School of Humanities and Performing Arts

ResM Computer Music

The future of the music industry lies with computer technology – and what we can do with that technology. It affects how we create, perform and distribute music. Whether you’re a practising musician, a sound engineer or a professional looking to combine your background and passion for music, we’ll help you explore key concepts at the heart of music, science and technology. Immersed in a thriving research centre, our future-facing programme offers you a wealth of new career opportunities.

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Key features

  • Work as part of a global research centre – the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) – with staff, PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world.
  • Take advantage of the ICCMR’s research collaborations with partners in Europe and the USA, allowing you to visit renowned institutions such as IRCAM in Paris, NOTAM in Oslo and CalArts in the USA to develop your research project.
  • Projects can range from innovative approaches to composition and performance using computers, and the design of assistive music technology, to studying how music is processed in the brain.
  • Gain the skills necessary to progress to more advanced research at PhD level. 
  • Balance your work commitments and further education with the opportunity to study part time for a masters level qualification.
  • Take part in the annual Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival. Showcase your work in public, stay on top of new developments in the industry, and get key insights into where music is heading in the future.

Course details

  • Taught modules
  • The ResM can be studied either full or part time. You will study the modules 'Advanced Topics in Computer Music' and 'Research in the Arts and Humanities'  and attend individual tutorials with your supervisor and regular research seminars, leading to either a written thesis or one combining critical writing with creative/professional practice. We may also agree together that you should take other or additional modules or engage in specific training opportunities. 

    Core modules
    • MARE700 Research in the Arts and Humanities

      This module provides students with research skills training and a critical awareness of different methodological approaches in the arts, humanities, cultural industries and associated fields, to enable them to make appropriate choices in their own research. It is designed to complement and support individual research projects carried out by students.

    • MARE702 Advanced Topics in Computer Music

      This module explores advanced topics in the field of sound and music computing, and music technology in general, and offers an opportunity to expose the students to the research of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR). Students will be introduced to trends in music practices with new technologies and will have the opportunity to gain and/or hone their theoretical and technical skills through a negotiated project.

  • Thesis and assessment
  • Your thesis will be 25000 words in length (or the equivalent). It may be assessed entirely through written work, or through a substantial practical project that addresses particular research questions and is accompanied by an extended contextual essay. We’re pleased to support research that is embedded in and conducted through a professional creative practice.

    You will also participate in a viva voce, or oral examination. This will form part of your examination process and normally takes place between one and three months following submission of your thesis or its written elements.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

For entry to postgraduate level, you should normally possess:

  • a first or upper second (2:1) degree with honours (in music, music technology or a related subject) or professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard; or
  • an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.

If you are an overseas applicant you can check the comparability of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirement

If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.

English language requirements.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees. The ResM Computer Music is in Band 2 for fees purposes.

If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for one year. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional six month 'writing up' period (that is, half of the 'writing up' fee indicated on this page).

If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for two years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year 'writing up' period.

You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.

This programme is eligible for a postgraduate loan.

How to apply

Application is by project proposal and evidence that you are prepared to successfully complete this project.

Your proposal must provide a suitable basis either for a written submission of 25,000 words, or creative and/or professional practice plus a contextual essay of at least 12,500 words. Your proposal should be 500 words maximum and accompanied by a recent sample of critical writing (maximum 3,000 words), which may be from a previous course.

Proposals for research that is practice-led must be accompanied by a DVD, portfolio of work or links to online documentation that indicate your readiness to pursue the project. It should take the admissions team no longer than 30 minutes to view all the visual material that you provide. These will be used to determine both your aptitude for the programme and the suitability of your proposed project, as well as the availability of an appropriate supervisor. We will also consider the ability of the department to support your research project with resources appropriate to your needs. 

Please attach your project proposal and sample of critical writing to your application,along with a brief statement explaining why you have chosen this course. All applicants will be interviewed, either in person or by Skype/telephone, prior to being accepted onto the ResM Computer Music programme.

Submitting your application

Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.

Questions on the application process?

We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College administration team and we'll be happy to assist you.

You can view or download our postgraduate research admissions policy.

If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit our Disability Services website.

The International Student Advice provides support for our international students.

Make sure that you clearly indicate at the top of your application form that you are applying for ResM.

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

Cutting-edge research in topics including the interface between music, computers, and the brain within a vibrant contemporary music community.

Access our well-equipped studios, open plan lab and annual research seminar series.

Find out more about the centre and what we do

Student insight, Asad Malik

The students gain a significant amount of insight and expertise in the areas that interest them the most.

Asad Malik studied MRes Computer Music at Plymouth, earning a distinction in 2011.

Research project, Edward Braund

Watch this short documentary about 'Biocomputer Music', a groundbreaking research project developed by ResM students and staff, investigating the development of bio-processors for interactive computer music and Artificial Intelligence.


You’ll have access to ICCMR’s well-resourced research lab and music studios. ICCMR is located in the newly completed multi-million pound building, The House, where you’ll mix with other staff and students from across the arts faculty.

This creates opportunities for interdisciplinary and practice-based research.

Find out more about The House