DMusPerf (Doctor in Music Performance)

  • Application deadline
    24 March 2023
  • Course duration
    4 years
  • Course accreditation
    Trinity Accredited Course
  • Course fee
    €13,000 per annum
  • Course fee (non-EU/EEA)
    €24,500 per annum

Course Introduction

Doctoral Studies Coordinator: Denise Neary

The Doctor in Music Performance (DMusPerf) degree was established in 2006 and provides a qualification of prestige and excellence in musical performance and research.  

The key distinguishing feature of the DMusPerf is that it is intended to enable candidates to make a contribution to the advancement of knowledge of professional practice in their own field of music.  

Because it is related directly to their chosen career path, the performance-based character of the programme gives an opportunity to advanced musicians, who are otherwise unlikely to study for a PhD, to undertake research into problems that are of direct relevance to their own interests and organisational concerns.  

Performance doctorates are designed to assist in developing excellent performing musicians who can also research as professionals. The RIAM is uniquely positioned in Ireland to provide teaching at this level with a staff of international calibre in the areas of research and performance. 

Scholarships & Bursaries (Third-level)

1848 Scholars

The RIAM has set aside a generous budget to offer financial assistance to incoming students each year. We offer 1848 scholars to those students who score highly at audition, in return for administrative or teaching/accompaniment work. 

There are two types of 1848 Scholars 

1.Administrative Assistance Scholars 

Examples of assistance include stewarding, music specialist administration (e.g. bowing/marking parts, scanning music), meeting prospective students, concert administration & presentation, and outreach projects 

  • €1,000 bursary is awarded for 75 Faculty Assistance Hours 
  • €2,000 bursary is awarded for 150 Faculty Assistance Hours 

2.Teaching/Accompaniment Assistance Scholars 

For teaching assistance, an interview post-audition will assess your previous teaching experience. Teaching assistants are allocated group classes, early years, or adult students. Accompaniment assistants are allocated rehearsals with students and class concerts. The Head of Faculty monitors all 1848 Scholars engaged in teaching. 

  • €1,650 bursary is awarded for 60 Teaching Assistance Hours 
  • €2,500 bursary is awarded for 90 Teaching Assistance Hours 
  • €5,000 bursary is awarded for 180 Teaching Assistance Hours 

We offer bursaries based on the ranking of applicants at audition. We also assess your willingness to take on administrative or teaching assistance work, and your aptitude for the work. 

Course Outline

The DMusPerf is a full-time programme over 4 academic years. All modules are delivered at The Royal Irish Academy of Music.  

Academic components

Academic work will break down into research and musicological seminars in year 1, with dissertation supervision in years 1, 2, 3, and 4. 

The Academic Studies modules are: 

  • Introduction to Musicology  

  • Research Methods  

  • Topics in Musicology  

  • Lecture Recital  

  • Dissertation 

Performance components

The DMusPerf course requires the candidate to give many public performances over a 4 year span. These include: 

  • 3 full length recitals, each lasting 70 minutes 

  • 2 concerto performances totalling 50 minutes 

  • 1 chamber music recital lasting 50 minutes 

  • 1 lecture recital lasting 50 minutes 

Performances in Dublin will normally be examined as a live performance. Any performance outside Dublin can be examined by submitting a high-quality unedited video recording of the performance. 


Performing Opportunities

Performance opportunities in Dublin are many and varied.  

The RIAM hosts many concert series which have often given a platform to our DMusPerf students.   

Externally, there are many community ensembles and choruses who have engaged our students as soloists and there is a large cohort of professional musicians within the RIAM staff that are always happy to look at chamber music projects.   

All exams requiring accompaniment may be performed with piano only or with an ensemble. However, it is worth noting that the RIAM will not cover any expenses incurred in the organisation of any performance.  

Career Destinations

All of the graduates from the RIAM Doctor in Music Performance programme have progressed to professional performing careers as well as teaching posts at such institutions as the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music and Drama, Carnegie Mellon University, USA, and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia. 

Entry Requirements

You can apply for the DMusPerf programme at RIAM’s online applications portal.  

The application deadline for September 2023 intake is 21 December 2022. 

However, late applications may be considered in exceptional cases. 

Qualifications or equivalent 

Applicants will normally hold a Master’s degree or equivalent and have a track record of professional achievement.  

We also invite applications from performers who have attained a very high standard professionally but would not have had the opportunity to undertake postgraduate studies at an earlier stage in their career. 

Candidates will also normally be expected to have demonstrated considerable maturity and developed significant expertise in a number of the following areas: 

  • musical excellence 
  • continuing professional development 
  • extensive performance development 
  • comfort within intellectual discourse 

It should be noted that this list is not exhaustive. Rather, it is intended to indicate that in addition to a record of academic achievement, candidates will be expected to have a track record of considerable accomplishment and demonstrated maturity in a number of musical areas 

Exceptionally, if the quality and extent of independent research or professional experience already demonstrated by an applicant clearly indicates capability of successful doctoral level study, the formal Masters qualification may be waived. The appropriate criteria of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) will be applied in these circumstances. 

Course handbook