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Institute of Technology or Polytechnic

Ara Institute of Canterbury
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Bachelor of Music

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2025


Ara Institute of Canterbury


Our Bachelor of Music covers all the skills and knowledge you need to be a multi-faceted professional musician. It’s built around collaboration - you’ll learn the foundational skills and apply them in group projects and classes that directly mirror the real world of the music industry.

More than half the programme content is practical in nature, a higher proportion than most music degrees in New Zealand. This includes regular structured rehearsals, in-class demonstrations and numerous performance opportunities including concerts and gigs with staff and other students. With such a focus on the practical, you’re a musician from day one at Ara.

The degree offers three pathways: Music Creation (composition), Music Performance and Music Production. This choice lets you specialise in the area you’re passionate about, while learning alongside and working with musicians from other pathways. Your third-year capstone project allows you to design your own major project (which can include a work placement if relevant) with dedicated specialist tutor support.

Career Opportunities

Music is a portfolio career and this degree sets you up perfectly to excel in the ‘gig economy’. As a graduate you’ll possess a comprehensive and varied set of skills, backed up by a working knowledge of the industry and how to establish your place within it.

Possible career outcomes include: Professional musician, Professional performance, Creative industries, Education, Events and music management.

Entry criteria

University Entrance: NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at level 3 and 20 credits at level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects and:

14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved subjects*

as well as Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing,

and Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)

OR New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) Ara Performing Arts Pathway or equivalent

Due to Covid-19 disruption, if you studied and achieved NCEA Level 3 during 2020, you only need 12 credits per Level 3 subject (i.e. total of 36 credits). Literacy and Numeracy requirements remain the same

If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

* NZQA approved subjects

Alternative requirements

Still want to study but don't meet the Academic Requirements?

If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

IELTS test - Academic score of 6 with no band score lower than 5.5


TOEFL (pBT) - Score of 550 (with an essay score of 5 TWE)

TOEFL (iBT) - Score of 60 or higher (with a writing score of 18)

Cambridge English Qualifications - B2 First, or B2 First for schools, or C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency with a score of 169. No less than 162 in each skill

PTE (Academic) score of 50 with no band score lower than 42

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