Admissions

Applicants to UBC School of Music graduate degree programs must successfully meet the admission requirements of both UBC’s Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) and the School of Music.

How to apply

To apply to UBC School of Music's graduate programs, you must apply to UBC via the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Complete the online application form and make sure to confirm any additional audition and application requirements for the program you're applying to.

Music graduate degrees have detailed application and audition requirements. A degree-by-degree breakdown is available below.

If you're applying to a performance program, you must audition as part of your application. Please check below for degree-specific audition and document requirements, which may include a pre-screening deadline and instrument-specific video recording requirements.

Applicants may choose an in-person audition or a video upload. You can select this choice on the application.

In-person auditions

January 14-15, 2023

Applicants will be contacted by graduate program staff in mid-December with the date and time of their audition. Please do not make travel arrangements until you have been given a confirmed audition date and time. Applicants who choose an in-person audition must comply with UBC’s COVID-19 protocols at the time of audition.

Video audition

Deadline: December 10, 2022

Instructions for uploading audition materials into UBC’s video audition software (CLAS) will be emailed to those who select the video audition option on the application form. If you have selected this option but have not received upload instructions by December 10, please email admissions staff at music.gradadmissions@ubc.ca.

Video audition guidelines:

  • If you choose to submit a video audition, faculty may request the opportunity for a live video interview and/or further audition materials at their discretion.
  • You may submit high-quality video recordings of your audition selections, preferably recorded by a professional technician.
  • The recording of each individual selection (piece, multi-movement work, or song) must be an unedited performance that has been recorded within the past 6 months.
  • Each recorded selection must not be edited or manipulated in any way, and you must submit a statement certifying the integrity of each recording.

Collaborative pianist

A pianist is not required for any except voice auditions. A collaborative pianist is scheduled for all voice auditions at no charge, although voice and opera applicants may also bring a pianist of their choice to the audition. Please contact music.gradadmissions@ubc.ca with any questions.

There are a number of scholarships and awards available for incoming graduate students.

After finishing your application you will receive an email with your individual audition date and time. Audition dates are in January, and most applicants receive their individual audition dates and times by mid-December. Be sure to check your email regularly, as we'll be in touch about any additional application materials and next steps.

Final results for the audition and UBC application are usually available in early March.


Application requirements by program

When applying to do graduate work at UBC School of Music, you must meet the requirements of the specific program you are applying to, as outlined below.

Master of Music

Conducting choral emphasis contact: Graeme Langager | 604-822-6792

Conducting orchestral emphasis contact: Jonathan Girard | 604-827-5307

Conducting wind emphasis contact: Rob Taylor | 604-822-5474

Deadline December 15: Pre-screening video

Following a successful pre-screening video, applicants may be invited for a live audition in Vancouver. These applicants will receive further instructions regarding their live audition, including repertoire, schedule, and other required information.

Contact: Keith Hamel | 604-822-6308

Deadline: January 3

  • Submit scores (PDF format) and corresponding audio and/or video of these works of at least four (4) works of varied media.
  • Instructions on submitting your portfolio are detailed in the application itself. If you need assistance with this step, please email the School of Music staff at music.gradadmissions@ubc.ca.

Contact: Jasper Wood | 604-827-5628

As part of the application, you will be required to submit a:

  • Repertoire list
  • Selected audition repertoire list
  • Selection of programmes from past concerts and recitals given

Audition requirements

Three contrasting pieces from different periods of the repertoire.

Contact: Alexander Weimann

As part of the application you will be required to submit a:

  • Resume
  • Full repertoire list
  • Audition repertoire list
  • Selection of programmes from recitals given
  • Statement of intent

Audition requirements

The following list of audition repertoire is requested. Please note that no repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

  • One major work by J. S. Bach
  • Two smaller pieces from any two of the following: English Virginalists, Italian Seicento, French Clavicenists
  • One work from the post-Baroque or Rococo era (approx. 1750-1800)

Contact: Nancy Hermiston | 604-822-8246

As part of the application you will be required to submit a:

  • Statement of intent
  • Repertoire list
  • Selection of programs from other recitals given

Applicants who audition via video may be requested to participate in a live remote interview with faculty.

Audition requirements

Five pieces are required: 3 arias plus Lieder/Art Song/Oratorio.

Contact for strings: Jasper Wood | 604-827-5628

Contact for winds, brass or percussion: Rob Taylor | 604-827-5474

As part of the application you will be required to submit a:

  • Repertoire list
  • Selection of programs from other recitals given
  • Written statement of intent that outlines your future plans, professional goals, and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC

Strings audition requirements

Winds, brass, percussion audition requirements

All instruments except those listed below should prepare three contrasting pieces from different periods of the repertoire.

Pianist for auditions

It is strongly recommended but not required for applicants to the MMus in Orchestral Instrument Performance to audition with a collaborative pianist. The School of Music will supply a pianist for in-person vocal auditions only.

Contacts: Mark Anderson and Michael Dirk | 604-827-2532

As part of the application, you must submit a:

  • Comprehensive repertoire list of works studied during the student's undergraduate degree or both undergraduate and master's degrees. Works performed publicly must be indicated by an asterisk (*).
  • Written statement of intent that outlines your future plans, professional goals, and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC.

Audition requirements

Three contrasting pieces from different periods of the repertoire.

Please note that no repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Contact: Mark Anderson | 604-827-2532

Pre-screening (video only)

Submit a high-quality audio/video recording of at least 10 minutes in length. Repertoire must include a virtuosic study and can include parts of longer works (e.g. one movement of a multi-movement sonata) and must have been recorded within the past year. Works from the pre-screening video may be performed in the live audition.

Deadline for pre-screening videos for both MMus and DMA is Dec. 10.

Live audition requirements

  • Applicants must prepare a substantial recital program that includes:
    • One Prelude & Fugue from J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier
    • One complete classical sonata (includes Schubert)
    • One virtuosic study and
    • One or more contrasting works.
  • Live audition length: 30 minutes, which will include a short interview.

Please note that no repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Video audition requirements

  • Same repertoire requirements as the live audition.
  • Video submissions should be recorded in a single take for the entire audition repertoire.
  • Video submissions that compile performances from a variety of performance instances and venues will not be considered.
  • All submitted videos must have been recorded within the past year.

Please note that no repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Contact: Nancy Hermiston | 604-822-8246

As part of the application, you will be required to submit a:

  • Statement of intent
  • Repertoire list
  • Selection of programs from other recitals given

Applicants who audition via video may be requested to participate in a live remote interview with faculty.

Audition requirements

Five pieces are required: four selections from Lieder/Art Song/Oratorio and one opera aria.

Master of Arts

Contact: Dr. Michael Tenzer | 604-822-3405

  • Submit a maximum of two papers dealing with a topic in music that is representative of work to date.
  • Submit an answer to each of the following questions (max. 300 words per question):
    • What are your strengths as a musician? What would you like to work on?
    • What kinds of musical activities do you especially enjoy and why?
    • Describe two books or articles about music you have particularly learned from or been stimulated by.
    • Name some music you particularly admire and explain why.
    • What draws you to music scholarship?

Applicants selected for our shortlist will be contacted in late December or January by the department and asked to complete a transcription exercise. Normally this is sent out on a Friday and students are given the weekend to complete it. Staff, modified staff, and other notation systems are all acceptable.

Contact: Dr. David Metzer | 604-822-2246

As part of the application, you must submit:

  • A paper, or papers, dealing with some aspect of musicology that is representative of your work to date.
  • A statement of intent where you should outline your areas of interest, current and future research plans, and why you feel that UBC would be a suitable place to pursue your degree program.

Contact: Dr. Leigh VanHandel | 604-822-3715

As part of the application, you must:

  • Submit one or two course projects in music theory, including if possible at least one analysis paper.
  • If you are a composer, please provide the score of a recent composition.
  • Submit a supplementary statement.
    • This should include additional information concerning your graduate course work: course titles that may not be specific on your transcript, major compositions studied in detail, theoretical systems studied, any original works composed, works you have performed, and any other pertinent information (with a listing of principal teachers).
    • Further, describe in the statement any training or experience which you feel might enhance your qualifications for graduate study in music theory but which were not part of the listed course work.
    • Finally, describe your professional goals, explaining your reasons for choosing to carry on graduate work in music theory.

Doctor of Musical Arts

Contact: Keith Hamel | 604-822-6308

Deadline: January 3

As part of the application you must:

  • Submit a brief statement of intent that outlines your professional goals as a composer and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC.
  • Submit a sample of your scholarly writing such as a term paper (not less than ten pages in length).
  • Submit PDF scores of at least five (5) works for varied media and corresponding audio/video of these works.
  • Instructions to submit your portfolio, both PDF and audio/video, are available in the graduate application form. If you need assistance, please contact the School of Music staff.

Contact for strings: Jasper Wood | 604-827-5628

Contact for winds, brass, and percussion: Rob Taylor | 604-827-5474

As part of the application you will be required to:

  • Include a repertoire list and selection of programs from other recitals given.
  • Submit a written statement of intent describing your research interests, future plans, professional goals, and reasons for applying to this program at UBC.
  • Submit a term paper (not less than ten pages in length).

String audition requirements

  • In-person audition
    • 45-60 minutes of music
    • An interview to discuss your research interests
  • Video audition
    • 45 minutes (approx.) of a live and unedited performance recorded within the past 90 days. The music can be recorded in studio but must be done in a single, unedited take.
    • Zoom video interview (to be scheduled by the committee after reviewing the material)

Winds, brass, and percussion audition requirements

Audition requirements for all winds, brass, or percussion instruments except those listed below are three contrasting pieces from different periods of the repertoire.

Pianists for auditions

It is strongly recommended but not required for all applicants to audition with a pianist. The School of Music supplies pianists for vocal auditions only.

Contact: Mark Anderson | 604-822-3587

As part of the application, you must submit a:

  • Comprehensive repertoire list of works studied during the applicant’s MMus degree. Works performed publicly must be indicated by an asterisk (*).
  • Academic research paper (not less than10 pages in length).
  • Written statement of intent that outlines your future plans, professional goals, and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC.

Pre-screening (video only)

  • Submit a high-quality audio/video recording of at least 10 minutes in length.
  • Repertoire must include a virtuoso etude and can include parts of longer works (e.g. one movement of a multi-movement sonata) and must have been recorded within the past year.
  • Works from the pre-screening video may be performed in the live audition.
  • Deadline for pre-screening videos for both MMus and DMA is Dec. 10.

Live audition requirements

  • Applicants must prepare a substantial recital program that includes:
    • A complete classical sonata (includes Schubert)
    • A virtuoso etude and
    • One or more contrasting works.
  • Audition length: 30 minutes, which will include a short interview.
  • Please note that no repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Video audition requirements

  • Video submissions should be recorded in a single take for the entire audition repertoire.
  • Video submissions that compile performances from a variety of performance instances and venues will not be considered.
  • All submitted videos must have been recorded within the past year.

Contact: Nancy Hermiston | 604-822-8246

As part of the application, you will be required to:

  • Include a repertoire list and selection of programs from other recitals given.
  • Submit a written statement of intent that outlines your future plans, professional goals, and your reasons for applying to this program at UBC.
  • Submit a term paper (not less than ten pages in length).

Audition requirements: Five pieces from Lieder/Art Song/Oratorio plus 1 aria.

Please note that applicants for the DMA in Voice cannot be admitted to the program without an in-person audition. Applicants who live at a significant distance from Vancouver can submit a pre-screening video audition by December 15 to determine whether a live audition is recommended by UBC Music faculty. Please notify staff if you would like to take advantage of this option.

Doctor of Philosophy

Contact: Dr. Michael Tenzer | 604-822-3405

  • Submit one or more writing samples that demonstrate substantial prior training in ethnomusicology.
  • Submit a statement of your research interest and approach.
  • Applicants selected for our shortlist will be contacted in late December or January by the department and asked to complete a transcription exercise. Normally this is sent out on a Friday and students are given the weekend to complete it. Staff, modified staff, and other notation systems are all acceptable.

Contact: Dr. David Metzer | 604-822-2246

  • Submit a paper, or papers, dealing with some aspect of musicology that is representative of your work to date.
  • Submit a statement of intent where you outline your areas of interest, current and future research plans, and why you feel that UBC would be a suitable place to pursue your degree program.

Contact: Dr. John Roeder | 604-822-3715

  • Submit one or two course projects in music theory, including if possible at least one analysis paper.
  • If you are a composer, please provide the score of a recent composition.
  • Submit a supplementary statement.
    • This should include additional information concerning your graduate course work: course titles that may not be specific on your transcript, major compositions studied in detail, theoretical systems studied, any original works composed, works you have performed, and any other pertinent information (with a listing of principal teachers).
    • Further, describe in the statement any training or experience which you feel might enhance your qualifications for graduate study in music theory but which were not part of the listed course work.
    • Finally, describe your professional goals, explaining your reasons for choosing to carry on graduate work in music theory.


Entrance placement exams

Once admitted into our graduate programs at the UBC School of Music, you may be required to take entrance placement exams to determine if you have any deficiencies in music theory, music history and/or keyboard skills.

If you are not exempt, and your program of study requires you to take a placement exam, then you must plan to be available to take the exams when they are scheduled.

Please note: completing any remedial requirements specified as a result of entrance exams is a prerequisite for graduation. In the case of doctoral programs, it is a prerequisite for advancement to doctoral candidacy.

Exam schedule

  • Music history entrance exam: TBD
  • Music theory entrance exam: TBD
  • Keyboard proficiency entrance exam: TBD

Exam requirements

 Music history entrance examMusic theory entrance examKeyboard proficiency entrance examTranscription exercise
MA in Historical Musicology-
MA in Music Theory-
MA in Ethnomusicology---
PhD in Historical Musicology-
PhD in Music Theory-
PhD in Ethnomusicology---
MMus in Composition-
MMus in Conducting, Choral Emphasis---
MMus in Conducting, Orchestral Emphasis---
MMus in Conducting, Winds Emphasis---
MMus in Guitar Performance ---
MMus in Opera Performance---
MMus in Orchestral Instrument Performance---
MMus in Organ Performance---
MMus in Piano or Harpsichord Performance----
MMus in Voice Performance---
DMA in Composition-
DMA in Orchestral Instrument Performance-
DMA in Piano Performance--
DMA in Voice Performance-

  • If you have obtained a Bachelor of Music degree from the UBC School of Music within the last three years, you are exempt from taking all graduate entrance placement exams.
  • If your undergraduate degree has a major or concentration in a keyboard instrument, you are exempt from taking the keyboard proficiency graduate entrance exam.
  • 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, then you are exempt from taking the keyboard proficiency graduate entrance placement exam (proof is required).

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