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Bachelor of Music

Why          The Program          Admission Requirements          First Semester

Apply Next Year          Minors          Ensembles          Music Education          Contact   


Music is one of the most important components of modern life, entering our lives in many ways: through the Internet, radio, television, movies, recordings, computer games, even elevators and restaurants. The study of music can be approached in several ways. University courses in music tend to be grouped into three categories: music theory (including composition), musicologies (the history and social life of music), and applied music (performance). Courses in applied music are available only to students in the bachelor of music program, while courses in music theory and musicologies may be taken by students in any program.

Why study music?

Courses in musicologies help students develop an understanding of music from cultural, social and historical perspectives. These courses introduce students to many kinds of music from classical to jazz, popular and world music and help them recognize the features that distinguish different musical styles and periods. They also develop critical thinking and research and writing skills.

Courses in music theory develop an understanding of the language of music, through its notation and structure. In music theory courses, students learn how to read and write music and discover how musical elements such as timbre, melody, rhythm and harmony are put together to make musical compositions. In composition courses, students put those skills to work creatively. Courses in aural skills also develop critical listening and sight-singing skills.

Courses in applied music develop the individual student’s potential for musical expression and performance. These courses develop a student’s technical competence, musical understanding and creativity so that they can prepare their own interpretations of music in a variety of styles.


The bachelor of music (B.Mus.) is a four-year program intended to provide professional training and education in music. In the second year, many students will apply to a major in one of the following areas: performance, composition, musicologies (focusing on music history and culture from classical, world, and popular music traditions), or general musical studies. Students in the general musical studies major have the option of taking a minor in a discipline other than music.

Students planning a career in music education have two possible routes: the comprehensive major and the 5-year conjoint degrees program (bachelor of music and bachelor of music education) which is offered in co-operation with the Faculty of Education. All students who plan to focus on music education must declare the comprehensive major in their second semester. Those opting for the conjoint degrees program will then switch to the conjoint major in their fourth semester.

Admission Requirements

Students are normally admitted to the B.Mus. degree program at the beginning of the fall semester only. Successful applicants may enter the program immediately in their first semester. All applications must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar. The deadline for applications is Jan. 15.

All applicants must satisfy the general admission requirements of the university. In addition, they must demonstrate their musical competence and potential at an audition and through a series of diagnostic tests. Auditions are held in March. Late auditions may be scheduled if spaces are available after the March auditions. Applicants who reside outside of the St. John's metropolitan area may submit an audio or video recording if they are unable to audition in person. It is also possible to audition by videoconference. Detailed information on audition requirements can be found here.

Music courses available in first year

First-Semester Program

Students entering the B.Mus. degree program will normally take the following courses in their first semester:

Course Credit Hours
Music 140A 2
Music 2611 or Music 2612 1
Music 1005 3
Music 1107* 3
Music 1117** 1
Music 1700*** 1
Electives**** (to bring total to 15-17 credit hours)***** 3
English 1080 or a research/writing course (Faculty of Arts) 3


* Prerequisite: Successful completion of the theory placement test. If unsuccessful, students should register for Music 1120 either in the summer session, fall or winter semester. Co-requisite: Music 1117

** Prerequisite: Successful completion of the theory placement and aural skills tests. If unsuccessful, students must enrol in Music 1116. Co-requisite: Music 1107

*** Music technology will give students skills in finale notation software and basic audio recording and editing. Students should be aware that they will be required to take a functional keyboard course in second year. Students who do not pass the piano proficiency entrance diagnostic are expected to take private lessons in piano at their own expense in their first year to qualify for Music 2401.

**** Electives may be chosen from:

  1. a) Music courses, such as Music 2700/2701 (Lyric Diction - required for singers), 2612-2620 (large ensembles other than festival choir), 3500/3511 (chamber music - permission required),
  2. b) Disciplines other than music. Students planning to apply for admission to the conjoint degrees program in music education are encouraged to start taking courses in a second teachable subject as early as possible. For more information, please see the education section of this Guide.

***** Students admitted to the bachelor of music program will be permitted to register for a maximum of 17 credit hours per semester, without requiring written permission of the director.

All interested students are encouraged to apply in Grade 12. However, some students may not feel they are ready to pursue a music degree in their first year of university study and may defer their application. For these students, there are music courses that can provide excellent preparation for the first year of the program. These courses, which are not applicable to the bachelor of music program, cover topics in music history (Music 2011, Music 2012 and Music 2014) and music theory (Music 1116 and Music 1120).

Sample Program - Students Applying Next Year

For students choosing to defer their application, the following sample program is provided for their first year of university:

Course Credit Hours
One of Music 2011, 2012 or 2014 3
Music 1120 3
Music 1116 1
Electives: One of Music 2611 – 2620 and/or courses from disciplines other than music* up to 6
English 1080 3

* Students planning to apply for admission to the conjoint degrees program in music education are encouraged to take at least six credit hours in a second teachable subject. For more information, please see the education section of this Guide.

Minor Programs

Students completing a degree other than music may elect to complete one of the following minor programs offered by the School of Music.

Music History

A minor in music history requires 27 credit hours and is intended to provide a fairly detailed survey of the language and literature of music. It does not include practical training in performance.

Music and Culture

An interdisciplinary program offered jointly between the School of Music and the Department of Folklore, this minor will give students a unique interdisciplinary opportunity to learn about the musical traditions of Newfoundland and Labrador within the wider context of world music traditions.

School of Music Ensembles

All students at Memorial University of Newfoundland are welcome to participate in Festival Choir (Music 2611). In addition, students may audition for membership in the following School of Music ensembles: Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Chamber Choir and Opera Workshop. Auditions are held at the start of the fall and winter semesters. Students admitted to the ensembles may participate on a non-credit basis or they may register for an elective credit. For the audition schedules and for information on registering for ensemble credit, contact the School of Music at: 709 864 7486.

Bachelor of Music Education Conjoint with Bachelor of Music

This is a five-year conjoint degrees program consisting of a bachelor of music and a bachelor of music education offered in co-operation with the Faculty of Education. The program is designed to prepare school music teachers and other professionals for positions related to music education. Those planning to do the conjoint degrees program must first declare the comprehensive major in their second semester and then switch to the conjoint major in their fourth semester. (The comprehensive major provides access to music education-related courses such as instrumental techniques that students need in order to qualify for the conjoint major.)

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission, students must have successfully completed a minimum of 45 credit hours with either a cumulative average of at least 65 per cent or an average of at least 65 per cent on their last attempted 30 credit hours.

Completed courses must include:

  • six credit hours in English and/or research/writing courses (Faculty of Arts)
  • at least three credit hours from the following: Music 3221, 3222, 3231, 3232, 3233, 3241, 3242, 3261, 3281, 3282
  • at least 12 credit hours in music in addition to the three credit hours above.

Applications for admission are considered once a year normally in the fall semester. Deadline for submission of applications is Jan. 15. Consideration will be given to the winter semester courses for which students are registered at the time of application. Applications for admission refer to the education component of the conjoint degree program only. At the time of application, students must have been formally admitted to, and be in clear standing with, the School of Music.

For appropriate first semester courses please refer to the First Semester Program, page 39 for students entering the B. Mus. degree program.

Note: The bachelor of music education is also available as a second degree following completion of the bachelor of music degree. Those students who plan to complete the bachelor of music and then apply to the bachelor of music education as a second degree program will be well prepared by taking the comprehensive major in their bachelor of music degree.

Contact information

For additional information please contact:

Dr. Ellen Waterman