The BFA Music Major program is renowned for its innovative and experimental approach to music through its focus on composition. Given the program’s unique position within an interdisciplinary contemporary art school, our students have rare and valuable opportunities to collaborate on film, dance, theatre, and visual art projects as part of their core training. 

Our rigorous and efficient curriculum offers a balance between acoustic and electroacoustic music, insight into music past and future, and occasions for performing both European and non-Western music through the Javanese gamelan and the Ghana field school. At the upper division, students complete at least one of two streams: composition and/or electroacoustic.

For information about applying to the program, please follow the links at the Future Students section of the left sidebar menu.

Program Information

Our unique pedagogy features professional musicians performing student compositions. This approach, coupled with our leadership in music technology research, allows us to offer a distinct and valued program in the highly competitive academic market. Students in the music program also benefit from being part of a vibrant comprehensive university where they may move easily between departments and faculties. Our students obtain a wider set of skills than students in an academy and they learn to see their practice and role as artists in a larger context. Most importantly, they make connections with artists in other disciplines that will benefit them greatly upon graduation.

Interdisciplinary Mission

The interdisciplinary nature of the SCA offers music students unique opportunities for collaboration with artists in Dance, Theatre, Film, and Visual Art beginning in their first year. In addition, every semester we offer a series of composition workshops featuring readings and performances of student music by professional musicians drawn from the best Vancouver has to offer. Labs for electroacoustic composition and music notation offer outstanding technical support. Credit offerings in Javanese gamelan taught by master musicians along with courses in visual culture and performance studies, world music and the Field Schools in Ghana and India offer an expanded musical perspective for our students.

All music professors are working professional composers who contribute extensively to the School’s interdisciplinary mission by teaching a variety of courses available to students in the SCA as a whole. Courses in Collaboration (graduate and undergraduate), Interdisciplinary Composition, Sound, Digital Art, and Film Music are among the regular offerings by members of the music faculty. Our program, like any post-secondary music program, requires that all students be musically literate upon entry. All new and transferring students must take an entrance theory examination to determine if their literacy skills are appropriate for a post-secondary music degree. Students with a weak score on the entrance exam must take a Music Fundamentals course where a grade of B must be obtained before they are accepted into the BFA in Music.

Music Curriculum

SFU String quintet with David MacIntyre conductingThe Music program has graduated many award-winning composers. With our strong emphasis on self-direction and expression, along with comprehensive skills in acoustic and electroacoustic music creation, graduates are working as composers, performers and teachers in all musical genres; in music/sound software development, post-production sound in film and video, soundtrack composition, composition/sound design for theatre and dance performance; and in audio production in various related industries.

The music curriculum includes:

• 20th/21st century music
• Music composition and theory
• Electroacoustic music
• Orchestration
• Electroacoustic performance
• World music
• Gamelan
• Contemporary music analysis
• Conducting
• Film music
• Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Music Options

1) Major in Music (BFA)
2) Extended Minor in Music

1) Major in Music (BFA)
Students must complete 76 credit hours for the major itself, plus other requirements for the total of 120 credits required for the degree.

2) Extended Minor in Music
A minimum of 44 credit hours in music and related areas in Contemporary Arts.

Faculty Profile

Eldritch Priest

Eldritch Priest

Assistant Professor

Eldritch Priest writes on sonic culture, experimental aesthetics and the philosophy of experience from a ’pataphysical perspective. His essays have appeared in various journals and he is the… More

Alumni Reflections

"In my four years studying acoustic and electroacoustic composition at SFU’s music program, I was exposed to a new world of contemporary music, sound and art, interdisciplinary works, and collaborative practice - all of which have been central to my current practice as a composer and media artist. The school is unique in that the teaching of compositional craft is coupled with a sensitivity towards each student’s independent development of artistic identity through medium-specific and interdisciplinary work. The faculty is genuinely supportive of student initiatives, and help students make transitions from early studies to graduate or professional work."
- Adam Basanta (BFA 2010)