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.