Admissions

All applicants to UBC School of Music programs must successfully meet the admission requirements of the University of British Columbia. In addition, applicants to the Bachelor of Music must also meet the requirements of the School of Music.

Apply to the Bachelor of Music

UBC application deadline: January 15

Application deadline for major entrance scholarships: December 1 (Canadian & International applicants)

Application deadline for the 2022W KMILOT Award: March 23, 2022 (International applicants only)

Before applying to UBC School of Music, you must apply to the University of British Columbia. First, complete the online UBC application form and submit any required materials listed in the application instructions. Need help? Please watch/read the application tutorial.

Other useful information

To complete an application to the BMUS, applicants must complete and pay for the BMUS Supplementary Application and ask two references to submit a form and letter on their behalf.

BMUS supplementary application deadline: January 31

Preparing to fill out the form

Please have the following information and documents ready:

  • Your planned audition format (in-person/video)
  • Audition instrument(s)/voice part
  • Proposed audition repertoire (see audition details below)
  • Major(s) for which you are applying
  • Short essay (500 words) about your musical experience, interests, and future goals
  • Scan your most recent transcript.
    • Please note: This transcript is used only for the School of Music faculty and does not replace any documents requested by UBC Admissions for formal evaluation of admissibility. (There is an option on the form for applicants who do not have access to recent report cards or transcripts).

Submission of the supplementary application form requires a separate fee. Please refer to your UBC SSC portal for payment instructions.

Letters of reference

Letter of reference deadline: February 20

Applicants must send the link of the reference form to two references. Your references must submit the form and accompanying letter of reference. Reference information is confidential, and the applicant cannot fill out the form.

References are often an applicant's private studio teacher and ensemble music teacher. Still, any references who can speak to the applicant's musical abilities and/or work ethic, curiosity, and recent accomplishments in any field are allowed.

Late references are accepted but are not guaranteed to be considered.

All applicants to the BMUS program are required to complete an audition.

UBC plans to host in-person auditions as usual. Applicants may select either an in-person audition or a video audition.

In-person audition dates: March 4-5 & March 11-12, 2023

Video materials submission deadline: March 1

See below audition instructions.

Scholarships and awards

Deadline: Varies by award | most are December 1

Several scholarships and bursaries are available for incoming Canadian and international undergraduate students. For a comprehensive list, visit our undergraduate funding page.

Financial aid

Deadline: Students are encouraged to apply for financial aid (if applicable) as soon as possible. Bursary dates vary.

Canadian and US students are eligible for financial assistance in the form of student loans, need-based bursaries, and emergency funding.

Please note: UBC's policy on financial support declares that no eligible Canadian student will be prevented from attending the university for economic reasons alone.

Deadline: May 1

We recommend submitting your housing application along with your UBC application.

To apply for on-campus housing, visit UBC Student Housing, where you can take a virtual tour of the residences and submit your application. We recommend choosing Place Vanier as your first choice because it's very close to the School of Music building and has at least four 24-hour practice rooms.

Note: Students with a disability or ongoing medical condition are eligible for priority access to on-campus housing.

If you're interested in renting accommodation outside the university, check out UBC's guide to off-campus housing.


Enroll in a BA in music honours, major or minor

To enrol in any honours, major or minor within the UBC BA degree, students must meet the academic admission requirements of the Faculty of Arts. Minors are declared at the end of the second year, although coursework usually commences in the first year.

There are no performance requirements for entrance into the honours, major or minor in music. Entry to the minor in music is through the course Music 100: Principles of Musical Form.

Students who are not in the BMus program cannot register themselves for this course. But they may receive permission to take it by passing the Music 100 Placement Test. The test evaluates the depth and fluency of students' knowledge of the rudiments of Western music, including scales, intervals, triads, seventh chords, rhythmic values, and time signatures.

Explanations of the topics found on the placement test, along with drills for daily practice, can be found on the following free websites: teoria.com and musictheory.net. Students who have recently completed Royal Conservatory of Music Advanced Rudiments (or the equivalent) with high standing should be well prepared for this test.

The test will be given on the first Wednesday morning of classes in September.

Students who pass will be registered in the lecture and in a tutorial.

As a backup in case you do not pass, we suggest that you register for another course, which you can drop if you do pass.


Auditions

Students applying to the undergraduate Bachelor of Music programs at the School of Music must audition as part of the application process. Once you have submitted your UBC and BMus applications, you will receive an email from the School of Music inviting you to audition at a specific date and time.

Brass and percussion

For both performance and general studies majors:

Bass trombone

Print out the trombone audition pieces which must be performed for your bass trombone audition along with a piece of your choice.

  • For second-year transfer applicants, your piece of choice must be one work of a substantial nature.
  • For third-year transfer applicants, your piece(s) of choice must be two contrasting works or movements.

French Horn

Euphonium

Print out the trombone audition pieces (below) which must be performed for your euphonium audition along with a euphonium piece of your choice.

  • For second-year transfer applicants, your piece of choice must be one work of a substantial nature.
  • For third-year transfer applicants, your piece(s) of choice must be two contrasting works or movements.

Trombone

Print out the trombone audition pieces which must be performed for your Trombone audition along with a piece of your choice.

  • For second-year transfer applicants, your piece of choice must be one work of a substantial nature.
  • For third-year transfer applicants, your piece(s) of choice must be two contrasting works or movements.

Tombone audition pieces

Trumpet

Print out and perform the trumpet audition pieces for both performance and general studies majors.

Tuba

Print out the tuba audition pieces which must be performed for your tuba audition along with a piece of your choice.

  • For second-year transfer applicants, your piece of choice must be one work of a substantial nature.
  • For third-year transfer applicants, your piece(s) of choice must be two contrasting works or movements.

For both performance and general studies majors:

  • All applicants will be expected to play mallets, timpani, and snare drum for this audition.
  • Any applicants having advanced playing skills in world percussion instruments or drums set are encouraged to demonstrate these skills as an additional part of their audition. However, any applicant choosing to do so must inform the School of Music so that we may adjust your audition time to accommodate the extra material being presented.

First-year

  • Print out the first-year audition pieces which you must perform for your percussion audition.
  • You need only play up to letter B for the Bach, but you are welcome to play the entire movement if you choose.
  • In addition, one work of a substantial nature of the player’s choice may be added if desired.
  • Please bring one copy of your added piece(s) for the committee. You can play these works with or without accompaniment.
  • The audition will include sight-reading and testing basic techniques such as rolls, rudiments, scales, etc.

Second-year

  • Print out the second-year audition pieces which you must perform for your percussion audition.
  • In addition, applicants should prepare one or two other works to represent their current level of performance.
  • Please bring one copy of your added piece(s) for the committee. You can play these works with or without accompaniment.
  • The audition will include sight-reading and testing basic techniques such as rolls, rudiments, scales, etc.
  • Note: you must contact Vern Griffiths, percussion instructor, at vern.griffiths@ubc.ca to discuss and receive approval of appropriate audition material.

Third-year

  • Print out the third-year audition pieces which you must perform for your percussion audition.
  • In addition, applicants should prepare two other works to represent their current level of performance.
  • Please bring one copy of your added piece(s) for the committee. You can play these works with or without accompaniment.
  • The audition will include sight-reading and testing basic techniques such as rolls, rudiments, scales, etc.
  • Note: you must contact Vern Griffiths, percussion instructor, at vern.griffiths@ubc.ca to discuss and receive approval of appropriate audition material.

Composition

If you are applying for enrolment in the composition major, you must enter with proficiency on at least one instrument.

Audition requirements for the composition major are the same as those for the general studies concentration on all instruments except piano, where we will give a somewhat lower level (about RCM Grade 8 for 1st year) consideration if the applicant is especially strong creatively.

Deadline: March 1

If you have chosen the composition major (regardless of whether it is your first or second choice), you must upload three to six original scores to the School of Music and corresponding audio recordings to our software system.

PDF scores and the corresponding audio/video recordings of your scores need to be uploaded to UBC's CLAS software by March 1, 2022. Once the supplementary application deadline (January 31) has passed, applicants who have chosen composition as their intended major will receive instructions on uploading their audio recordings. Contact Katherine Evans with any questions.

Printed scores can be mailed or hand-delivered to the School of Music office. Please address the envelope to Katherine and include your full name and UBC student number. Confirm your application or intent to apply with an email to Katherine.

Transfer to the composition major for UBC BMUS students

UBC BMUS students currently in other majors can apply to transfer into the composition major by submitting only the written portfolio and corresponding audio by the deadline above.

Keyboard

Performance major

  • All students applying for enrolment as a performance major must prepare a memorized program of advanced repertoire, which includes a complete (all movements) classical sonata, a virtuoso etude of any period, and at least one other contrasting work. Concerti are not permissible.
  • All auditions will include sight-reading. The auditioning committee may request the technique (scales, chords, and/or arpeggios).
  • No repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

General studies major

  • First- and second-year: Students applying for the piano concentration in general studies (including the Education streams) must prepare two contrasting works at a minimum level of Grade 10 RCM or equivalency; memorization is strongly suggested.
  • Third-year: Students applying for the piano concentration in general studies (including the Education streams) must prepare two contrasting works at a minimum level of the Associate Diploma (ARCT) of the RCM or equivalency; memorization is strongly suggested.
    • Please note that a sonata movement counts as one work and that concerti are not permissible.
  • All auditions will include sight-reading. In addition, the technique (scales, chords, and/or arpeggios) may be requested by the auditioning committee.
  • No repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Performance major

  • All students applying for enrolment as a performance major must prepare at least three contrasting works from different major periods.
  • All auditions will include sight-reading. The technique (scales, chords, and/or arpeggios) may be requested by the auditioning committee.
  • No repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

General studies major

  • First- and second-year: Students applying for the organ concentration in general studies (including the Education streams) must prepare two contrasting works at a minimum level of Grade 10 RCM or equivalency.
  • Third-year: as above at a level of the Associate Diploma (ARCT) of the RCM or equivalency.
  • All auditions will include sight-reading. The technique (scales, chords, and/or arpeggios) may be requested by the auditioning committee.
  • No repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

For both performance and general studies majors:

  • Students should have reached a level of performance on any keyboard instrument equivalent to the requirements for piano or organ (see above). For specific repertoire requirements for auditioning on harpsichord, please contact the School of Music.
  • All auditions will include sight-reading. The technique (scales, chords, and/or arpeggios) may be requested by the auditioning committee.
  • No repertoire for the current audition may have been performed for any previous audition at UBC.

Opera

For both performance and general studies majors

There is no specific grade level required. Students should be prepared to sing five or six pieces from the standard concert repertoire and may include traditional folk songs if desired. 

An ability to perform in a language other than English is an advantage but not a requirement for 1st year. 

A pianist is provided for in-person auditions. A pianist is highly recommended for video auditions. If this presents a hardship, please get in touch with Katherine Evans.

There is no specific grade level required. Students should be prepared to sing five or six pieces from the standard concert repertoire and may include traditional folk songs if desired.

Those students transferring from a college into 3rd year should display familiarity with languages and show some degree of technical proficiency as demonstrated by selecting appropriate repertoire.

A pianist is provided for in-person auditions. A pianist is highly recommended for video auditions. If this presents a hardship, please contact Katherine Evans.

Strings

Performance major

First- and second-year
  • For applicants wishing to enter the orchestral instrument major, a Grade 10 RCM level is required.
  • Applicants will be asked to play two pieces: a movement from a concerto (of the applicant’s choice) and a movement from a solo sonata, partita, or suite by J.S. Bach*.
  • All students will be asked to play some scales.
  • Students should prepare at least one major, harmonic or melodic scale in 3 octaves, with accompanying arpeggio.
  • The selections may be played with or without accompaniment. No sight-reading requirement.
Third-year
  • Transfer applicants must demonstrate competence on their instrument appropriate to the performance major and must be prepared to play a 30-minute audition of contrasting works.
  • All students will be asked to play some scales.
  • Students should prepare at least one major, harmonic or melodic scale in 3 octaves, with accompanying arpeggio.
  • The selections may be played with or without accompaniment. No sight-reading requirement.
Harp and double bass applicants
  • Bach is not required.
  • Instead, please prepare two contrasting pieces that demonstrate your musical skills. A movement of a concerto is preferred.
Harp applicants
  • No accompaniment is expected.
  • The scale prepared should be C major, three octaves, followed by a single-line arpeggio of four octaves, beginning and ending on C.

General studies major

First- and second-year
  • For general studies majors, a Grade 6 RCM level or better is required (except cello, for which a Grade 10 RCM level or better is required).
  • Applicants will be asked to play two pieces: a movement from a concerto and a movement from a solo sonata, partita, or suite by J.S. Bach*.
  • All students will be asked to play some scales. Students should prepare at least one major, harmonic or melodic scale in 3 octaves, with accompanying arpeggio.
  • The selections may be played with or without accompaniment.
Third-year
  • Transfer applicants must demonstrate competence on their instrument appropriate to the 3rd year level of the general studies program.
  • All students will be asked to play some scales.
  • Students should prepare at least one major, harmonic or melodic scale in 3 octaves, with accompanying arpeggio.
  • The selections may be played with or without accompaniment.
Harp and double bass applicants
  • Bach is not required.
  • Instead, please prepare two contrasting pieces that demonstrate your musical skills. A movement of a concerto is preferred.
Harp applicants
  • No accompaniment is expected.
  • The scale prepared should be C major, three octaves, followed by a single-line arpeggio of four octaves, beginning and ending on C.

Performance major

First-year
  • A 30-minute program including two studies of an RCM Grade 8-9 level is required.
  • Knowledge of all major, harmonic and melodic minor scale patterns is expected.
  • At the audition, your program is reviewed and select pieces are performed.
Second-year
  • A 30-minute program including two studies of an RCM Grade 8-9 level is required.
  • Knowledge of all major, harmonic and melodic minor scale patterns is expected.
  • At the audition, your program is reviewed and select pieces are performed.
Third-year
  • Performance majors should have the equivalent of a 2nd year UBC jury program (i.e. a 50-minute program with at least one major work and two advanced studies).
  • At the audition, your program is reviewed and select pieces are performed.

General studies major

First-year
  • Applicants for the concentration in general studies (including the Education streams) should prepare two pieces and two studies of a Grade 6 RCM level.
Second-year
  • Applicants for the concentration in general studies (including the Education streams) should prepare two pieces and two studies of a Grade 6 RCM level.
Third-year

General studies students should prepare a 30-minute program including two studies of a Grade 7-9 RCM level. At the audition, your program is reviewed and select pieces are performed.

Woodwinds

For both performance and general studies majors

Music scholarship

To gain admission into the third year of the music scholarship program, you must enter with proficiency on at least one instrument; requirements are the same as those for the third year of the general studies major.

Normally an applicant will not be admitted without at least an overall 80% average in the first- and second-year core courses in music theory and history, at least a 75% average in first-year English.

Students applying to transfer into the third year of the music scholarship major must also:

  1. Submit original research papers on historical or analytical topics to the School of Music. One paper is sufficient, but two (good papers) give a better idea of your range of skills, especially if one paper is a history essay and the other a musical analysis.
  2. Include an explanation of interest in the music scholarship specialization when completing the "short essay" question on the BMUS Supplementary Application.


Dual Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science

Potential BMus students interested in the dual degree program must consult both a senior advisor in the School of Music and the Science Information & Advising Centre at the time of application to UBC.

Potential BMus students interested in the dual degree program must have, on their UBC Admissions application (e-mail), the BSc as their first degree choice and the BMus as their second choice. Also, both the BSc supplementary application and BMus supplementary application must be completed.

Applications to the dual degree program are accepted only after a student has reached second-year standing. If an incoming student interested in the dual degree program is admitted to both the BSc and BMus.programs, they should accept admission to the BSc, only, but inform the School of Music of their intent to apply for the dual degree program once they have reached second-year standing.

Acceptance into the program will be based on the following:

  1. The recommendation from the School of Music.
  2. A review of the applicant’s transcript to determine that both the prerequisite studies and competitive admission standards of the Faculty of Science have been met.
  3. A review of a statement of academic purpose.

Registered first- or second-year BMus students may also apply to the dual degree program must meet the current admission requirements of the Faculty of Science and must have met the academic standing requirements of the program while at UBC (see below).

Admission to specializations within science and music may be competitive, and admission to the dual degree program does not imply future admission to particular specializations.

Admission at any time is conditional; maintenance of good academic standing and at least a B- (68%) average in each term are required throughout the program. Students must satisfy all of the degree and program requirements for both the major in the Bachelor of Music and the major in the Bachelor of Science.

Individual courses may be considered to satisfy requirements for both degrees; MUSC courses may satisfy the Arts and Breadth requirements for the BSc major program.

MUSC courses numbered below 300 may not count toward the upper-level credit requirement for the BSc program. Students should endeavour to satisfy lower-level course prerequisites for both programs in their first two years.

Students must communicate with both an advisor in the School of Music (Amy Farahbakhsh: 604-827-5502; music.advisor@ubc.ca) and one in the science advising office prior to enrolling in their first year of courses and at least annually thereafter.


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