Music & Dance - The Irish World Academy of Music & Dance - Structured Research

The Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

The Irish World Academy of Music & Dance was established in 1994 by Professor Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, whose own research interests established the Academy as the international leader in Irish music research. Over the last two decades, it has attracted researchers from over thirty countries world-wide and has one of the highest proportions of international research students in the university. As well as Irish music and dance, research at the Irish World Academy has grown to encompass a wide range of areas including music and dance ethnography, arts practice research, music and health, and festive arts.

The Academy is a recognised world leader in Irish traditional music and dance scholarship. It has the highest success rate in Irish Research Council funding in Irish traditional music research in the country and six of its doctoral graduates head up traditional arts programmes in other Irish higher education institutes.

Music and Dance Ethnography is a research cluster at the Academy with specialist interests in world music and dance, urban soundscapes, the music and dance of migrant communities and European traditional music and dance. It has links with the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology and the International Council for Traditional Music. Dance Research Forum Ireland, established in 2003, is a non-profit, international, inclusive and interdisciplinary society for the promotion, support and development of dance research and practice in Ireland and further afield. In 2009, the Arts Council awarded seed funding of €140,000 towards the establishment of the national dance archive at the UL Glucksman Library.

The Music & Health Research Group is an international collaboration between researchers, academics, and clinicians with expertise in Music Therapy, Clinical Psychology, Community Music, Statistics, Music Performance, Improvisation, Child and Family Studies including music and infancy, Disability Studies, and Arts Based Research. It was officially launched in 2009 by Professor Even Ruud from the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway. However, its first developments can be traced to the Music & Health workshop held in Limerick in 2005 which was funded from the European Science Foundation. The Music & Health Research Group has a range of research actions and interests across three thematic areas: music and everyday life; music, health, and society; and the applications of music for health, and in healthcare.

A structured PhD in Arts Practice Research was established in 2009. This is the first structured PhD programme of its kind in Ireland, providing research opportunities for professional artists wishing to reflect on their own practice. The Academy has also become a national leader in advocating for the mainstreaming of arts practice research in higher education in Ireland and has established national and international platforms for promoting policy development, shared practices of evaluation and the development of repositories for arts practice research artefacts. The programme caters for a wider variety of performance specialisations and to date has attracted students in Irish traditional music and dance, contemporary dance, medieval song, Western art music performance, African music and dance, music education and community music.

The introduction of a specialisation in Festive Arts in 2013 further expands the remit of the Academy, including interdisciplinary practice-based research with an emphasis on audience development, participation and engagement within performance practice and a focus on effective and sustainable arts management practices.

Artists-in-residence enhance the rich creative environment within which both traditional and practice-based research occurs. The Academy hosts numerous performance events, as well as a weekly, interdisciplinary public seminar (the Tower seminar series) and a more specialist postgraduate seminar based around invitations to visiting scholars (the LOGOS seminar series).

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement to a postgraduate research degree is an honours primary degree (level 8 – as defined by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) with a minimum classification of a 2:1 or 2:2. Individual faculties or research centres may have specific entry requirements.

International Applicants
In addition to the minimum entry requirements specified above, international applicants are advised to meet the following standard English language requirements:

Overall score of 6.5 or above, with no less than 6.0 in any one component

A minimum score of 580 (paper-based) 90 (internet-based)

Uni of Cambridge ESOL Examination
Grade C or higher on a Certificate of proficiency in English (CPE)
Grade A on a Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)

Information on visas, immigration, accommodation and insurance is available on the Graduate School website:

Application date

The first step in applying for a graduate research position is to identify a potential supervisor and project. If you have difficulty in identifying a potential supervisor you should complete an expression of interest form available from Once you have identified a supervisor and project, you should complete a research application form and submit it to the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Application forms are available from UL accepts research applications throughout the year.

Up-to-date information on research activities in faculties, departments and research centres is available on the UL website: At this stage you should also try to identify possible sources of funding.

Course fee

An up-to-date schedule of fees is available to download from

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: 09/Sep/2019

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