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Admission to the programme is by audition. Candidates must satisfy the requirements for university registration at this level and hold one of the following qualifications:
- a master’s degree obtained in France or abroad;
- other master’s level qualification obtained in France or abroad;
- a DFS from the Paris CNSMD or a DNESM from the Lyon CNSMD

The doctorate is offered in all specialisations taught at the Lyon CNSMD to students wishing to combine employment as a high level professional musician with research by following a programme which is fundamentally professional in its orientation. Students are required

  • to perform in the different aspects of musical professions
  • to undertake research leading to a thesis in French (unless special permission to use another language has been obtained) in the field of interpretation, repertoire, creation and/or artistic and cultural performance, with the exception of cultural administration.


The programme normally takes three years to complete but permission to extend this period by one or more years can normally be obtained by requesting an extension to the time allowed to complete the thesis in accordance with university regulations.


Throughout the period of studies the production of research is closely combined with professional artistic or cultural activities so that students can:

  • write a thesis in French (unless given special permission to use another language) on their research topic;
  • carry out and develop their artistic and/or cultural activities, which are enhanced by their research.

Students work under the supervision of two tutors:

  • a teacher at the Lyon CNSMD who is nominated by the Director of the Conservatory at the suggestion of the student;
  • a Director of Research, who is a member of the university, in accordance with the thesis charter of the University of Lyon.

After being admitted, and following a meeting at the Conservatory, the student receives a personal study programme covering the areas of both research and artistic or cultural activities, which he or she undertakes to adhere to from the first year onwards, consisting of:
- the calendar of working sessions and meetings with the Director of Research from the University;
- the calendar of working sessions and meetings with the tutor from the Conservatory;
- a provisional list of the working sessions in the relevant specialisation at the conservatory (from eight to twelve two-hour sessions over the first two years).
- teaching days, training periods and seminars arranged by the doctoral school;
- master-classes;
- student’s public performances;
- student’s obligations towards the conservatory and the university;
- if required, one or two periods abroad;
- activities with various professional organisations;
- any other arrangements deemed necessary for the student’s programme.

This programme is defined with the student or group of students by the Director of the CNSMD or his or her representative and the Director of the Doctoral School or his or her representative. It is updated at the end of each year

The progress of the research is monitored at the end of each year, and the student’s attendance and work is assessed according to the standards of each institution.


The Research and Practice Doctorate of Music is awarded by the University to students when they have:

  • fulfilled the requirements of the teaching programme,
  • written and submitted a thesis in French (unless special permission to use another language has been obtained) which may be accompanied by other documents or material,
  • successfully presented an artistic performance in relation with the research topic,
  • successfully defended their thesis.

The artistic performance and the defence of the thesis, which are public and assessed by an examining panel, take place in the following order:
1) the artistic performance
2) the defence, which takes place not less than two and not more than six months after the artistic performance

The members of each of the panels include representatives of the university and of the conservatory. Some of the members sit on both panels.