You can now get a PhD in Heavy Metal from the University of Newcastle

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You can now get a PhD in Heavy Metal from the University of Newcastle

Focusing on the social geography of heavy metal music in Australia, this PhD course explores themes of lyrical content in Australian metal, the relationship between the genre and colonialism, the role of gender and race in the genre, and its defining characteristics. There’s even a scholarship for it. 


Offering up an annual living rate of $27,596, applicants  to the PhD course must have a minimum education level featuring BA honours, and ideally a Master’s degree in Geography or a related field. 


According to Anarchist Geography, a site run by University of Newcastle’s Director of Human Geography Simon Springer, there are two fully-funded PhD scholarships up for grabs. This will include the Geography of Heavy Metal Music course, as well as Geographies of Homelessness, Veganism and Unschooling. 



“Heavy Metal is a global phenomenon, representing a major cultural trend for the past four decades,” the description reads. “Numerous sub-genres exist within the general framework of Heavy Metal, each representing unique subcultures.


“Many of these sub-genres, such as Black Metal, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal evolved in specific geographical settings, often referred to as ‘scenes’. While unique scenes have evolved across the globe, the bulk of Heavy Metal’s bands have originated within countries in the northern latitudes.


“Australia is uniquely positioned within this global evolution, owing to its historical connection to the United Kingdom and shared cultural affinities with its colonial originator.


“While remote from the geographical heart of Heavy Metal culture, Australia has developed its own unique and passionate approach, producing a number of high profile bands.”



Professor Simon Springer tells Kerrang! that the creation of the position came from his recent move to Australia from Canada, during which he requested funding for two PhD students.


“I had free reign to recruit students to work in areas of personal interest,” Professor Springer explained. “And as a life-long metal fan who has only recently started to do some work in the area of metal studies, I figured this would be a good conduit to further my research agenda in this area.


“Certainly when I was a PhD student, I would have loved for someone to tell me that studying about metal is a legitimate academic pursuit!


“I also think the opportunities for funding in this particular area are few and far between, so I thought why not put a call out for applications and see if anyone is interested in studying the geography of heavy metal?”


Over the past year, Australian researchers have focused on the study of heavy music with two studies on seperate occasions, comprising of one to explain the appeal of the music, and the other focusing on proving that heavy metal fans are in fact nice people.


Intrigued? Head over to Professor Simon Springer’s website for more information on the course, and if you’ve got the credentials be sure to apply for this unique opportunity.