Profile of the doctoral programme


The postgraduate Doctoral Programme in Artistic Research (PhD) at the MUK is an artistic-scholarly course of excellence. It adheres to the tradition of artistic research that understands knowledge generation as the result of investigative artistic practice and artistic-scholarly processes, while requiring theoretical embedding, a systematic, comprehensible and repeatable methodological procedure, appropriate documentation of the research process as well as dissemination of the research results. Doctoral candidates must document their research results in writing to successfully complete the doctoral programme. As well as writing up, other forms of dissemination, such as exhibitions, performances, media installations, websites, etc., are also supported.
In addition to critical engagement with relevant theoretical discourses, the students’ artistic-scholarly research practice in the research laboratory and their participation in current artistic research projects in the form of research workshops hold a central place in the doctoral programme. Laboratory work is intended to do justice to the processual character of artistic research and to test artistic-scholarly methods and issues in an experimental setting.
Last but not least, students will also gain initial didactic experience and deepen their soft skills, such as teamwork, time management, initiative and communication skills. The curriculum is completed by participation in international conferences and team organisation of a student conference.

Admission to the doctoral programme is possible in the following subject areas/research fields: contemporary theatre, interpretation research, composition/music theory, art and cultural education, performance art, and contemporary dance.

Target group

The target group of doctoral students is deliberately broad in order to do justice to the diversity of the field of artistic research. Artistic research is characterised by collaborations and interdisciplinarity between different art forms and practices, and between disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. This often results in a transdisciplinary focus of artistic research endeavours.

Against this background, the MUK doctoral programme does not restrict the required academic degree of applicants to specific artistic disciplines. Instead, it focuses the direction of submitted research projects and also admits doctoral students with a scientific degree, provided that they demonstrate substantial artistic practice. The doctoral programme profile is aimed at applicants from different disciplines who share an interest in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary artistic research and thinking, and the merging of theory and artistic practice with the goal of acquiring new knowledge and new research insights.

A successful application demonstrates the applicant's ability to work independently in artistic and scientific fields and an understanding of artistic-scholarly processes, while also being willing to further develop one's own understanding of the subject and research. Collaboration in research teams and/or research networks is strongly encouraged. At the MUK, doctoral students are understood as being the next generation of scientists whose research contributes significantly to strengthening and shaping the profile of the MUK as a research university.

Research projects

To gain a study place on the MUK doctoral programme, the quality of the planned research project according to the following criteria is crucial: innovation of the research question, clarity of the method, feasibility and positioning of the proposed project within the research discourse that is relevant to the research question. In selecting the submitted research projects, interdisciplinary, original, visionary, experimental, and unconventional projects are favoured that critically reflect sociopolitical issues, demonstrate an awareness of discrimination structures, diversity, and the specificity of the cultural context, and are relevant to other scientific and social fields beyond the development and exploration of the arts.
To this end, the MUK doctoral programme promotes transformative research approaches that challenge conventional understandings of research and knowledge, as well as art and culture, and thus contribute to a broader understanding or the development of new research areas in the field of basic research. The reflective discussion and reflection of the specific methods and production processes based on one's own artistic-scholarly project, together with the endeavour to recognise the social, cultural, ethical or economic added value of one's own research, are considered essential parts of the research work.

A completed artistic-scholarly research project comprises:

a) a portfolio that documents the relevant research steps and results of the research project and communicates these in an appropriate and comprehensive form. You are required to discuss with the supervisors how to devise your individual portfolio.

b) a written dissertation that presents the research findings, anchors the project and the topic within the research discourse and includes a reflection on the methods and an analysis of the research process.

Minimum length 80 pages (approx. 160,000 characters excluding images, musical examples, bibliography and appendix); the dissertation must be written in German or English. The provisions of the Copyright Act, in its current version, must be observed during the handling of the topic.

Educational objectives

The doctoral programme imparts and promotes theoretical understanding and methodological competencies in the field of artistic research at the highest level. The aim of the programme is to enable students to conduct excellent, independent, artistic-scholarly research and thinking and to communicate artistic-scholarly processes and findings to various target groups. Having completed their studies at the MUK, graduates will be highly qualified for an academic career, for research-informed professional artistic practice and for collaboration with and responsible leadership of colleagues in other professional fields and social areas, using a variety of practical and constructive communication and networking skills.

Students will be equipped to position themselves in the international research landscape, contribute to the generation of knowledge in the field of artistic research and submit competitive proposals for external funding. Not least, the new intellectual, didactic, artistic, intercultural and social knowledge acquired through the doctoral programme promotes the students' employability beyond an academic career by deepening their competencies (transferable skills) to think critically and creatively in an interdisciplinary manner, to act strategically and in a problem-solving manner, to operate with risk and failure in an informed and reflective manner, and to flexibly address the challenges of a dynamically developing society.