Application Tips

Applied to the BMUS program? Here’s an update on the process

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

By now, you have probably submitted your general application to UBC and chosen “BMUS” as one of your choices of degree program. You’ve also been directed to submit and pay for the Supplementary Audition Form, and sent a 2019 Reference Form link to your two references for them to submit on your behalf.  

If you are planning on playing an audition in-person, you should have recently received an audition date and time for one of the first two weekends of March. We are not often able to take requests about audition days because the audition schedule is instrument-specific and can depend on faculty schedules, but if you have a conflict with your date or time, please let me know and we will try our best to accommodate. If you live far away and are planning to submit a video audition, you should have received instructions via email about how to upload it. The upload deadline this year is February 25, 2019.

If you are applying for the Composition major, you have uploaded your recordings and sent your portfolio in hard-copy to the Music School and it will arrive by March 1. (If it’s a few days later than March 1st, that’s okay too.)

Haven’t received an audition time? Haven’t received directions to upload your audition video? Having issues of any kind about the audition process? Let us know! We’re looking forward to meeting you on the audition day or watching your audition video submission.

Now, take a moment to sit back — well done! You can imagine having a beautiful experience on your audition day.  The sun is shining, a cheerful UBC student greets you when you check in at the welcome desk, and the faculty are all in a good mood because the Music Undergraduate Association has coffee, tea, and cookies available in the lobby.  You will be able to warm up in a private practice room and bring your best performance level into the audition experience.

What would your life be like as a UBC Music student? You love music, love playing your instrument, and are excited to explore the incredible academic resources of an amazing institution! You will spend lots of time in the Music Building, Roy Barnett Recital Hall, Old Auditorium, and the Chan Centre, as well as the Music, Art, and Architecture Library in the Barber Learning Centre and the AMS Student Nest too. 

We’ve posted some audition advice for you on the Admissions Blog and you may also want to check out UBC’s guide to life on campus.

I’ve applied to a graduate program! What now?

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

Congratulations to all those who have pressed submit on their application for graduate study at UBC Music!  Our faculty are looking forward to reading the materials you have provided, and excited to hear performance applicants audition in person or via video upload. Below is a quick reminder of some deadlines, and a few tips.  

Dec. 1st: Application deadline. If you are interested in a late application, please contact Juliet at

Dec. 15th: Submission of additional documents:  If documents were requested of you in your application that you haven’t uploaded yet (i.e. transcripts or English proficiency scores) you can upload them to your application by December 15th by logging into your UBC Student Service Centre.  When you log in, you will be able to see a list of the possible documents you can upload.  If you know you have not submitted a specific document, but it isn’t on the list as possible to upload, please contact Juliet; she may be able to help.

Dec. 15th: deadlines for references, either eReferences or the arrival of hard-copy letters. Reminder about references: a reference MUST use an institutional email address in order to use the eReference system.  If you need to change one of your references’ email addresses, please email Juliet and she will update it so that an eReference link can be sent out to them.

Jan. 3rd: upload of video auditions for performance applicants | submission of composition portfolios: hard-copy scores must have arrived at the School of Music and audio/video of the associated recordings must be uploaded into CLAS. If you have trouble uploading into CLAS, please contact me at

*Reminder about references: a reference MUST use an institutional email address in order to use the eReference system.  If you need to change one of your references’ email addresses, please email Juliet and she will update it so that an eReference link can be sent out to them.

Jan. 12th/13th: is the in-person audition weekend for instrumental and voice applicants (except for clarinet)  You will receive an audition date and time via email with instructions. If you have questions about audition requirements or specific selections, you can contact us.

This post was originally published on Dec. 8, 2017. It has been updated to reflect 2018/19 deadlines.

Thinking about applying to a graduate program? Here are some tips ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

Photo: Paul Joseph/UBC

Photo: Paul Joseph/UBC

The graduate application deadline is approaching! Dec. 1st is the last day to submit your application to the UBC School of Music for MMus, MA, PhD or DMA programs.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to apply — if, for example, you’re not sure you’ll be ready to audition in time, don’t know your prospective advisor well enough, and so on — I encourage you to reach out to us!

You can contact our admissions team - Juliet O’Keefe or me and we can help you get in touch with faculty members if you have program-specific questions. We want to help you know that you are well matched with a program here and have all the information you need.

Our graduate admissions system is generally very reliable, but as with any system, it has quirks that can cause confusion for a few applicants each year. Below are a few things to be aware of:

References: “The application system says my reference hasn’t arrived yet.”

a.     Please confirm with your references individually and make sure that they received an email from the UBC graduate system inviting them to submit a reference for you.  If they have not, there could be a typo in the email address you provided to the graduate system. Contact Juliet O’Keefe to resolve this issue.

b.     In order for your references to be able to submit their letters online, the email address you give for them has to be from a paid service — an address hosted by their university, company of employment, or a company like Shaw or Telus, NOT a free email service like Hotmail or Gmail or QQmail.  If a reference only has a free email address, they will receive an email from the application system inviting them to send a hard-copy reference form by post directly to the School of Music, to be received by December 15th.

c.     Here are the detailed requirements for how to submit both forms of reference. (For example, hard-copy references have to be in a “sealed and endorsed” envelope.

Supporting documents: “Why is there a document deadline of Dec. 15, separate from the application deadline, and what documents do I need to submit by that date?”

I am so glad you asked! Between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15, you can upload transcripts and English proficiency test scores. The admissions system will send you an automatic checklist of any items missing from the UBC central graduate application system, but might not remind you about Music-program-specific requirements such as repertoire lists, academic writing samples, etc.  Those need to be uploaded with your application by Dec. 1st. (If you realize that you omitted something from your application and have already submitted it, contact Juliet. She can upload most documents into your application after the deadline).

Video auditions: “How can I submit my video audition and what is the deadline? I see that different programs have different deadlines!”

If you are applying into a performance program and cannot audition in person, you will need to upload video files of your audition onto the WeVu platform. UBC’s WeVu platform ensures that your video audition materials can be submitted securely. Composition applicants please note: after sending hard-copy scores to the School of Music, you must also submit corresponding audio/video files of your portfolio online through WeVu. 

The audition/portfolio submission deadline is Jan. 3 for most programs, but the deadline for applicants to the Conducting program is Dec. 15th  for submission of the pre-screening video. Extensions are sometimes possible. Upload instructions will be sent to Composition and video-audition performance applicants between Dec. 1 and Dec. 10.  If you run into any technical issues when submitting, please contact me directly.

Thanks and good luck! 

Updated from a blog post originally dated Nov. 28, 2017.


How do I choose an undergrad program?

By Katherine Evans, Admissions Manager

Thinking about applying to an undergraduate degree program at the School of Music? The School of Music offers coursework that can be studied in two different degree programs: the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts with a major in Music.

If you are committed to studying music as your major, you can choose both of these options on the UBC application. If one of your choices is going to be a different degree option like Science or Commerce, then you will really need to know which music option is right for you. It’s great to read through these options now, because after the UBC application deadline — January 15th you can’t change your degree choices on the UBC application.

Important clarification: degree versus major

Each degree program that you choose on the UBC general application has a separate admissions process.

  • Choose “BMUS” to apply to the Bachelor of Music (BMUS) degree and then, using the BMUS Supplementary Application, apply to one of the majors within the BMUS degree. Advanced Performance (i.e Opera Performance or Orchestral Instrument Performance) Composition, Music Scholarship, and General Studies - with a concentration on your audition instrument - are all majors within the BMUS degree. 

  • Choose “BA” to apply to the  Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree — as part of which you can declare a Music major.

Every applicant is different!

 Each of you has a unique background and combination of interests and will have to consider carefully the degree that is right for you.  Below are a couple of basic scenarios that Music admissions sees a lot — but feel free to contact me (Katherine) or our music advisor, Robert Ablenas, to discuss your options.  

I want to study my instrument/voice with a private teacher during my degree

The BMUS is the primary music degree offered at UBC. Applicants who are interested in music performance – Advanced Performance, Composition, General Studies with a major in an instrument or voice - and have a primary interest in Western classical music should choose the Bachelor of Music (BMUS) as one of their two options on the UBC application in order to pursue these goals.

I want to take lots of music courses at UBC, but I don’t have Western classical instrument/voice training

This is true of many applicants who have extensive experience working in other genres of music, creating computer and electronic music, or working with music technology. In this case, the Bachelor of Arts program may be right for you.  You can apply to the program without an audition component. As part of the BA you can enrol in a broad range of theory, history, and some composition courses, consider the Applied Music Technology minor, and explore other subjects in the liberal arts.

I like playing my instrument and being involved in music, but I’m not sure/I don’t want to make it the focus of my university career.

Stay involved in Music at an advanced level by participating in the School of Music large ensembles! In whatever field you choose, you are welcome to audition for ensembles and enrol in them for credit, dependent on the requirements of your academic program. Auditions are held in the first week of school in September.  Take a look!

I want to major in music and take private lessons on my instrument, but I have a strong interest in another subject too.

Good news! The B.Mus. degree is really flexible in this way. If you are a B.Mus. student, you can choose to double-major with any other field in the Faculty of Arts (except a few, small specialty programs) without any additional application. Have a look through all the available majors!  

If you have a very strong interest in Science and Music.

Consider our dual B.Sc. + B.Mus degree program! Please note that this is a dual degree with the Bachelor of Science degree program only. There is no dual degree program between Music and the Bachelor of Applied Science (BASC).  

If you are interested in Computer Science, you might also consider a Bachelor of Music degree with a double-major in Computer Science within the Faculty of Arts.