Master of Music in Opera (MMUS)
The Master of Music (M.Mus.) degree in Opera performance is offered to students who have achieved necessary levels of attainment and productivity at the undergraduate level, and who give reasonable promise of further significant accomplishment. This degree is often a final academic and performance step for the musician who wishes to enter the professional world, although it may prove an intermediate step for those wishing to prepare for doctoral training. Performance candidates present an opera performance in lieu of a thesis. A two-year residency is the norm.
What makes the program unique?
UBC Opera educates and promotes gifted young opera singers while preparing them for international careers. The UBC Opera Ensemble was founded in 1995, with the appointment of Canadian lyric coloratura Nancy Hermiston as Chair of the Voice and Opera Divisions. Beginning with a core of seven performers, Ms. Hermiston has built the program to a 90-member company, now performing three main productions at UBC every season, four Opera Tea Concerts, two Singer Behind the Song events where international stars of opera present a short recital, give an interview and conduct a masterclass with our students. As a connection to our community and future employers of our students, there are engagements with local community partners, including Vancouver Opera, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Bard on the Beach, and Vancouver Bach Choir. Yearly collaborative summer productions and tours with the European Music Academy in the Czech Republic, Opera Galas with the JK Tyl Opera House in Plzen, Czech Republic, operatic concerts for the Musikalischer Damenclub in Nürnberg, Germany, as well as occasional operatic concert tours to Asia, enrich the educational experience of our students.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
An audition, either in-person or via video, is required.
We strongly encourage applicants to do an in-person audition. This facilitates the student to actually see the faculty members with whom they will be working, the facilities, and if possible an in -person lesson with some of the teachers and a general feel for the university as a whole.
It also helps the committee to get to have a personal contact with the student and hear them in one of the venues in which they will perform, and promotes an in-person conversation between both student and professors.
We realize that an in-person audition is sometimes not possible and we are also open to video applications. Please ensure that the video is of a high quality, showing you at your best.
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
BMus degree or equivalent
i. BMus degree, or equivalent ii. 100-level proficiency in French, German and Italian iii. strong background in opera repertoire
- A statement of intent
- A repertoire list and selection of programs from other recitals given.
- Applicants who audition via video may be requested to participate in an online video interview with UBC Music faculty members as part of the application process.
- Strong musical skills recommended.
- Acting training highly recommended.
- Facility in standard operatic languages (German, French, Italian, Russian and Czech an asset).
- Dance and movement training highly recommended.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date10 September 2022
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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Music in Opera (MMUS)
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.
The Opera Programme is linked with research conducted by a team formed by Opera Director, Nancy Hermiston. It consists of some of UBC’s finest researchers, Dr. Janet Werker, Dr. Lara Boyd and Dr. Rachel Weber and two outstanding Postdoctoral students, Dr. Anja Xiaoxing-Cui and Dr. Negin Motamed Yeganeh. In the current study we are considering the effects of opera training on neuropsychological functions in opera trainees before and after an intensive participation in the Opera Workshop Course in which they prepare and professionally stage a full opera over a course of three-month segments during the year. We hypothesized that participation in this workshop would lead to increased executive function, attention, and verbal and visual memory. We further explore the neural underpinnings of any changes through the analysis of brain anatomy.
The mission at UBC Opera is to educate and promote gifted, young opera singers, while preparing them for international careers.
Past productions have included Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi, La Bohème, Dido and Aeneas, The Merry Widow, The Bartered Bride, Manon, Eugene Onegin, Florence Lady with the Lamp, Falstaff, Don Giovanni, Cendrillon, Albert Herring, Rusalka, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Robert Ward’s The Crucible, and the Western Canadian Premiere of Harry Somer’s Louis Riel, Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Consul, Kevin Puts’ opera Silent Night, and the Canadian Premiere of Mieczysław Weinberg's opera, The Passenger.
The ensemble has performed with Canadian Heldentenor Ben Heppner at the Chan Centre of the Performing Arts, for a special broadcast on CBC Radio. They also produced the world premiere of the new Canadian opera The Dream Healer, by West Vancouver composer Lloyd Burritt, based on Timothy Findley’s novel Pilgrim, staring Judith Forst, Roelof Oostwoud, John Avey and conductor David Agler. In their series Singer Behind the Song they have hosted and performed with such international stars as Judith Forst, Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky, Angela Meade, Eric Owens, Luca Pisaroni and Jane Archibald.
Thesis is an operatic role with orchestra. Volunteer participation is encouraged in different kinds of aspects of opera production to enrich the knowledge and experience of the art form for their own edification of the complex world of opera.
The home of the Opera Division is the Old Auditorium. From the newly renovated historic Old Auditorium theatre, to the state-of-the-art Chan Centre for Performing Arts, one of North America's premier musical venues, and the 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
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$6,722.37|
|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)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
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.
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.
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.
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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
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.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
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.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Music in Opera (MMUS). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.