What will I learn?

Build on your Honours degree with advanced study and research at Master's level and become an expert in your area of music.

Take your musical skills and knowledge to the next level and focus on research with the MMus. This one-year Master's programme will further your knowledge in either composition (including sonic arts), performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory or music education, and is also designed to prepare you for research at PhD level.

Pathway to the MMus

If you have a Bachelor of Music (Honours), First or Second Class, and want to continue your studies, then the MMus is a good choice for you. Each subject has its own possible requirements you'll need to have met before enrolling. Performance students will need to do an audition and Composition students submit a portfolio. All students will need to outline their research plans and goals in a statement of research intent when they apply.

Music thesis

All or most of your Master's study will involve completing a research thesis. You can choose to include 30 points worth of coursework in your programme.

Musicology students will complete a written 120-point thesis of up to 40,000 words which may include some creative work that helps explain your research. Or you can complete a 90-point written thesis of up to 30,000 words, which may also include some creative work, and 30 points from approved 400- or 500-level courses.

Composition and Performance students complete a 120-point thesis made up of a written exegesis of up to 25,000 words and significant creative work. Or you can do a 90-point thesis comprising creative work and a written report of between 10,000 and 20,000 words, and 30 points from approved 400- or 500-level courses.

Research proposal

You'll need to submit a research proposal within one month of enrolment for approval by the NZSM Postgraduate Committee. Composition and Performance students will need to outline the scope of your proposed recital or portfolio, and include an annotated bibliography demonstrating your awareness of the relevant literature and of how it relates to your creative work.

Advance your expertise with PhD study

If you do well in your Master's degree and show an aptitude for advanced research, you'll be able to apply to do a PhD.

You’ll work under supervision to produce original research that makes a significant contribution to knowledge. Full-time candidates usually complete the degree within three to four years. You’ll carry out original and sustained research under supervision from world-class academics in the School of Music.

Available subjects

  • Composition
  • Musicology
  • Performance


  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Musicology

Which department am I in?

Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
NZ$38,821.00 (US$ 26,490) per year
NZ $38,821 for the full programme

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Application deadline

1 December 2021, 1 May 2022, 1 September 2022

More details

Start date

28 February 2022, 11 July 2022, 14 November 2022


Victoria University of Wellington

Kelburn Campus,

Level 2, Easterfield Building, Kelburn Parade,



6012, New Zealand

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Students need the equivalent of a Bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree from a recognised institution with at least a B average. A background in a particular subject area may be required or recommended. IELTS (Academic): Overall band of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0| TOEFL (iBT): A score of 90 on the internet-based test with at least 20 in writing | Pearson Test of English (Academic): A score of 58 with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50 | C1 Advanced (formerly known as Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)): A score of 176 or higher, with each skill score no less than 169 | C2 Proficiency (formerly known as Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)): A score of 176 or higher, with each skill score no less than 169 | Victoria University of Wellington English Proficiency Programme (EPP): A minimum of two ratings of 5 and two ratings of 4.

For international students

Bachelor of Music with Honours with a B range average and audition or portfolio (where applicable).

Proof of English proficiency

To be accepted into this programme you will need to meet one of the following:

IELTS: minimum overall score of 6.5 with no sub-score below 6.0

TOEFL: minimum score of 90 for the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 in writing

Pearson Test of English: minimum score of 58 (with a ‘Communicative’ score of not less than 50)

EPP: minimum final scores of 4,4,5,5

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


About Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington is in the top 1 percent of the world’s 18,000 universities for 20 subjects and in the top 2 percent of universities.

  • 5+ stars from QS Stars Rating of Excellence 2019
  • Among world’s 1% to be triple accredited for business
  • First in New Zealand for intensity of high-quality research
  • Based in New Zealand’s vibrant capital city

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