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Musicology – Music as Culture and Cognition


Coordinator: Manuel Pedro Ferreira (CESEM / NOVA FCSH)


Education Objectives

The Doctoral Programme in Musical Sciences – Music as Culture and Cognition has three areas of specialisation: Historical Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Psychology and Pedagogy. All these areas are central in musicological studies. The former two have a long academic history all over the world, while the acknowledgement of the importance of Psychology and Pedagogy of Music has been more recent, mainly in the north-American context but also in some European universities and in Brazil. One should additionally remark that in the past few decades, in the wake of the so-called “new musicology”, Historical Musicology has widened its traditional horizon to encompass cultural studies and a more varied and interdisciplinary array of thematic approaches (including aesthetics, sociology, politics, gender studies, etc.). Moreover, current tendencies point to shared concerns and methodologies between areas of specialization that tend to view music as a form of culture (Historical Musicology and Ethnomusicology) and those that study it more as a cognitive process (Psychology and Pedagogy of Music), notwithstanding the specific identity of each area. The doctoral programme proposed here attempts precisely to convey these integrative tendencies and help students to view their individual concerns as part of a wider intellectual panorama, while keeping the necessary specialization levels in each area of study.

The Programme includes a general seminar (Methodologies in the Musical Sciences) that aims at providing the students with a perspective on current issues in the Musical Sciences. On the other hand, the speciality seminar (Seminário de Especialidade) and the seminar that provide in-depth work on specific themes (Temáticas Aprofundadas em Ciências Musicais) integrate the students in their specialist area. However, there are several topics that are common to both research centres as well as to NOVA FCSH. In particular, the study of the musical cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world is a strategic area of research. Not only is NOVA FCSH considered a leading institution in the study of Portuguese-speaking cultures, but also both research centres have contributed to the development of close relationships between Portugal and other Portuguese speaking countries, especially Brazil. This focus is also articulated with the closely connected Iberian and Latin-American contexts. Finally, with Portuguese being the most widely-spoken language south of the equator, the search for knowledge in the area of the Social Sciences and Humanities and in Musical Sciences is clearly growing.
Some of the theoretical perspectives and research questions explored include:

a) Music research understood in a broader sense, encompassing the traditions of Western and non-Western art musics, as well as oral traditions and globalised popular musics. A contemporary, interdisciplinary approach to historiography, theory and analysis applied to the understanding of musical phenomena in all their complexity, including the study of production and reception.

b) Music considered as social interaction and in its relations to political, social and cultural processes at the local, national and global levels. Culture-theoretical, philosophical and sociological approaches to music. Interrelations between music and the other arts, especially literature. Cultural politics: the relationship between political and social power and music discourses and practices. Music in the digital public spheres.

c) The role of music in the construction of identity, ethnicity, nationalism, globalisation, diasporas, sexuality and gender. Music globalisation and transnational processes. The transmission and preservation of musical heritage. The invention and representation of tradition.

d) The study of musical cognition and behaviour from the perspective of psychology and performance studies. Music pedagogy and the role of music in human development.

e) The impact of music technologies on compositional processes, production systems, transmission and reception. Music production, mediation (recording industry, radio, journalism) and reception (audiences, contexts, processes).


Opening Date

Classes start on September 11, 2017. More information in Academic Calendar.


Vacancies and scholarships

12 vacancies / year

Scholarships: 20 BIs, 20 BDs (granted along four years)

Each academic year a competition for 4 to 6 one-year grants (BI), valid from the following January, will be opened. Early in the following semester, a different competition for 5 or more three-year grants (BD) will follow (the exact number will be set each year).Of these, some will be national (totaling 12), other mixed, i.e. allowing a period of study abroad (totaling 8). Selection and ranking criteria will include the average grades of undergraduate and Master degrees (40%), the evaluation of the scientific curriculum (40%) and the letter of intent or research programme (20%).



To be announced soon.



Submitted online on dates announced each year for each kind of grant, comprised between the end of the second semester and the second month in the first semester.

More information in Application to FCT Scholarships


Documents Required

Documents to be submitted with the application:

- Letter of intent, including motivation and description of current research interests in the area of the candidate's PhD programme;

- Academic, scientific and professional curriculum;

- Photocopy of Identity Card / Citizen Card / Passport;

- Photocopy of Fiscal Card, NIF (except if the candidate holds a Citizen Card);

- Photocopy of Qualification Certificates (both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels) and any relevant additional diploma.


Admission criteria

The Doctoral Programme in Musical Sciences – Music as Culture and Cognition follows the admission criteria foreseen in the national regulation for academic degrees (Decree-Law 74/2006). Accordingly, candidates must either hold an MA degree, or have a scientific, scholarly or professional curriculum making it possible to infer ability to engage successfully in the activities foreseen in the PhD programme, and have completed before the deadline of the application, a MA degree in Musicology or Music Education. 

Since NOVA FCSH is concerned with recruiting the best students, the application documentation discriminates the candidate’s academic record, a detailed CV, and, most importantly, a letter of intent, expressing the candidate’s motivation for pursuing a doctoral degree, and a short explanation of his/her research interests. 

This letter of intent gives the selection committee the opportunity of assessing quality of writing, understanding of the scientific framework of the programme and notion of scientific pertinence.

Candidates are asked to include in their application documentation all materials that might prove useful for the selection committee to judge whether they can be admitted.

Exclusion criteria include: i) lack of relevant academic qualification; ii) absence of letter of intent; iii) the letter of intent and CV reveal insufficient knowledge of the area or irrelevance of the candidate’s interests.



1 200€ / Year


Curricular Structure






Metodologias em Ciências Musicais



Temáticas Aprofundadas em Ciências Musicais



Tese em Ciências Musicais



Trabalho Final em Ciências Musicais


Conditioned Option 1






Seminário de Especialidade em Ciências Musicais Históricas



Seminário de Especialidade em Ensino e Psicologia da Música



Seminário de Especialidade em Etnomusicologia


Research seminars: The student chooses one seminar from these options presented above.

Conditioned Option 2






Opção Livre


The student may choose a research seminar or a curricular unit offered as free option.


Faculty Staff

Musicology Department  (NOVA FCSH)

Salwa Castelo-Branco

João Soeiro de Carvalho

David John Cranmer

Rui Vieira Nery

João Nogueira

Luísa Cymbron

Manuela Toscano

Paulo Manuel Rego Ferreira de Castro

Jorge Matta

Helena Maria Ferreira Rodrigues da Silva

Musical Aesthetics and Sociological Studies Research Centre (CESEM / NOVA FCSH)

Manuel Pedro Ramalho Ferreira (Coordinator)

João Pedro Carvalho de Alvarenga

Isabel Maria Antunes Pires

Paula Gomes-Ribeiro

Rosana Marreco Brescia

Esposito Francesco

Svetlana Yurievna Poliakova

João Pedro Lopes Reigado

Elsa De Luca

Ivan Moody


Ethnomusicology Institute - Music and Dance Research Centre (INET-md / NOVA FCSH)

Cristina Isabel Videira Fernandes

Manuel Pinto Deniz Silva

Filippo Bonini Baraldi

Iñigo Sanchez

Rui Pedro Ferrão Cidra

Vincent Debut

Graça Mota

Livia Jimenez Sedano

Maria de São José Côrte-Real



Invited Professors:

John Sloboda - Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Paulo Castagna - Universidade de São Paulo


Participating Research Units

CESEM - Musical Aesthetics and Sociological Studies Research Centre

INET-md - Ethnomusicology Institute - Music and Dance Research Centre



Secretariat of the Musicology Departament

Francisco Gama

Tel.: + 351 21 790 83 30 | Extension: 1498

Fax: + 351 21 790 83 08


Location: Tower B, 6th floor | Torre B, Piso 6


PHD Programmes Office | Núcleo de Doutoramentos (ND)

Tower B, 1st floor | Torre B, Piso 1


Tel.: + 351 21 790 83 45 or + 351 21 790 83 00

Extensions: 1471 or 1456


Useful links

NOVA FCSH - Pedro Hispano Doctoral Studies

Musicology Department

UNL Guide

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