Bachelor of Music (Honours)

The Bachelor of Music (Honours) is characterised by the concept of music—be it performance, composition, or musicology — as a research-led process that explores questions relevant to our understanding of what it means to be human and of who we are.

The core of this program is the sub-thesis, which is focused on the production of a substantial piece of research realised through either performance, composition, or a 20,000-25,000 word written document. A performance or composition will be explained verbally through a 5000-word exegesis that explores the creative act as a research process and explains the contribution to knowledge that the creative act makes.

The intellectual framework within which the sub-thesis will be written is provided by a pair of courses, The Scholar Musician 1 and the Scholar Musician 2, and at least one research methodology course.

The focus of the research will be agreed between the student and the students' supervisor. There are three specialisations available in the program:


The Performance specialisation available for a selected range of instruments depending on the availability of staff (contact the School of which instruments are currently available), must be undertaken in both solo and ensemble contexts, however solo recitals may include accompaniment and chamber music where appropriate and as approved. The performance will be accompanied by a written exegesis explaining the creative process.

Composition, Arranging, and Sound Design

The Composition, Arranging, and Sound Design specialisation further develops students ’ skills, knowledge, creativity and experience in a contemporary context. Taught through studio practice, it leads to a series of works designed according to student needs. The student’s study will be complemented by an individual program which will require relevant written or other documentation as the object of assessment. The portfolio will be accompanied by a written exegesis explaining the creative process.

Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Curatorship

The Musicology, Ethnomusicology, and Music Curatorship specialisation provides a solid foundation in a wide range of research methodologies, and their application to a major research project.

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, tutorials, ensembles, master classes, technical workshops and musical activities in the community, including one-to-one tuition. The course supports the development of critical and independent research skills, including research as creative and professional practice, led by staff who are themselves researchers and music practitioners. Student internships with an array of performance companies, production houses, public service departments, and collecting institutions may also be negotiated.

Learning outcomes

Students who graduate from the Bachelor of Music Honours degree will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. pose research questions relating to music that are significant, original, and complex;
  2. investigate these questions creatively, critically, ethically, and independently through performance, composition, or in extended written form, and place these investigations in the context of the relevant intellectual tradition;
  3. communicate their research and its findings through technically outstanding professional-level public performance, composition, or extended written form; and additionally to publicly communicate the research and its findings clearly in words so that they can easily be understood by non-musicians; and
  4. undertake ongoing independent lifelong development as a performer, composer, or musicologist.

Admission requirements

Entry requires the completion of a Bachelor of Music degree with an average mark of at least a distinction; written permission of the honours convenor; and written agreement of a staff member to supervise the sub-thesis.

Updated:  12 June 2013/Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Music/Page Contact:  Development Officer