Study Masters in Music in Canada: A Guide for International Students

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    Komal Yadav

    Study Abroad Expert

    Masters in music in Canada requires a period of 1 to 4 years to complete depending upon the specialization chosen. It spans across different facets of arts such as Ethnomusicology, Music Performance, Instrumental, Music Education, Music Composition, Music Entrepreneurship, Music Technology, Music Therapy and Conducting. The average cost for studying masters in music from Canadian universities ranges between 18,000 CAD to 70,000 CAD.

    • Graduates of music can work as Music therapists, Music teachers, Music promoters and entrepreneurs, Music technologists and Professional musicians.
    • Part-time masters in music online program is offered by Humber College and it lasts for a duration of one year.
    • The average salary of a musician in Canada is 40,950 CAD per annum.
    Number of Artist in canada

    Masters in Music in Canada Course Details

    Music is a very vast and multifaceted discipline encompassing several practical aspects and theoretical facets with different specializations. Practical aspects are Performance (Vocal and Instrumental), Conducting, Music composition. Some other music-related disciplines offered as specializations in masters at Canadian universities are music education, research, music technology, music marketing, etc..

    In the first year of Masters in Music in Canada, introductory courses of music including fieldwork methods coupled with some other general music courses are offered. Students are required to attend seminars and take on practical research in the second year of study. They also have to choose an elective in the first or second year as a part of the coursework.

    Students can also choose specializations from a plethora of options available in various universities in Canada. These include Masters in Arts in Music with Emphasis in Musicology, Applied Music, Health or Music Composition, Organ, Harpsichord, Guitar, Vocal, Ethnomusicology, Music Education, Music theory, Music technology, etc.

    If a student has opted for thesis-based masters in music, he/she has to submit a thesis project in the final year of study. Collaboration with local art and music organizations is also required to hone and develop skills and knowledge, get valid experience, develop profiles and complement the theoretical aspect of classwork.

    In synopsis, the basic subjects included in masters in music curriculum includes:

    • Music composition and theory
    • Electroacoustic composition
    • Electroacoustic performance
    • Composer-performance ensemble
    • Composition for instruments plus electronics
    • Twentieth and twenty-first-century music
    • World music
    • Javanese Gamelan
    • Contemporary music analysis
    • Conducting

    Top Universities Offering Masters in Music in Canada

    Table below lists the best universities offering masters in music in Canada, according to the World University Ranking of 2020 by Times Higher Education (THE):

    University THE World University Ranking 2020 Program/Specialization Duration (in years) Program fee
    University of Toronto (U of T) 18 Master of Art (MA) in Musicology 3 $103,290
    McGill University 45 Master of Art (MA) in Music-Musicology (thesis) 3 $28,134
    University of British Columbia (UBC) 52 M.A in Music-Emphasis Musicology 2 $17,905
    University of Montreal (UdeM) 126 - 150 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $16,372
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) 176 - 200 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $11,453
    York University 176 - 200 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $13,082
    University of Alberta (UAlberta) 201 - 250 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $21,000
    University of Calgary 201 - 250 Master of Music (M.Mus.) (Thesis/Performance-Based Program) 2 $16,162
    University of Ottawa 201 - 250 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $31,156
    Western University 201 - 250 Master of Music (M.Mus.) 2 $14,086

    Master of Music (MMus) degree is available in three fields: MMus in Composition; MMus in Literature and Performance; and MMus in Music Education. Some institutions have specializations coined for these three major disciplines.

    For instance, University of British Columbia offers different specializations in composition such as M.Mus. in Guitar, M.Mus. in Harpsichord, M.Mus. in Opera. Other areas are M.Mus. in Orchestral Instrument, M.Mus. in Music conducting etc.

    Admission Process of Masters of Music in Canada

    An undergraduate degree with relevant training in music or a bachelor's degree in music is required to get admission in Canadian universities offering a master's program in music. Audition plays a major role in the admission process of most of the universities.

    Where to Apply: Students must visit the program page on the official website of the institution they wish to apply for. Applicants interested in getting admission to University of Ottawa are required to apply online through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC), by completing form 105.

    Admission Requirements for Masters in Music in Canada

    To get admission into masters in music in Canada, students are required to fulfill following eligibility requirements:

    • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in music or have relevant training in music
    • Obtained at least a B+ (some institutions accept a B) or its equivalent in the bachelor's program

    Audition Requirements for Masters in Music in Canada

    Apart from the above-listed requirement, other requirements that most Canadian institutions require for admission to a masters program in music are:

    • Performance Repertoire: A live audition or video/audio recording of the performance. Repertoire for the audition must contain representative works from a variety of historical periods and must demonstrate an advanced level of technical accomplishment. Recordings should be approximately 20-30 minutes in length.
    • Conducting: Demonstrated ability on a major instrument or voice in an audition, either a video of approximately fifteen minutes or in-person audition.
    • Composition: A portfolio of at least three recent compositions along with the recordings. Students interested in electroacoustic composition specialization must submit recordings.
    • Sonic arts: A portfolio of recent sonic arts creative and/or research projects may also be required in some cases.

    Documents Required for Masters in Music in Canada Admission

    Applicants interested in pursuing a master program in music in Canada are required to submit the following document for admission consideration:

    • Transcript: All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary studies showing grades and academic work. Students whose transcripts are not in English language must submit an English-translated copy.
    • Letter of Recommendation: Most popular universities in Canada require applicants to submit academic references. The number of letters of recommendation required ranges from one to three depending on the institution's demand. However, not all institutions require a letter of recommendation.
    • Updated Resume /CV: Academic resume is also required during the application process. This may be uploaded to the application portal or sent as a package to the admission committee.
    • Other Documents: Some additional documents required by Canadian universities are:
      • A statement of intent, motivation letter also called statement of purpose or motivational statement that explains the applicant’s enthusiasm for the course (usually not less than 500 words)
      • Samples of scholarly writing (can be written material by the applicant used for an academic purpose- i.e., assignments/articles/journals/essays)

    Proof of English Proficiency

    International students from countries where English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 2 years at the time of submission of the application.

    Minimum score requirements for the top 10 universities offering masters in music in Canada are listed in the table below:

    University Minimum TOEFL (iBT) Score Required Minimum IELTS Score Required
    University of Toronto 93  7.0 
    McGill University 86  6.5
    University of British Columbia 93  6.5 
    Simon Fraser University 93  7.0 
    York University 100 7.5
    University of Alberta 100  6.5 
    University of Calgary 86  6.5 
    University of Ottawa 92  6.5 
    Western University 86  6

    Proof of French Proficiency

    Students, applying to Canadian universities offering masters in music in Canada in French, are required to demonstrate proficiency in the French language too. The University of Montreal accepts the test scores of the International French Test (TFI) as proof of French proficiency. However, students who completed a bachelor's degree with an entire curriculum in French are exempted from submitting such scores.

    Admission Decision

    University of Alberta’s applicants will be notified of admission decision via letter ideally by late February or early-to-mid March. Applicants of the University of Toronto will receive acknowledgment email approximately one week after submission of application. Application evaluation for admission to the UBC takes several weeks. To check the admission decisions and to provide any new information or updated documentation, applicants should log in to the "My Application" section of the admission portal.

    Cost of Studying to Masters in Music in Canada

    It costs between 11,000 CAD – 78,000 CAD to pursue a master's of music degree in Canada. This cost can be distributed into three categories- the pre-arrival cost, tuition fees, and cost of living.

    Pre-arrival Cost

    The table below shows the pre-arrival cost for international students:

    Type of Expenses Amount (in CAD)
    Program Application Fee $87 – $168 
    Visa Application Fee $305
    Health Insurance $13,000
    IELTS fee $240 – $247
    TOEFL fee $208 – $325
    Airfare $584 - $1,820

    Tuition fees of Masters in Music in Canada

    Annual tuition fee of masters in music programs varies greatly among Canadian universities, ranging from 26,000 CAD per annum to 5,000 CAD per annum. University of Toronto which is among one of the highly ranked universities of Canada has the annual tuition fee, 25,982 CAD, per annum for masters in music.

    Tuition fee of Masters in Music in Canada

    Cost of Living in Canada

    The table below shows the average minimum cost of living in Canada while pursuing a masters degree in music:

    University Living Expenses Per Annum (in CAD) Books and Material Cost (in CAD)
    University of Toronto $22,888 $1,000
    University of British Columbia $16,954 $945
    University of Montreal $13,440  $1,000
    University of Alberta $21,320 – $60,160 $1,600
    University of Ottawa $10,212 - $16,291 $1,210

    Note: Living expenses mentioned in the table above include accommodation cost, transportation cost, and meal charges.

    All fees for the year are subject to adjustment, including tuition and student fees. In recent years, tuition fees increased by 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students.

    Scholarships for Masters in Music in Canada

    Following are some of the available scholarships for international students in Canada pursuing a masters in music:

    Scholarship Amount Offered (in CAD) University
    Ontario Graduate Scholarship $15,000 per annum University of Toronto
    Music Entrance Fellowship $1,000 to $24,000 McGill University
    Graduate Support Initiative Award Varies University of British Columbia
    Scholarship of Excellence of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Varies University of Montreal
    Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship (GDES) $21,000 per annum Simon Fraser University
    York Graduate Scholarship Varies York University
    Harry Farmer Graduate Scholarship in Music Varies University of Alberta
    Entrance Scholarships  $12,000 to $35,000 University of Calgary
    Myra Baillie Academic Grant $1,000 McMaster University

    Job Prospects for Music Graduates in Canada

    International graduate students who studied in Canada can apply for a Canadian work permit which enables them to get a good job in Canada. The annual salary of a musician in Canada ranges between 21,060 CAD to 69,615 CAD.

    Jobs for Music Graduates in Canada

    Music means different things to different people; thus, it is one of the most artistic and intriguing courses in the world today. People studying music are often seen as being extraordinary and naturally talented. It is considered as a field of passion.

    Entertainment and music industry have been alive through centuries with every generation pushing in more energy for sustenance and innovation. It has evolved over the years to accommodate modernization, civilization and the birth of technology without losing the savor of its very essence.


    Ques. What are the best universities offering masters in music in Canada?

    Ans. University of Toronto (U of T), McGill University, University of British Columbia (UBC), University of Montreal (UdeM) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) are some of the best universities of Canada offering masters in music.

    Ques. How much does it cost to study masters in music in Canada for international students?

    Ans. The average cost of studying masters in music from Canada ranges between 11,000 CAD to 78,000 CAD per annum. This includes tuition fees, accommodation costs, meals, books and transportation costs.

    Ques. What is eligibility criteria for applying to a master's in the music program in Canada?

    Ans. Students are required to have a bachelor's degree in music or an undergraduate degree with relevant training to apply for masters in music in Canada.

    Ques. How much can a music graduate earn in Canada?

    Ans. The average pay for music graduates in Canada is 40,950 CAD per annum. Students with less than one year experience can earn upto 21,060 CAD annually.