Music OverviewWhy Music At McMasterMusic Admission DetailsMusic First Year CoursesMusic Options Beyond First YearTypical Music TimetableMusic Internships and Co-OpsCareers Beyond the Music ProgramProfiles and Alumni of MusicMusic Program StatisticsMusic FacilitiesMusic Web Links

  • Overview

    The Music program gives students a thorough grounding in the four fundamental areas of music instruction – theory, general musicianship, history and performance, and allows students who are interested in teaching careers to specialize in Music Education, while those interested in academic studies and graduate school may emphasize such topics as Music History and Music Theory. 

    Students may also choose our ground-breaking new specialization in Music Cognition, which explores exciting new research into how music is perceived in the brain and how music intersects with other aspects of intellectual development.

    It’s also possible to combine the study of music with another subject from Humanities or Social Sciences.

    Why Music at McMaster?

    Experiential Learning
    With a ratio of approximately one professor to every 15 students and private lessons in the student’s principal instrument or voice, the Music program offers an exceptional level of faculty contact within the conventional classroom.

    Our program also emphasizes learning outside the classroom. There are several ways in which music students at McMaster are exposed to a wide range of world-class artists. These include free lunchtime concerts and the Celebrity Concert Series (to which Music students receive free admission). The series brings top calibre international musicians to McMaster, whose musical styles range from the standard repertoire to recent music, jazz, early music and world music.

  • Admission Details

    Application and Admission requirements

    Annual Enrollment: 35


  • Note: AN Audition is Required for Admission to Music


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    Students studying music have access to:

    • large rehearsal rooms
    • practice rooms
    • seminar rooms, several equipped with two grand pianos
    • multimedia classrooms
    • a multimedia classrooms large instrument collection, including string, wind, brass and percussion instruments
    • Mills Memorial Library’s extensive music section
    • Music Cognition Laboratory
    • an on-campus concert hall with a world-class Steinway piano
  • First Year Courses

    Total: 30 units
    Required: 21 Units


    Electives: 12 units from the Faculty of Humanities or other Faculties.

    Students who plan to enter the B.Mus (Music Cognition) program must include Psychology 1X03 and Psychology 1XX3 in their Level I program. Those without Grade 12 Biology U must also take Biology 1P03 (Introductory Biology).

    Note: The value of a particular course is indicated by the last digit of the course code (e.g. 1A03 = 3 units).

  • Beyond First Year

    Please click on the following links to review the upper courses associated with each specialization/degree option:

    Diploma in Music Performance
    The Diploma recognizes a concentration in the area of music performance and can be completed concurrently with a Music degree or with a degree in another subject. Students who are not in the Music program must complete an audition before being admitted to the Diploma.

    Students take solo performance courses and accompanying and chamber music, leading up to the special final year solo performance course Music 4E09, which culminates in a recital presentation of approximately forty minutes duration. Since Music 4E09 may not be used for credit towards any McMaster degree, students pursuing the Diploma must plan their work to accommodate nine extra units.

  • Career or Options Beyond This Program

    • music education
    • music business management
    • musicology
    • music therapy
    • music cognition research
    • publishing
    • performance
    • government service
    • human resources
    • law
    • public relations


    Performance Opportunities

    All Music programs at McMaster involve performance, both solo and ensemble. There are many opportunities to perform in public, such as the Student Concert Series for soloists and chamber groups. All students receive private lessons in their principal instrument or voice, and must also participate in one of the seven important ensembles sponsored by the School of the Arts:

    • McMaster Chamber Orchestra
    • McMaster Concert Band
    • McMaster Jazz Band
    • McMaster University Flute Ensemble
    • McMaster Percussion Ensemble
    • McMaster University Choir
    • McMaster Women’s Choir

    Admission to these ensembles is by audition and is open to music and non-music students.

Typical Timetable

Typical Timetable

Profiles & Alumni

Program Statistics

Professor to Student Ratio: One professor to every 15 students.