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The D.M.A. program is designed for performers who have already reached a high level of proficiency and artistry in their fields and who may wish to teach at the university level. This program offers an opportunity to bring creative and performance achievement to a high level while enriching individual backgrounds with academic studies, including specialized training in music history and theory, and other areas. Candidates in music performance are expected to pursue supplementary individual projects in performance practice and music literature. Studies in music theory and music history are included.

What makes the program unique?

UBC’s DMA Orchestral Instrument Performance degree program is distinguished by its outstanding faculty performers who play in the Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, National Broadcast Orchestra, Standing Wave, Turning Point Ensemble, and enjoy successful careers as solo recording artists and entrepreneurs.

Students enjoy the opportunity to study with passionate teachers who care a great deal about their students. The School of Music also provides many master classes with internationally renowned guest artists and ample playing opportunities in ensembles of the highest calibre.

The main focus is to allow each student to progress to the apex of their performance potential, and admission is selective and enrollment limited so that all students are allowed ample performance opportunities to do so.

Orchestral Instrument Performance students perform in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Concert Winds, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Bands, and participate in numerous chamber ensembles and opera productions annually. While in residence at UBC, students are placed in various large ensembles throughout each season so that all students receive training in various repertoires under multiple conductors.

In addition, opportunities for performances in regional community, youth, and professional ensembles — such as the Vancouver Academy Orchestra, Pacific Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Vancouver Youth Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony, Vancouver Island Symphony, 15th Field Army Band, and many other Vancouver area ensembles — make the UBC School of Music a great place for practical experience in the freelance and community music scene.


Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which 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 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 90









IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5









Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

M.Mus degree in orchestral instrument performance, or equivalent.

Course Requirements

i. Outstanding performing ability
ii. M.Mus. degree in orchestral instrument performance, or equivalent

Document Requirements

An audition, whether in-person or via video, is required.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Instrument (DMA)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Applicants should contact the division chair for strings, Prof. Jasper Wood ( the division chair for woodwinds, brass, and percussion, Prof. Robert Taylor (, or the private studio teacher of their choice to discuss any questions about a potential application.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Research Information

Research Focus

The string division and woodwind, brass, and percussion division are distinguished by outstanding faculty performers who enjoy successful international careers as solo recording artists, chamber musicians, and entrepreneurs. Our faculty includes members of the Vancouver Symphony, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, National Broadcast Orchestra, Standing Wave, Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver Brass Project, Touch of Brass, and Vancouver Saxophone Ensemble.

Research Facilities

From the state-of-the-art Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, to the historic Old Auditorium and intimate Roy Barnett Recital Hall, you will have the opportunity to train and grow as a professional musician in front of diverse audiences.

Tuition & Financial Support


FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

Students admitted to the School of Music’s graduate programs are automatically considered for scholarships under the GSI (Graduate Support Initiative) program. These competitive awards typically range from $1,000 to 12,000 and are guaranteed for two to four years.

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

6 students graduated between 2005 and 2013. Of these, career information was obtained for 6 alumni (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016):

Sample Employers in Higher Education
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
University of Victoria
Indiana University East
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Vancouver Academy of Music
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Head of Brass
Freelance Violist and Composer
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Many of our doctoral graduates hold prestigious appointments at universities and colleges. They work in major symphony orchestras, opera orchestras, professional chamber ensembles, musical theatre and touring ensembles, early music orchestras, and commercial music fields around the world. Recent alumni perform in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Calgary Symphony, Edmonton Symphony, Nova Scotia Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburg Symphony, National Orchestra of Malaysia, and National Arts Center Orchestra of Ottawa.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Instrument (DMA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.


New Registrations13465
Total Enrolment1819201813

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 43% based on 14 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 6 graduating students from the 2011 - 2014 admissions cohort the minimum time to completion is 3.41 years and the maximum time is 7.86 years with an average of 5.64 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Musical Arts in Orchestral Instrument (DMA)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Applicants should contact the division chair for strings, Prof. Jasper Wood ( the division chair for woodwinds, brass, and percussion, Prof. Robert Taylor (, or the private studio teacher of their choice to discuss any questions about a potential application.

Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.


Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2024 Dr. Moraes examined how to prepare and perform trumpet auditions for professional Canadian orchestras. He interviewed some of the top Canadian trumpet performers and pedagogues on best practices for selected excerpts. His research will assist prospective orchestral musicians with audition preparation.
2023 Dr. Wang studied the value of Chinese art song to Western vocal pedagogy. He introduced a collection of Chinese art song teaching repertoire and created a new Mandarin IPA system to solve the Mandarin pronunciation difficulty in singing. His study will enable Western educators to incorporate Chinese art songs more effectively into their curricula.
2023 Dr. Cooke studied the practice of oboists giving the tuning-A in historical and contemporary orchestras. She found that oboists see tuning as not only a practical tool, but as a musical solo which can inspire other musical works like John Corigliano's Concerto. This research illuminates the history and beauty of an often-overlooked tradition.
2022 Dr. Sullivan explored the use of vocal works as a pedagogical tool for the bass trombone, and to expand the repertoire for the instrument from other periods of music history. In creating a new edition, he demonstrated that including the original text can inform musical decisions, adding to the body of works available to the bass trombone performer.
2020 Dr. Graham examined the pedagogical benefits of learning and performing a musical genre known as complexism - a style that has received much criticism over the years. He presented interviews with well-known performers, analysis of his own experience, and highlighted the benefits the musician will see as a result of an experience with this genre.
2020 Dr. Falta examined Pablo Casals' views on interpretation and cello technique, and defined the extent of his influence on the methods of master cello pedagogues Diran Alexanian and Maurice Eisenberg. Dr. Falta showed how both works reflect Casals' ideas and together form the most significant expression of his teaching legacy.
2019 Dr. Hockley examined performer agency in complexism, a contemporary musical aesthetic. Although complexism is often suggested as leaving the performer no room for interpretation or expression, he developed a new analytical perspective that examines how complexism's distinctive material and conceptual elements engage unique forms of performer agency.
2018 It is essential for the modern violist to be familiar with various methods of creating sound. Dr. Kwok explored extended techniques and demonstrated teaching methods for students of all ages with six commissioned etudes. Her work encourages students to use these techniques to expand their technical and expressive abilities on their instrument.

Further Information


The curriculum covers courses on music research, performance practices, large instrumental ensemble, music performance.


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