School of Art, Design and Architecture

PhD Brain-Computer Music Interfacing

The PhD Brain-Computer Music Interface programme is delivered through the Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) in collaboration with the Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC). ICCMR is well-known for championing research in this field and BRIC is the most advanced multi-modal brain imaging facility in the South West. Students will have access to ICCMR and BRICS laboratories, and the opportunity to work with leading experts in music technology, AI and neuroscience.

Course details

  • Overview

  • The University of Plymouth is a world pioneer of the field of Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (BCMI). It offers unparalleled support for research in this truly interdisciplinary field, combining music, electronic engineering, neuroscience and brain imaging. 
    This full- or part-time doctoral programme is suitable for candidates interested in contributing to the advancement of BCMI, while honing their research and scientific skills through experiments and development of practical systems. If you do not already have a masters degree, you may be interested in one of our masters level research degrees – for instance, our ResM Computer Music (which enables a transfer directly into the PhD programme if you are making excellent progress), or else an MPhil degree. Further details about the University’s research degree awards. 
    You will be guided by a supervisory team of academic experts in ICCMR and BRIC, under the direction of a personal Director of Studies.
    You will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly and scientific contexts. Your PhD will be assessed via submission of a written thesis of approximately 80,000 words. For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our Postgraduate research degrees pages. 

    Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI1)

    • Research Skills in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (DRTS800)

      This module provides research students the opportunity to explore the creation and interpretation of new knowledge within their field; develop the students’ ability to conceptualise, design and present their theses to merit publication; advance the students’ academic enquiry skills and techniques; and to generate and share the new knowledge within their academic discipline and professional practice.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI2)

  • Year 3

  • Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI3)

  • Year 4

  • Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI4)

  • Year 5

  • Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI5)

  • Final year

  • Core modules

    • Research Brain-Computer Music Interfacing (GSRBCMI6)

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have either a good 2:1 or first class honours undergraduate degree, as well as completed a masters level qualification on a relevant topic, including (but not limited to) music technology, engineering, computer science, psychology or neuroscience. In exceptional cases, candidates with alternative qualification(s) and/or substantial professional experience may qualify. Please enquire.
If you do not have a masters level qualification, we recommend to consider starting with ResM Computer Music. Students who make good progress in the ResM programme can progress directly into the PhD Brain-Computer Music Interface programme after 12-18 months. In this case the ResM period counts towards the PhD. 
If English is not your first language, you must have proficiency in written and spoken English (normally a minimum test score of 6.5 for IELTS, or equivalent). Given the nature of the programme, you’ll be expected to read and engage with complex theoretical texts and debates for which fluency in English is essential.
For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the apply for a postgraduate research programme page.

Fees, costs and funding

Please visit the fees and student finance page for information about fees. PhD Performing Arts is in Band 2 for fees purposes.
If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.
If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.
You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.
Please visit our Funding for postgraduate research students to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal of no more than 1000 words in total. Your research proposal should outline your general topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, your proposed methodology, key definitions/thinkers/discourses/practitioners you are drawing upon and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.
Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community. 
It is recommended that you contact a member of staff (see people below) to briefly discuss your research idea before you submit an application.
Submitting your application
Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.
Questions on the application process?
We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College and we'll be happy to assist you.
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit Disability Services.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office
Find more information about Apply for a postgraduate research programme.

Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Computer Music Research (ICCMR) develops research combining music, science and technology. Our research expertise ranges from musicology and composition, to biomedical applications of music and development of new technologies for musical creativity.
Eduardo Miranda playing as part of an orchestra

Brain Research & Imaging Centre

The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC), the most advanced multi-modal brain imaging facility in the South West, will provide the sea-change to enhance the quality of our research in human neuroscience.
With seven cutting-edge human research laboratories, BRIC will include an MRI suite with the most advanced 3-Tesla scanner in the region. It will critically advance our enquiry toward the most advanced brain research, improved radiological diagnostics and better patient care.
BRIC building development, December 2020

Music of the mind

The ICCMR team developed a musical system which enables people with severe motor-impairments to play music with signals detected directly from their brain, which was featured in a documentary for Volvo and Sky Atlantic.
Film credit: Volvo and Sky Atlantic


 A £2.7 million project, RadioMe uses artificial intelligence to adapt and personalise live radio, with the aim of transforming lives for people living alone with dementia. Funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), it addresses key causes of hospital admission for people with dementia, such as agitation and not taking medication correctly. Led by Professor Eduardo Miranda from the University and including other university partners, it will develop a way to remix live digital broadcast so that listeners will receive personal reminders, information and music to improve quality of life and allow people to remain living independently at home for longer.
Learn more about RadioMe
Eduardo Miranda ICCR STARTS prize

Grand prize of the European Commission for Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts, ICCMR award

The composition Biocomputer Rhythms, by Eduardo Miranda, won an Honorary Mention at STARTS, an initiative of the European Commission to foster arts and sciences connections. 

Federico Visi

ICCMR PhD student, Federico Visi, receives Santander Universities Scholarship award for his innovative research on the impact of music and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Frederico Visi


Coastal Processes Research Group Perranporth beach