Music Performance

Doctoral Studies Coordinator: Denise Neary
Course Introduction
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.

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.

Subjects taught

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.

Entry requirements

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.

Application dates

The application deadline for September 2024 intake is 20 December 2023.

However, late applications may be considered in exceptional cases.


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


Course fee €12,500
Course fee (non-EU/EEA) €23,185

Enrolment dates

September 2024

Post Course Info

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.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Daytime,Full time

  • Apply to

    Course provider