Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Alison Butler, PhD candidate in Music

“The people, both faculty and students, create a fantastic environment that is both supportive and challenging.”

Why did you come to Western for your graduate degree?
I was attracted to Western for three reasons: the large music education department, the financial support and care for graduate students, and the adventure of studying abroad. I have always lived in the UK, so the opportunity to live and study abroad has been amazing, making me far more aware of the possibilities available around the world, and also helping me to look more critically at policies and practices in UK education.

Do you belong to any university or community groups?
I’ve joined a yoga studio in London which offers a wide range of classes, workshops and social events. There are lots of community organizations that welcome students, providing opportunities to socialize and contribute to the wider community beyond the Western campus.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Make contact with people! If possible, visit the campus and city to see if you feel happy there. Make an effort to get in touch with faculty and current students to learn as much as possible about the course, university and life in London. Also find out as much as possible about financial support.

What’s your favourite music?
I listen to a huge range of classical and popular music. As a performer, I most enjoy working within a vocal ensemble to create close-harmony arrangements.

What idea, suggestion, or comment would you like to share with the Western graduate community?
There is a fantastic network of formal and informal support available on campus and in London. Be open about what you need to flourish, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Audrey Yardley-Jones (
Graduate Program Assistant

Don Wright Faculty of Music

Western University
Talbot College, Room 216
London, Ontario N6A 3K7

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 85354

Students in the PhD in Music program are engaged in a program of study that leads to an original contribution to their field of study: composition; music education; musicology; or music theory. Students are exposed to a wide range of approaches and methodologies to research and creative activity, and work in a thriving intellectual and creative environment. The stages of the program ensure that students attain a broad knowledge base in their particular area of study that prepares them to write an original dissertation.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 Terms

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Admission Requirements

  • A strong academic record from a Master’s degree in the relevant field of study, or its equivalent.
  • Samples of recent work in the relevant field of study.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline

  • January 15 - Acceptance notification in early March
Applications received after the deadline are contingent on space availability and funding.

Fields of Research

  • Composition
  • Music Education
  • Music Theory
  • Musicology