Launch your research career with an Elphinstone PhD Scholarship

Two fee-waiver PhD scholarships in either vocal composition or sonic arts are available for UK, EU, and Overseas students whose study starts in October 2015.


The University of Aberdeen has provided excellence in learning and teaching for five hundred years, exporting outstanding graduates and world-shaping ideas from North-east Scotland to the far reaches of the globe.

To commemorate the 500th anniversary of our founder, Bishop William Elphinstone, we offer a PhD scholarship programme in memory of his commitment to excellence and "the pursuit of truth in the service of others".

This opportunity is offered to high-achieving students looking to begin a PhD programme. Students can be resident in Scotland/EU, rest of UK, and international.

What is offered?

Students receiving an Elphinstone PhD Scholarship will have their fees waived for each year of their PhD.

When can I apply?

Applications are now open. Candidates should apply for a PhD place in the normal way:

  1. Contact the supervisor of your chosen area (vocal composition or sonic arts; see below) and send your initial research proposal (refer to ).
  2. Once contact has been established, you may be requested to send supporting materials of recent work.
  3. Once confirmation of interest has been indicated by the supervisor, you will need to complete and submit the Postgraduate Application (online or download), stating:
    1. ‘Elphinstone PhD Scholarship’ in the Intended Source of Funding section
    2. The name of the lead supervisor in the Name of Proposed Supervisor section
    3. The title of the specific research project (subject to any agreed modifications in discussion with the lead supervisor) in the Outline Summary section
    4. Within their project proposal, how they intend to address the specific project title.
  4. Candidates should simultaneously register their desire to be considered by emailing the Graduate School Administrator, Ann Marie Johnston, at


The date by which the above should be undertaken is 30th April 2015.

What subjects are available?

Sonic Arts / Electroacoustic Composition / Sound Design

Supervisor: Dr Suk-Jun Kim (Music)
Co-supervisor: Dr Frederik Pedersen (History)
Contact Details: | (+44)(0)1224 274618
Research Topics:

  • Hear the Past: Sound Design and Composition as Aural Imagination
  • Sonification of the Past
  • New Approaches to Sound Design for Historical Archives

Project Description:

This research project aims to sonify non-auditory artefacts, specifically textual and narrative data such as city archives, special library and museum collections, and other historical data from heritage industries that depict and illustrate the sound of the past, and make them audible through the practice of sound design in its broadest sense, using aural imagination as a methodology. The successful PhD candidate for the research will be part of a research team within SERG (Sound Emporium Research Group;, a practice-based research group within the department of music, and work closely with the staff at the University Library (especially, Special Library Collections) and the Aberdeen City Archives. The outcomes of the research project would be a series of research papers for publication, focusing on the development and implementation of specific methodologies with which to sonify these non-auditory artefacts, to create web-based or mobile-based applications that make use of the research outcomes, and/or to produce artistic outcomes such as electroacoustic compositions and sound design products.

Vocal Composition

Supervisor: Dr Phillip Cooke (Music)
Co-supervisor:Professor Paul Mealor (Music)
Contact Details: | (+44)(0)1224 274599
Research Topics:Composition of Contemporary Sacred Choral Music

Project Description:

The topic of contemporary sacred choral music is a strong research ethos at the Department of Music with colleagues working in this field in composition, musicology and performance. The department has a reputation as a centre for the dissemination of contemporary sacred choral music with practitioners working at the highest level. The portfolio of original compositions would be the culmination of the research undertaken by the candidate in which he/she would have composed several pieces of music all research-informed through the different strands available in the department. The candidate would be expected to carry out original research in composition, but also in the field of contemporary religious writings and practice to get a full understanding of liturgical and sacred platforms in the twenty-first century. The final portfolio would not only be expected to show an original creative mind, but also to show how these compositions fit into a contemporary religious framework.