Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2014 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2014 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts

Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titleBMus
CRICOS code017113G
Total credit points required144
Standard duration of study (years)3 years FT, 6 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Tel: 1800 MONASH (1800 666 274) Web address:


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • Students have a maximum of eight years to complete this course.
  • Students may select arts units from any campus, but should be aware of the teaching location as this may require travel to another campus. Students may also select units offered in off-campus mode.


The Bachelor of Music allows students to build a high level of expertise in their chosen specialisation - classical or jazz performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology or creative music technology - while also allowing them the flexibility to sample a variety of musical approaches.

Students benefit from a vibrant, nurturing and productive environment, with modern facilities, unique archival collections and scholarship opportunities. They will enjoy a wide range of performance opportunities, including with international visiting artists, and have the option of undertakings overseas units as part of their degree. In addition to learning practical skills, students are exposed to the historical, creative, technical and cultural aspects of music making and musical thinking.


The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music teaches, researches, and promotes public outreach in five fields of music endeavour: performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology and creative music technology. Students specialise in one field, but gain experience in a unified way in all five areas.


Students with strong musical aptitude undertaking this specialisation are expected to acquire an assured technique and an awareness of the history of performance style and practice. Students develop their stylistic understanding and interactive musical skills by performing in a variety of ensembles. Throughout the program students are examined on both solo and ensemble work.


Students undertaking this specialisation can expect to acquire experience and skills in music composition. The program offers supervision of students' compositional projects and encourages work in various media, including traditional, electronic, and contemporary solo and ensemble combinations. The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music organises a number of large and small instruments and ensemble choral groups and encourages performance of students compositions.

Musicology and Ethnomusicology

Students who choose either of these specialisations, or a combination of both, can expect to develop their critical thinking about music, including broadening their understanding of the role of music in society, music history, philosophical and aesthetic aspects of music, performance practice, and the music traditions of different cultures.

In the musicology stream, students undertake close studies of music history, biography and historiography from various periods and from a wide variety of perspectives.

In the ethnomusicology stream, students make detailed area studies of selected music cultures of Asia and/or Africa, and may learn to perform in an Indonesian gamelan and in other Asian and African traditions as appropriate for a particular unit for which a student enrols.

Creative Music Technology

The creative music technology specialisation is focused on the creative application of technology within professional music, sound, broadcast and multimedia and research contexts. Students will develop creative and music technology skills for employment and research within new media, composition, recording and performance creative industries. The program explores the use of music, sound and media, and promotes creative outcomes enabled through current technologies. These are studied within the context of their creative applications.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

The Bachelor of Music is designed to allow students to develop advanced skills and knowledge in their chosen specialisation. The opportunities to diversify the degree to engage in cross-cultural and cross-genre interactions help to develop students' creative and critical thinking abilities. These skills inform both their music practice and writing, enable the effective communication of musical ideas, and encourage innovative responses to practical and conceptual challenges in a range of areas, as well as fostering a broader sense of global responsibility.

Upon successful completion of this course, it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  • undertake sustained high-level independent practice in their chosen specialisation
  • engage creativity, critical judgement, analysis and imagination in resolving musical and conceptual problems related to their practice or research
  • effectively communicate complex ideas associated with their chosen specialisation
  • demonstrate a critical awareness of how their own practice or research is placed within a broader industry or disciplinary context
  • draw from a range of resources and skills to enhance adaptability and effectively prepare for a career in their chosen music specialisation
  • actively engage with the international and cross-cultural elements of their discipline.


This course consists of 144 points of music units.


Students must complete:

(a.) a music major: Chief music study and music history (48 points)

(b.) music theory and ear training (24 points)

(c.) elective units (72 points)

No more than 10 units (60 points) are to be completed at first-year level.

Students must complete a minimum of 36 points at third-year level.

Students can complete up to 12 points of non-music elective units.

Elective units can be identified using the browse units toolbrowse units tool ( and indexes of unitsindexes of units ( in the current edition of the Handbook. The level of the unit is indicated by the first number in the unit code; undergraduate units are those that commence with the numbers 1-3. Note: Some non-arts units may require permission from the owning faculty.

First-year units

Students must complete two gateway unitsgateway units (


  • ATS1345 Introduction to western music
  • ATS1346 Introduction to world musics
  • ATS1899 Music theory and ear training 1
  • ATS1900 Music theory and ear training 2

Second-year units

Students must complete two cornerstone unitscornerstone units (


  • ATS2901 Music theory and ear training 3
  • ATS2902 Music theory and ear training 4

* Students must achieve at least a credit (60 per cent) in this unit to continue on to ATS3830 Chief music study 5 in performance.

Third-year units

Students must complete two capstone unitscapstone units (

  • ATS3830 Chief music study 5*, or ATS3819 Applied music 1: Orchestration
  • ATS3831 Chief music study 6, or ATS3820 Applied music 2: Conducting

* Students must achieve at least a credit (60 per cent) in this unit to continue on to ATS3831 Chief music study 6 in performance.

Note: Students can take the alternate capstone units as electives.

Elective units

Semester one

  • ATS1343 Popular music and culture: From spirituals to YouTube
  • ATS1347 Music ensemble 1
  • ATS2139 Song writing: How to write a pop tune
  • ATS2333 Jazz history 1: Readings in history and biography
  • ATS2687/ATS3687 African music: Musical change, social change and performance
  • ATS2800 Music ensemble 3
  • ATS2804 From the erotic to the exotic: Music in the nineteenth century
  • ATS2805 Global popular and roots music
  • ATS2807 Composition techniques: Structures, pitch and space
  • ATS3021 Chamber music 1
  • ATS3818 Global popular and roots music
  • ATS3819 Applied music 1: Orchestration
  • ATS3822 Jazz history 2: Readings in improvisation and cross cultural musical relationships
  • ATS3824 Music in society: Musicians, performances and institutions
  • ATS3828 Music composition techniques: Film and orchestration
  • ATS3829 East Asia and its music: Silk road histories and popular contexts
  • ATS3899 Jazz composition/arranging 1

Semester two

  • ATS1342 Music and popular culture: Asia
  • ATS1344 Living gamelan: Gong-chime cultures in context
  • ATS1348 Music ensemble 2
  • ATS2060 The art of teaching music performance (Classical)
  • ATS2085 The art of teaching music performance (Improvisation)
  • ATS2139 Song writing: How to write a pop tune
  • ATS2799 Audio culture: From Cage to Gaga
  • ATS2801 Music ensemble 4
  • ATS2900 Music aesthetics and criticism
  • ATS2926/ATS3926 Performance studies: Indonesian gamelan
  • ATS3022 Chamber music 2
  • ATS3061 Music in Australian society
  • ATS3094 The music business: How to be successful in the music industry
  • ATS3820 Applied music 2: Conducting
  • ATS3821 From critical theory to creating new musical work
  • ATS3823 Music of north and south India
  • ATS3825 Western art music in the 20th and 21st century
  • ATS3900 Jazz composition/arranging 2

Overseas study units

* This unit will require payment of an additional fee that may cover items such as accommodation, entry fees, excursions, coaches, transfers, flights and university administration.


Bachelor of Music