Bachelor of Musical Arts Bachelor of Musical Arts

A-Z study guide
Bachelor of Music Arts

DegreeFull-time, 3 years | Part-time up to 5 years

Programme code








Domestic Applications due

All year. Auditions take place in September and December for the following year.

International Applications due

All year. Auditions take place in September and December for the following year.


Christchurch - Madras Street

Annual Fees(indictive 2020)


$6,830 -$7,540



Course related costs

Advised on enrolment

About this programme

Study a range of courses including performance, composition, production, songwriting, music industry and find your place in the exciting global music community.

Learning from experienced and accomplished music industry professionals, you'll develop your skills with practical and theoretical courses in a variety of topics including music performance, composition, songwriting, arranging, improvisation, music technology, marketing and music industry studies.

The programme offers a choice of pathways in jazz or contemporary music (instrumental, percussion, electronic music or vocal), studio production, songwriting and music industry, integrating skills in performance, composition, production and marketing.

Find out more about studying music arts

Career opportunities

The opportunities for professional musicians are as varied as music itself. Diverse opportunities exist within the creative industries, education, music management and production, and encompass everything from composing film scores and performing in bands to being a theatre sound designer, music therapist, artist manager or music entrepreneur. The programme is designed to prepare you as either a specialist in the music industry, or a self-managed performing musician or producer with a wide range of skills suited to a variety of styles and scenes.

Learn more about careers in music.

Study pathways

A Bachelor of Music Arts degree will prepare you for postgraduate studies as a music specialist/researcher at honours or masters level with one of our many tertiary partners including WINTEC and UC.

Recommended school subjects

  • Music
  • English or English-rich subjects

Programme structure

To complete this Degree you are required to complete 360 credits. Please browse the guide below to view the course options currently available within this qualification.

Core courses
Elective Courses

To be a full time student you need to maintain a workload of 120 credits per year. We recommend you talk with us to ensure you choose electives to benefit your future career.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements
  • University Entrance: NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects and

    • Literacy* - 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing and
    • Numeracy* - 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)


    New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) Ara Performing Arts Pathway, or equivalent.

    Note: If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

    * NZQA approved subjects: see

Alternative requirements
  • Still want to study but don't meet the Academic Requirements?

    If you show that you have equivalent skills for tertiary study gained through study, work and/or life experience, you may be able to gain alternative entry.

    Note: This qualification may be reduced where you have relevant credits from previous study, or evidence of similar learning or experience in the workplace. Contact Ara for advice.

Additional requirements
  • In addition, you need to:

    • Attend an audition to explore your musical skills. The audition will include a theory test, an aural test, a performance and an interview.Please provide a recent head shot that will enable us to identify you at your audition.

    • Provide two referee reports that show your good character, suitability for the programme and ability to study.

English requirements
  • What if English is not my first Language?

    If English is not your first language, we want to make sure that you will be successful in your chosen programme of study.

    Please provide a result from a test or qualification on the acceptable alternatives English Proficiency Outcomes Chart.


    • If you are a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident, complete an Admission and Enrolment form and Ara will contact you regarding a free assessment.
    • If you are not a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent resident, book an IELTS, Pearson or other test through the Ara Examination Centre or in your home country.

    IELTS scores used must be taken from a single IELTS test report form and are valid for two years from the date of the test.

    What if I have achieved NCEA Level 3 University Entrance?

    You do not need to provide additional evidence of English Language skills.










Acceptable Alternatives Chart

Selection criteria

All applicants are subject to a selection process which is designed to assess the appropriate level of study of the applicant.

Applicants are auditioned, which includes a theory test, an aural test, a performance and an interview. The audition panel is comprised of the programme leader and specialist tutors from the degree programme.

Applicants are ranked based on their audition score. Depending on that ranking, applicants will be offered a place in the degree (or another programme) subject to any pending entry requirements being met (NCEA results etc.).

The offer of a place on the degree may be conditional on the completion a short course (eg. summer theory school) or other tuition.

To ensure a balanced programme, specific numbers of each instrument are accepted each year. Those who are not initially accepted but who meet the standard are waitlisted in order of ranking (within those instruments).

Next steps

To apply for this programme please:

  • complete the Music Arts Additional Requirements form and Application form

If you don't meet the criteria for entry into this programme, we can help you meet entry level with our foundation and bridging programmes.

Alternatively, if you feel you have gained your learning through on the job experience talk to us about recognition or assessment of prior learning .

Application documents

Credit recognition

If you have work experience in this area, or a relevant prior qualification, you may be eligible for credit recognition towards this qualification.