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MA - Music as a main subject

The Master of Arts involves advanced study in an Arts subject and is intended for those who want to deepen their knowledge of that subject. The degree also includes a substantial component of independent research. The Master of Arts may be taken within the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, School of Arts or the School of Social Sciences.

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.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Years: 1 - 1.5
Start Dates: Trimester A (March) and Trimester B (July)
Estimated Fees* (Domestic): $7,416 - $8,888 per year
Estimated Fees* (International): $35,900 - $40,855 (120 pts)
$53,855 - $61,290 (180 pts)
Entry Requirements: Postgraduate International
Area of Study:
All amounts are in New Zealand Dollars (NZD). *Tuition fees shown 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 PGCert(Mus), PGDip(Mus), BA(Hons), BMus(Hons), MA and MMus

A Postgraduate Diploma in Music is available in either Composition or Performance. Students must complete either MUSIC504 or MUSIC505.

To be eligible to be considered for enrolment in the BMus(Hons), a student should normally hold a BMus degree and have at least a B average in their 300 level Music papers in the area of intended graduate specialisation or all their undergraduate Music papers.

To complete a BA(Hons) or BMus(Hons) in Music, students must gain 120 points at 500 level, including at least 30 points in research (normally MUSIC591) and at least 30 points from papers listed for Music.

Candidates for the MMus must have at least second class honours (second division) in their BMus(Hons) degrees. The MMus is taken in Composition, Opera or Performance. Students are required to take MUSIC514 or MUSIC524 or MUSIC525.

Candidates for the MA in Music must have completed either:

a) a BA with a major in Music (or equivalent) and have gained at least a B grade average across the 300 level papers, or for a qualification considered by the Academic Board to be equivalent, or

b) a BA(Hons) in Music (or equivalent) with at least second class honours (second division), or a PGDip in Music (or equivalent) with at least a B average, and

c) have satisfied the prerequisites for graduate study in the subject(s) being presented for the Degree, at levels considered appropriate by the Academic Board.

Acceptance into the MA is subject to the availability of a suitable supervisor and overall approval from the Programme Convenor.

Completion requirements for the MA in Music vary according to admission criteria:

Students admitted under a) above must complete 180 points from approved 500 level papers, including a research foundations paper, and either a 120 point thesis or a composition portfolio, a 90 point thesis or a 60 point dissertation.

Students admitted under b) above must complete a 120 point thesis or a composition portfolio, or a 90 point thesis and a further 30 points from approved 500 level papers, or a 60 point dissertation and a further 60 points from approved 500 level papers.

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.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ALPSS500Academic & Professional Research & Writing30.024A (Online), 24B (Online) & 24C (Online)
In this course, students will gain the skills and confidence to seamlessly transition from study to work. This course works to enhance the 'skills for the future' identified by the World Economic Forum (2020), in order to produce resilient, creative students with strong analytic and critical thinking skills.
ALPSS590Directed Study30.024X (Hamilton)
This paper allows students from the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences to undertake research on a specific topic related to their major under the guidance of academic staff.
MUSIC501The Aesthetics of Music30.024D (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC504Professional Performance Practice120.024X (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC514Composition Portfolio120.024X (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC522Composition Studies90.024D (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC524Advanced Performance120.024X (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC525Advanced Opera Studies120.024X (Hamilton)
Advanced Opera Studies is an extensive and unique vocational training programme for exceptional singers who have shown promise and dedication to a career in opera, providing immersive, holistic training, audition and performance opportunities and access to international tutors.
MUSIC528Performance Studies90.024X (Hamilton)
No description available.
MUSIC592Dissertation60.024X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
MUSIC593Performance Composition Portfolio90.024X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research, or original composition or a recital.
MUSIC594Music Thesis120.024X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Find your scholarship

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]