Ruth Cowie

Name: Ruth Cowie

PhD Title: An evaluation of the effects of instrumental lessons for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Departments: Reid School of Music and Department of Psychology

Supervisors: Prof Raymond MacDonald & Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson



After completing her HND in Music Performance at Edinburgh College in 2013, Ruth went on to complete her Honours year at Wolverhampton University. It was during this year she found her love for research and how music can influence daily life. Her dissertation looked at the musical influences within society, in particular the elderly society, which was awarded with the highest mark within her cohort. After graduating with a First Class BA(Hons) in Performance Industries in 2014 she went on and completed her MSc in Educational Research with merit at the University of Edinburgh. During her MSc she explored the learners’ perceptions of the effects of instrument tuition during adolescence on their emotion and behaviour regulation. In September 2017 she started her PhD at the University of Edinburgh under the supervision of Dr. Katie Overy (music) and Dr. Sue Fletcher Watson (psychology). She will be exploring the effect of music tuition on the behaviour and emotion regulation of children with ASD.


Research Interests

Music in daily life

Musical influences

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Behaviour and Emotion regulation


Musical Interests 

Coming from a performance background, Ruth is still very much active within the Edinburgh music scene. Recently she was performing with Southern Light Opera Company in the musical Titanic at the King’s theatre, Edinburgh. Past productions include The Producers, Chess the Musical, Carmina Burana, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Karl Jenkin’s The Armed Man and a number of Edinburgh Festival fringe shows. She has had the honour of performing in different venues around the UK, as solo artist and within a company, in many different genres and hopes to keep this up during her PhD.


Funding Awarded 

 2017     AHRC Studentship, Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities

2014     Educational grant, Glasgow Society of Sons and Daughters of ministers of the Church of Scotland



2015-2016 NUS Delegate for Edinburgh University

2015-2016 Course Representative MSc Educational Research

 2013-2014 Student Body President Music Department

 2010-2012 HND Course representative