Bachelor of Music

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

Our new four-year Bachelor of Music degree will interest you if you are seeking a broad musical education. This degree facilitates creative interdisciplinary links within music disciplines as well as with other subject areas throughout the University, enabling you to develop as a musician through the acquisition of an integrated body of knowledge, skills and ways of thinking.

You can choose from the following streams:
- contemporary music practice
- creative music
- digital music and media
- improvised music
- or a major in Musicology.

The core units of study are in music skills, analysis, history and culture, performance and teach, and a final year project, but the course is structured to allow you the flexibility to pursue a course of study in a combination of musical and non-musical disciplines. You may choose units of study taught at another faculty of the University of Sydney or take units of study taught only within the Conservatorium.

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music is Australia’s premier music institution. Located in the picturesque Governor’s Stables next to the Botanical Gardens and minutes from the Sydney Opera House, the Conservatorium offers world-renowned tuition by Australia’s leading musical practitioners in a strongly collaborative, challenging and performance-based environment.

Course outline

The Bachelor of Music may be undertaken full-time over four years or part-time over eight years. To qualify for the award, a candidate must successfully complete 192 credit points, comprising:

(a) 60 credit points of units of study in either of the following disciplinary areas, as set out in the Pathway Tables:

(i) Contemporary Music Practice

(ii) Creative Music

(iii) Improvised Music

(iv) Digital Music and Media

(b) 24 credit points of Music Skills units of study

(c) 24 credit points of Music Analysis, History and Culture Studies units of study

(d) 24 credit points of Final Year Project units of study

(e) 12 credit points of electives related to the project area of study

(f) 48 credit points of elective units of study

Majors

What is a major?

A major requires the completion of 48 credit points as set out in the Learning and Teaching policy according to one of the following patterns of 6 credit point units:
(a) 2x1000-level units, 2x2000-level units and 4x3000 level units; or
(b) 2x1000-level units, 3x2000-level units and 3x3000 level units.
For any individual student’s enrolment a unit of study will only contribute towards one major except where otherwise approved by the faculty Units of study contributing towards one major may not contribute toward any other major completed except where otherwise approved by the faculty.

Core majors

Contemporary Music Practice
Study contemporary music with the best in the business. Whether you want to be on stage or behind the scenes producing and writing songs, you will have access to a diverse range of music industry practitioners who will help you produce your own exciting and original music.

Creative Music
The Creative Music program focuses on developing your composition skills, including notation-based composition, to prepare you for music beyond the concert hall. If you are interested in composing collaboratively with performers, and arranging music for film, television and online, this is the new degree for you. Our composition and music technology staff are some of Australia’s most gifted and widely recognised composers, working across instrumental and vocal to electronic and electroacoustic music.

Digital Music and Media
The Digital Music and Media program focuses on computer-based and interactive musical creativity. If you love writing music for online games and creating music for new media and technologies, this is the new degree for you.

Improvised Music
Our Improvised Music program focuses on research-based improvisation approaches, including but not limited to the jazz tradition. Learn from staff of the most highly regarded improvised music practitioners in Australia. We also offer performance opportunities with three big bands and eleven small ensembles.

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and performance-related activities prescribed for their units of study.

What is an elective?

An elective is a unit of study within a degree, usually an option within a course. Electives allow more detailed study of a particular subject. Electives can be selected from the units of study offered by the Conservatorium or from other faculties within the university (subject to permission from the Conservatorium).

Course opportunities

All students at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music participate in masterclasses with visiting artists, public recitals and performances in world class venues. Students may participate in international performance tours each year and may undertake exchange study at an overseas university as an integral part of their course.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Graduates of the Bachelor of Music are broadly educated musicians able to apply their knowledge, skills and attitudes creatively and flexibly in a variety of music and music-related professions.

Course accreditation

A key focus of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music is its partnership programs with Australia's major music organisations, such as Opera Australia and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Opera Australia: Opera Encounters allows selected students to work with principal artists and directors from Opera Australia and to benefit not only from the extensive knowledge which these professionals are able to share, but also to develop important contacts with key artists and administrators.

In recent years, some of the Sydney Conservatorium's major opera productions have been developed as part of this program. An innovative new alliance has been forged, allowing for not only our Opera students to be coached, but to allow for outstanding students (vocal, instrumental and conductors) to perform in Opera Australia productions. Sydney Symphony Orchestra: A project jointly developed by the Conservatorium and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra is the Sydney Symphony Sinfonia. Students audition to join members of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a series of performances and regional tours. The success of this partnership can be measured through the level of success of Conservatorium students in securing casual and permanent employment in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and other professional orchestras.

Further study

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music has a vibrant and diverse community of staff and students, many of whom enjoy exceptional careers worldwide as both performers and scholars in the finest musical company. The Conservatorium places a high emphasis on its research activity and is recognised as a gathering place for experiencing music performance, scholarship and culture by individuals who push the boundaries of innovation, creativity, cognition and expression. The faculty offers the opportunity to pursue research degrees at either Masters, PhD or Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) levels in the following areas of Composition, Music Education, Musicology and Performance.

About honours

The Bachelor of Music with Honours comprises a widely recognised and highly regarded study program offering a unique opportunity for students to explore their research potential with an independent project supervised by one or more internationally recognised musicians. Completing a music degree with honours opens the door to many employment and research opportunities. For detailed advice see the Bachelor of Music (Honours).

Other study options

Since 1974 the Open Academy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has opened it's doors to the community through programs, courses and workshops for school students, musicians, music teachers and to all those who are interested in learning more about music. Courses are held in the outstanding facilities of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Macquarie Street in Sydney and are designed to inspire and challenge.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is on the basis of a secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents), tertiary study or an approved preparation program. English language requirements must be met where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications taught in English. Special admission pathways are open for domestic mature aged applicants who do not possess a school leaving qualification, educationally disadvantaged applicants and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Applicants are ranked by merit and offers for available places are issued according to the ranking. Details of admission policies are found in the Coursework Rule.

In addition, applicants must submit audition or portfolio material including 8-10 minutes maximum of original work; song(s) or composition(s) in any genre that demonstrates a high level of creative potential and technical ability that shows an understanding of your chosen style(s).

Format: all audio/video material must be submitted online in digital format in mp4 video or mp3 audio or via links to content on Youtube, Soundcloud or other easily accessible platforms. Optional materials may include websites, beat/loops samples, and DJ mixes.

Only applicants who have been assessed favourably at the pre-screening stage will be invited for an interview.

Pre-sceening round materials are due by 16 October with final round interview notification by 2 November.

All submissions are online.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Handbooks Online and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Prospective domestic students apply through the Universities Admission Centre (UAC) for a Commonwealth Supported Place. Refer to the UAC website for key dates.

Current students applying to transfer from one bachelor degree to another, apply directly to the University. The exact process will depend on the course you are currently in and the course to which you wish to transfer. For more information visit the transferring courses page.

Current students applying to transfer from a diploma to a bachelor degree must apply through UAC.

For other useful information, visit our How to Apply page.

Assumed knowledge

As a guide, the minimum level of skills possessed by applicants should be HSC Music 1 or equivalent knowledge, or AMEB Level 6 Musicianship or equivalent.

International students

How to apply

Visit the How to Apply page for detailed information on if you need to apply directly to the University or through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply Now’ button on the right hand side of this course page.

Further admission requirements

To gain entry to all courses, applicants will need to:


1. Gain an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

2. Submit audition or portfolio material which includes 8-10 minutes maximum of original work.

Applicants without an ATAR from the NSW Higher School Certificate may be granted admission on the basis of equivalent secondary school level qualifications (including overseas qualifications); or on the basis of having successfully undertaken other tertiary studies; or in a special admission category such as mature age entry.

Student profiles