Bachelor of Music

The Faculty of Music offers two undergraduate degrees: the Bachelor of Music (Mus.Bac.) and the Bachelor of Music in Performance (Mus.Bac.Perf.); both require  the completion of 20.0 credits. Students admitted to the Bachelor of Music in Performance (Classical or Jazz) begin their specialization in first year. Students admitted into the Bachelor of Music studying in the jazz idiom, begin their specialization in the first year; however, those admitted into the Bachelor of Music in the classical idiom, with the exception of those admitted into Music Education and Composition, enter a Common Year during which they embark on their core requirements and explore options to help determine a specialization in History, Culture & Theory or Comprehensive Studies.   Students intending to pursue Music Education (Classical) or Composition also have the option of beginning their specialization in Year 2, after completing the Common Year.


  • Composition
  • Comprehensive Studies (Classical or Jazz)
  • History, Culture & Theory
  • Music Education (Classical or Jazz)

The Curriculum

All students must complete a set of core requirements (Basic Music courses) comprising courses drawn from history & culture, theory, and performance. This constitutes a prescribed educational foundation that all students are required to have in common.

The History & Culture core introduces the concept of music from global as well as Western art music perspectives. Introduction to Music & Society (HMU111H1) locates music as a social phenomenon and explores its contexts and meanings throughout the world. The two Historical Survey courses (HMU126H1 and HMU225H1) trace the evolution of Western music from the Medieval period to the present: examples representing various repertoires and styles are given, but the emphasis in these courses is placed just as much on the research techniques and critical writing skills needed to explore the repertoire as a whole and communicate ideas about it effectively. Lastly, students must choose one HMU elective of their choice to complete this portion of the core requirement. Students in the Jazz programs complete the first two courses in the History & Culture core (HMU111H1 & HMU126H1) and then take two courses in Jazz History (JMU210H1 and JMU215H1).

The Theory core comprises a sequence of courses (TMU105/107Y1, TMU130H1, TMU131H1, TMU132H1, TMU133H1, TMU230H1, TMU231H1 and TMU232H1) that develop students’ understanding of melody, rhythm, harmony, and form through analysis and the development of aural skills. Courses chart the language of the Common Practice Period and trace its evolution: from simple diatonic harmony through chromatic harmony and on to twentieth-century works displaying atonality and serialism. Students in the Jazz programs complete a comparable comprehensive study of melody and harmony as it applies to jazz composition, arranging, and improvisation (JMU100Y1, JMU101Y1, JMU104Y1, JMU191Y1*, JMU200Y1, JMU201Y1 and JMU291Y1*; * = not required for those specializing in Jazz Education or Jazz Comprehensive).

The Performance core requires participation in major vocal or instrumental ensembles and individual vocal or instrumental instruction. While the performance core varies between programs, the underlying philosophy is to enhance the growth of the student both musically and technically with extensive exposure to both solo and ensemble repertoire.

Basic Music courses (printed in Bold in the program-specific charts) are required and are taken in the year specified. They cannot be dropped.  Students who fail a Basic Music course are required to enroll in that course the next academic session in which they register. Failure to do so will result in a zero for the course. The Basic Music courses are followed by courses that are required for the specific program.  In addition to these, all programs require the completion of a specific number of Music Electives and Breadth Electives.  Music Elective is any Faculty of Music course (excluding Basic Music Courses) that is not required for the specific program.  A minimum of 4.0 credits in Breadth Electives must be completed, with the exception of the History, Culture & Theory specialization that requires 5.0 credits and the Comprehensive Studies program that permits up to 8.0 credits. Within the Breadth Electives, a required minimum of 3.0 credits must be from courses in the Faculty of Arts & Science, with the exception of the specialization in History, Culture & Theory, which requires at least 4.0 credits. Students are free to choose from any of the courses in the Arts & Science Calendar, provided prerequisites and corequisites are met.  Faculty of Music students are not permitted to take courses with the MUS prefix. 1.0 credit of the Breadth Electives may be from the prescribed list of academic Music courses, which are listed at the bottom of this page. The Breadth Elective requirement does not apply to the Artist Diploma programs. Within the 20.0 credit requirement, students are also required to complete 0.5 credits of a Genre/Style requirement from a prescribed list of courses.

The requirements for each specialization are indicated in the appropriate chart. It is recommended that students enroll in the appropriate courses indicated in the chart corresponding to their program and year of study.  While a certain degree of flexibility is possible, students are encouraged to plan their proposed course loads in advance, in order to ensure successful completion of the program in the prescribed number of years.  Note that prerequisites for courses may not be listed in the chart, but these must be taken.  Students are responsible for fulfilling prerequisites; students enrolled in courses for which they do not have the published prerequisites may have their registration in those courses cancelled at any time without warning.  Transferring to another option within the same genre (Classical or Jazz) is possible later than the end of Year 1, but the time required to complete the degree may be extended.

Students in the Common Year are urged to choose courses from their intended program of study to complement the first year core courses. These courses will be credited towards the program requirements should they continue in that specialization or will count as music electives should they choose another specialization.

Minor Programs within the Faculty of Music

Currently there are Minor programs offered in History and Culture, Composition, and Historical Keyboard. The course requirements for each of these programs are printed below the table corresponding to the specialization in that area. Students are not required to complete a Minor towards the degree/diploma. However, for those who choose to do so, the Minor will substitute for the Music Electives required for their program.

Certificates within the Faculty of Music

Certificates are a sequence of Music courses within specified areas outside of existing Music Programs and Specializations. Completion of the prescribed courses within one or more areas is acknowledged on the transcript.  Certificates are offered in conjunction with a degree. Currently there are Certificates offered in Health Applications in Music, Music Technology, Popular Music Studies and Ethnomusicology and Piano Pedagogy. The course requirements for each of the Certificates are listed on the "Certificates" section of the Academic Calendar. Courses completed as part of the Music Elective requirement can be counted towards Certificate requirements. In some cases, additional courses beyond the Music Elective requirement must be fulfilled to complete Certificate requirements.

Students who may have completed the requirements of a Certificate must notify the Registrar’s Office by submitting the Declaration of Completion of a Certificate form. This must be done after the last date to drop courses in the winter term of their final year of study, and before the end of term. Successful completion of the Certificate(s) will result in an annotation on the academic transcript.

Major/Minor Certification from the Faculty of Arts & Science

Students graduating with a Music degree may be eligible to receive acknowledgment of an Arts & Science Minor or Major upon completion of the appropriate courses with the minimum required grades within the specific discipline. The specific course requirements for the Minor or Major programs may be found in the Arts &  Science Calendar, by discipline.

Students who may have completed the requirements of a Minor or Major must notify the Registrar’s Office of the Faculty of Music, by submitting the Declaration of Completion of a Minor or Major form. This must be done after the last date to drop courses in the winter term of their final year of study, and before the end of term. Successful completion of the Minor or Major will result in an annotation on the academic transcript.

The students of the Faculty of Music do not receive priority in enrolling in courses of the Faculty of Arts & Science. Therefore, access to courses within some disciplines may be problematic. In addition, certain courses within some disciplines may be restricted to students of the Faculty of Arts & Science. Students are urged to consult the Registration Handbook of the Faculty of Arts & Science to determine the feasibility of completing the desired Minor or Major. Students can also consult with the respective Departments to determine the possibility of getting access to courses without the appropriate designation on the student web service.