Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location Western Sydney University, Graduate Research School
App. deadline 15/02/2017
  • Scholarship available
Project ID 2016-056
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Uncovering Universal Mechanisms for the Communication of Musical Emotion

The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development invites applications from highly motivated Australian or overseas graduates seeking to undertake a PhD supervised by Dr Andrew Milne and Prof Roger Dean.

MARCS is an interdisciplinary research institute of Western Sydney University. We study the scientific bases of human communication. Research at MARCS is conducted in five interdisciplinary research programs - Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience, Human-Machine Interaction, Multisensory Communication, Music Cognition & Action, and Speech & Language. For further information, please visit

The PhD research will support a project entitled "Uncovering universal mechanisms for the communication of musical emotion", which is funded by the Australian Research Council and Western Sydney University. The compatibility of two or more sounds - their perceived fit - is an essential component of musical communication and music-induced emotion. This project aims to reveal universal mechanisms of musical fit: mechanisms related to time, pitch, and timbre that are able to transcend individual and cultural differences. The mechanisms will be investigated with interdisciplinary methods from psychology, computing and musicology: theoretically informed computational predictors will model participants' psychological and physiological responses to familiar musical, unfamiliar musical (e.g. microtonal, ametrical, inharmonic) and non-musical sonic stimuli.

Potential applicants should first contact Dr Andrew Milne ( to discuss their interests and to shape a research proposal that is relevant to the project.

What does the scholarship provide?
All students receive:
• Support for conference attendance (domestic and international), fieldwork and additional costs as appropriate.
• Access to the extensive range of MARCS specialised equipment, laboratory space and facilities.
• Additional funding to support training and equipment purchases.
• A rich environment of support and academic expertise via supervisory panels, seminars, colloquia, international and industry collaborations.

Domestic Students receive:
• Tax free stipend of up to $26,288 per annum for up to 3 years, a funded place in the doctoral program.

International Students receive:
• Tax free stipend of up to $26,288 per annum for up to 3 years.
• Outstanding students may be awarded a Tuition Fee Scholarship valued at approximately $24,000 per annum for up to 3 years.
• Up to $3,267 towards the cost of an Overseas Student Single Health Care Policy.

Applicants should hold an Australian First Class Bachelor Honours degree, OR equivalent qualifications and/or research experience (including research publications) in a field such as cognitive science, computing, musicology or experimental psychology. Interest or experience in two or more of these would be desirable. International applicants must also demonstrate a high level of proficiency in the English language. Please refer to the University's website for information about English Language Requirements.

Next steps
• Potential applicants should contact Dr Andrew Milne to discuss their proposed research: 
• The University strongly recommends that applicants browse the University's Prepare to Arrive website for information regarding the cost of living in Australia.
• Contact the Graduate Research School if you are unsure whether you satisfy the family criteria: 
• For further information about the application process, contact MARCS Institute Manager, Darlene Williams:

How to apply
• Submit a scholarship application form, research proposal and all other relevant supporting documentation to the Graduate Research School (, by the closing date.
• Please ensure that all relevant documents are certified according to Western Sydney University requirements. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
• The application form can be downloaded from the Graduate Research School's Project Scholarships Page.
• If you have any queries regarding the application process or enrolment, please contact the Graduate Research School:; +61 2 4736 0966.

Applications close: 15 February 2017

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Ms Tracy Mills
+61 2 4736 0966