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PhD - Music as a subject

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded by the University for research carried out under the supervision of at least two staff members. A PhD can also be presented as a PhD with Publication or a PhD with a Creative Practice Component.

Study Music with leading performers, composers and musicologists; and perform in the acclaimed Dr John Gallagher Concert Chamber, part of the University of Waikato's purpose-built performing arts academy.

In 2023, most 100 and 200-level BMus papers are also offered in Tauranga.

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Key information

Years: 3
Start Dates: The first day of any month from February to November
Estimated Fees* (Domestic): $6,800 - $7,221 per year
Estimated Fees* (International): $6,800 - $7,220 per year
Area of Study:
New Zealand resident International PhD students pay the domestic fee.

*Tuition fees shown above are indicative only and may change. There are additional fees and charges related to enrolment please see the Table of Fees and Charges for more information. You will be sent an enrolment agreement which will confirm your fees.

Career opportunities

  • Advertiser
  • Broadcaster
  • Composer
  • Digital Media Producer
  • Film Music Composer or Producer
  • Performer
  • Recording Artist

Degree Planner

Prescriptions for the PhD and DMA

The Doctor of Philosophy is a three year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

The Doctor of Musical Arts is a research degree in which the research component is divided equally between research-based performance and a supporting thesis. The thesis will be conceptually related to the student's performance.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

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You will receive lessons and be able to perform, and have your works performed, in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, through events such as the annual opera production, our contemporary music ensemble – Okta, the Lilburn Trust Student Composition Awards, weekly lunchtime recitals and performance hours.

Our Music programme has excellent facilities available for you to rehearse and compose, the electroacoustic music studios are of an international standard. A long-standing feature of the Music programme is our commitment to integrate the latest technological developments throughout the programme as appropriate.

Subject links

Conservatorium of Music/Music Programme

Music is available in streams for the BMus and as a major for the BA. Music may also be taken as a second major or as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees, subject to academic approval of the Faculty or School of Studies in which the student is enrolled.

To complete Music as a single major for the BA, students must gain 135 points from papers listed for Music, including 105 points above 100 level, and 60 points above 200 level. Students must include MUSIC112; at least one of MUSIC115, MUSIC117, MUSIC119, MUSIC140; and at least one of MUSIC213, MUSIC215, MUSIC222, MUSIC240 and MUSIC314.

To complete Music as part of a double major, students must gain 120 points from papers listed for Music, including 90 points above 100 level, and 45 points above 200 level including MUSIC112; at least one of MUSIC115, MUSIC117, MUSIC119, MUSIC140; and at least one of MUSIC213, MUSIC215, MUSIC222, MUSIC240 and MUSIC314.

To complete a minor in Music, students must complete 60 points from the papers listed for the Music major, including at least 30 points above 100 level.

Music is available in streams for the BMus.

To complete a BMus (Academic), students must complete 90 papers from Music, and 135 points from elective papers.

To complete a BMus (Performance), students must complete MUSIC118, MUSIC120, MUSIC121; and MUSIC218, MUSIC220, MUSIC221, MUSIC227; and MUSIC318, MUSIC320, MUSIC321, MUSIC327 and 60 points from elective papers.

To complete a BMus (Composition), students must complete MUSIC140; and MUSIC219, MUSIC222, and MUSIC323; and 30 points from either MUSIC240 and MUSIC340 or MUSIC215 and MUSIC315 and 30 points from Music list and 105 points from elective papers.

For more information about subject requirements please refer to the Catalogue of Papers for the most up to date information. If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email: [email protected]

Details of streams for the Performance programme are set out in the Bachelor of Music.

If you wish to undertake performance papers as part of your Music major or if you would like a specialist Music qualification you will enrol in the Bachelor of Music.

Within the BMus, a Soloist specialisation is available. Details of the specialisation can be found in the Bachelor of Music.

All students enrolled for the BMus or the BA majoring in Music are required to participate in group performances, either by singing in the University Chamber Choir or playing in the University Orchestra. Participation in the Choir or Orchestra may be counted towards MUSIC227 Music Ensemble 1 or MUSIC327 Performance Ensemble 2.


  1. All BMus students enrolled in first year Music papers should have skills in reading and writing music to Grade 3 level (NZMEB, AMEB) or Grade 5 level (Royal Schools, Trinity College). Candidates must gain at least 60 points at 100 level in any subject(s) before enrolling in Music papers above 100 level, and at least 90 points at 100 and 200 level before enrolling in Music papers above 200 level.
  2. Assessment: Failure to achieve a pass in any Performance, Performance Techniques, or Chamber Music papers will result in the need to re-audition for entry to Performance or Chamber Music streams. Students wishing to enter the Performance stream at any level will be required to audition.

Please note: For all graduate subject requirements check the information provided in the papers section above.


School of Arts
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4380
General and Undergraduate Email Enquiries: [email protected]
Graduate and Postgraduate Email Enquiries: [email protected]