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Upon agreement

The aim of the PhD specialisation in popular music performance is to further develop the candidates’ qualifications within the subject area for the purposes of research – both artistic and scientific – and for other work within a field in which strict demands are made pertaining to scholarly insight and methodology. The specialisation is oriented towards expressions of popular music performance.

the term of the same name is synonymous with the internationally established research term “popular music”, and covers musical genres and styles like jazz, folk music, world music, roots, reggae, grunge, hip-hop, electronica, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, punk, country, metal, soul, house, blues, funk, dub etc.

In this way, a broad understanding of the performative aspect of popular music is situated as the basis of relevant research themes which might form a part of such a study programme. Included in this understanding are themes which touch upon studio practice and the recording industry (for example musician role, producer role, sound engineer role, recording studio as a music-cultural arena etc), popular music and multimedia (including film music and music videos), the rock festival as a cultural phenomenon, rock concerts seen from the stage and so on. In this context, the scholarly aspect is primarily based upon popular musicology as a subsidiary discipline of musicology, but also opens for interdisciplinary input from subject disciplines such as sociology, media studies, social anthropology etc. In other words, this means that even though the specialisation is focused on popular music, the specialisation allows for a broad academic approach to this research field. Our use of the term “musicology” consequently opens up the possibility of interdisciplinary methods of approach where theoretical and methodological choices can be brought in from fields such as sociology, social anthropology, media studies and so on.

The PhD candidates are involved in the Faculty’s research environments, and participate in one or more of the Faculty’s research groups.


The training component of the doctoral degree programme at the Faculty of Fine Arts comprises one obligatory and one elective part. The obligatory part of the specialisation in popular music performance comprises 20 credits. In total, the training component makes up 30 credits. 

The obligatory part covers the following courses:

For the elective part of the specialisation in popular music performance it is possible to choose between the following courses:

PhD in Fine Arts, specialisation in Popular Music Performance

(30 credits)

(150 credits)

The obligatory part covers the following courses:

Thesis work, supervisions, thesis seminars, participation in the research environment, participation in other research environments and academic dissemination. 

For the elective part of the specialisation in popular music performance it is possible to choose between the following courses: 


The specialization leads to the academic degree Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) in Popular Music Performance.

Career possibilities

Here are examples of sectors and professions as a candidate with a PhD degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Specialization in Popular Music Performance can enter:

  • Research and teaching at universities and university colleges
  • Performing arts (musician, composer, producer etc.)
  • Artistic and industry jobs in the music industry
  • Media

Questions about this programme?

Studies offered by

Faculty of Fine Arts