What is the structured doctoral programme (sdp) at the mdw?

The structured doctoral programme offers a paid position for PhD candidates working full-time (75%) on their dissertations, and a structured framework with additional courses, exchange with other candidates and intensive supervision by a team of professors. We also provide access to libraries, digital infrastructure, funding for travelling and events such as summer schools, method workshops, etc. (according to budgetary possibilities).

How is the sdp Music Matters designed?

The structured doctoral programme Music Matters is designed as a 3+1 year curriculum with programme-specific courses complementing the work on the PhD thesis, as described in the section "Music Matters".

Who can apply for the sdp?

The sdp is designed for early stage researchers who would like to start a PhD. Applicants require proof of a successfully completed Master’s or diploma degree and a qualified PhD project corresponding to the research profile of the sdp.

Do I need a supervisor when applying for admission?

No, you will work with the sdp supervisory team at mdw, not an individual supervisor. 

Is it possible to participate in the sdp without being employed?

Yes, for selected doctoral candidates with a PhD project corresponding to the research profile of the sdp it is possible to participate as associate members. This applies especially to those who are funded from another source and are interested in an exchange with the doctoral fellows of the sdp.

Can I do the doctorate part-time in addition to my job?

The structured doctorate programme is 30h a week plus evening talks and additional events. You are expected to participate actively in the programme.


Which language skills are necessary for application for the doctoral programme?

Excellent spoken and written communication skills in English (C1). If the dissertation is written in English:TOEFL: at least 95 Points, Cambridge Certificate: Certificate in Advanced English (CAE), School leaving Certificate due to teaching in english, Native speaker, IELTS: Band Score 7 or more. If the dissertation is written in German: excellent spoken and written communication skills in German (C1). The following documents are accepted as proof: a C1 diploma from an ÖSD testing centre (ÖSD Zertifikat C1) or one from a Goethe Institute testing centre (Goethe-Zertifikat C1). See: https://www.mdw.ac.at/studium/infoblatt/englisch/studien/Information_sheet_PhD.pdf


Do I have to write my thesis in German?

No, you can write it in English if you have the necessary language skills (C1).


I don’t have my Master’s degree yet, can I still apply?

No, unfortunately not. We can only accept applications including your certificate.

Do I need (peer-reviewed) publications to graduate from sdp?

The thesis within the structured doctoral programme is typically a monograph. However, you are encouraged to publish articles during the 4 years of the sdp at the mdw.

I am not sure if my topic suits the doctoral programme, what can I do and who can I ask?

Please take a look at the different texts on the website provided by the participating disciplines. These can give you an idea and orientation about the outline of the programme with all its diverse perspectives and approaches. However, the stated research questions are only suggestions, own ideas are more than welcome!


In which subjects can I acquire the PhD?

You can acquire a PhD in the following disciplines (in alphabetical order):

  • cultural institutions studies
  • cultural studies
  • ethnomusicology
  • gender studies
  • music acoustics
  • music sociology
  • music education
  • music therapy
  • musicology
  • performance studies
  • popular music studies


… and closely related disciplines.


Can I also do a PhD in artistic research?

No, the sdp is a scientific programme and you will have to submit a written PhD-thesis; it is not possible to include a practical part.



How should my proposal look like?

There is no template or a specific structure for the proposal (exposé). You are free to structure the text in a way that suits your project and your way of working. The members of the supervisory team have provided texts to give you a first orientation on what topics your research proposals could cover and to provide literature suggestions. However, your proposal may of course build on different research questions, methods and literature that fit the scope of our topic “music matters".

How long will it take to process my application?

The formal and content review of your application takes about 8-10 weeks. If you are considered to participate in the sdp, you will be invited to a hearing/interview taking place in Vienna at the beginning of June.

Next steps - preliminary schedule

•Application open until Feb 29th, 2020

•Selection procedure 1st step - formal check 

•Selection procedure 2nd step - review and shortlist by jury 

•Invitation of the shortlisted candidates; reply to non-invited applicants

•Hearings in Vienna online in June 

•Communication of decision 

•sdp starts with an opening event on October 1st, 2020


When and how will I be notified of the committee’s decision?

We will inform you of the committee’s decision in June 2020.


In case of acceptance, (when) do I have to move to Vienna?

The programme starts in October 1st 2020 and it is expected that members will complete their theses in Vienna, as doctoral residency is crucial for the community building that enables sustained exchange and participation with peers and faculty members in the professional field in Vienna.