in terms of the research interests of Trinity Laban, and, if necessary, how the resources of the institution will be utilised.
- There are two deadlines for submission of applications. They are 1 June for the September intake; and 1 October for the January intake.
- HOW TO APPLY: your application will consist of both an application via UCAS Conservatoires and also additional information to be submitted via Embark: (1) an outline research proposal, (2) a summary CV, (3) certified copies of all degree certificates, (4) a copy of English Language certification (if required), (5) for proposals engaging in practical elements, a portfolio of your creative practice. You will find advice and guidance on both these application processes in the Guidance Notes for RDP Applicants.
Please contact the Research Administrator with any queries.
Fees and Finance
Fees for September 2020 entrants
Fees are reviewed annually and may increase by up to 5% each year. The following fees are confirmed.
|Research Degree Programme (MPhil/Phd) Fee for 2020/21 Year|
|Mode of Study||HOME/EU||INTERNATIONAL|
You can also view our Current and Past Fees.
Accommodation and Living Costs
This information can be found on our Costs of Living page.
Read about financial awards and external funding opportunities in the Fees and Finance section.
There are also Doctoral Loans available for eligible students.
|Location||Laban Building (dance) / King Charles Court (music)|
|Duration||4 years (Full-time) / 7 years (Part-time)|
|Start Date||January or September|
Student Stories: Hollie Harding
PhD Creative Practice (Composition)
"I’m fortunate to be able to work with lots of students and staff at Trinity Laban to develop my ideas. There’s something unique about the atmosphere here: everyone is interested, curious, engaged and looking to collaborate, which makes interesting artistic things happen."
Find out more about Hollie Harding's Research.
What our students say
Ailie Robertson / PhD Harp