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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.


Program Enquiries

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Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

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

Course Requirements

i. BMus degree, or equivalent ii. 100-level proficiency in French, German and Italian iii. strong background in opera repertoire

Document Requirements
  • 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.
Other Requirements
  • 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

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 Master of Music in Opera (MMUS)
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 to the MMus in Opera should contact division chair, Prof. Nancy Hermiston ( with specific questions about the Opera program.

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 Highlights

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.

Research Focus

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.

Program Components

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.

Research Facilities

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


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 Options

Graduates from the UBC Opera program hold prestigious appointments in professional opera companies and universities around the world. They work in opera performance, entrepreneurship, education, and administration. For examples of alumni careers, please explore:

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.


New Registrations994127
Total Enrolment1713141819

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 100% based on 46 students admitted between 2015 - 2018. Based on 32 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 0.68 years and the maximum time is 2.38 years with an average of 1.72 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 Master of Music in Opera (MMUS)
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 to the MMus in Opera should contact division chair, Prof. Nancy Hermiston ( with specific questions about the Opera program.

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.


Further Information


The curriculum covers courses on music research, the literature of Opera, Opera production, and music performance.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier



Supervisor Search

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update contact details for application inquiries, please use this form.

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