Entrance Placement Exams

Students in most graduate programs must sit an entrance placement exam. Exams are normally held the week before classes begin.

If you are not able to be on-campus in time to write the exams, you must immediately contact the noted exam proctor (see Exam Guidlines, below) to see if it is possible to sit the exam at a later date. Note that certain undergraduate degrees and training may exempt you from taking the exams.

M.A./Ph.D Exams

Students admitted to graduate programs may be required to take the School of Music placement examinations to determine possible deficiencies in theory and/or history and/or piano performance. These exams are administered just before the start of the fall term.

  • M.A. in Historical Musicology: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • M.A. in Music Theory: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • M.A. in Ethnomusicology: Entrance examinations are not required; click here for instructions regarding the transcription exercise accompanying the application.
  • Ph.D in Historical Musicology: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • Ph.D in Music Theory: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • Ph.D in Ethnomusicology: Entrance examinations are not required; click here for instructions regarding the transcription exercise accompanying the application.

M.Mus/D.M.A. Exams

  • M.Mus in Choral Conducting: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • M.Mus in Composition: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • M.Mus in Guitar Performance: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • M.Mus in Opera Performance: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • M.Mus in Orchestral Instrument Performance: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • M.Mus in Organ Performance: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • M.Mus in Piano or Harpsichord Performance: None.
  • M.Mus in Voice Performance: Must complete piano entrance exam.
  • D.M.A. in Composition: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • D.M.A. in Orchestral Instrument Performance: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.
  • D.M.A. in Piano Performance: Must complete history and theory entrance exams.
  • D.M.A.in Voice Performance: Must complete history, theory and piano entrance exams.

Exam Guidelines

  • History — proctored by Dr. Fisher.
  • Theory — proctored by Dr. Roeder.
  • Piano — proctored by Dr. Dawson. Graduate students whose major instrument during the undergraduate degree was not a keyboard instrument must pass the Graduate Keyboard Proficiency Exam within the first year of their course of study. Any portion of the examination may be taken more than once, if necessary, during the first year of residency. If you hold a Royal Conservatory, Conservatory Canada or an equivalent examining board certificate of GRADE VI or higher — achieved within the past four years — you are exempt from this exam (proof is required).

Exam Times

The three exams are usually held on the Thursday, and Friday immediately preceding Labour Day (the first Monday in September). Classes at UBC start the day after Labour Day. If you are not able to be on-campus at this time, please contact the relevant proctor(s) as noted above. Here are the dates and times for the UBC School of Music 2016W entrance exams:

  • Music History Friday, September 2, 2016, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., MUSC Building Rm. 116
  • Piano  Sign-up for a time on either Thursday, September 1, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or Friday, September 2, 2016 from 9:00 to 1:00 p.m. Sign-up via e-mail to a Music Advisor. The Piano Exam is held in Rm. 305 of the MUSC Building.
  • Music Theory Thursday, September 1, 2016 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., MUSC Building Rm. 113

Exemptions

If you have obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from the UBC School of Music within the last three years, you are exempt from all entrance exams.

If your undergraduate degree has a major or concentration in a keyboard instrument and the degree program you are entering at the UBC School of Music requires you to take the piano entrance exam, you are exempt from it.

What if I don't pass the exam(s)?

Please note that completion of any remedial requirements specified as a result of entrance exams is a prerequisite for graduation, and, in the case of doctoral programs, is a prerequisite for advancement to doctoral candidacy.

Banner image by Martin Dee / UBC Communications & Marketing / UBC CM Flickr