The Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA Hons) in Music degree is a postgraduate degree in creative work, practice, and research that can be undertaken full-time, in one year, or part-time, over two years.


Bachelors of Art Honours in Music Programme Code: AHA00

The Bachelor of Arts Honours (BA Hons) in Music degree path features compulsory courses in Music Research (Methods and Long Essay), Music Business and an area of creative work and practice in which the applicant already has some training/experience. The research, creative work and practice can be undertaken in one of three fields: music performance, composition, or community music (see additional information on each of these fields below):

Community Music

Community Music is an international field of practice and study that concerns music teaching and learning in informal settings and which gives students opportunities to apply their own musicianship in diverse social and educational contexts. The course first focuses on Community Music theory and scholarship; and then on creative, professional development, aimed at developing students’ group facilitation, creative leadership and critical reflective skills. A service-learning community engagement research project in HaMakuya forms an integral part of the course, with student placements in arts and music NGOs in the second semester.

The course is taught through a combination of seminars, workshops, site-visits and supervised student teaching placements. It comprises four modules, taught over two semesters:

Module 1:     Critical perspectives of Community Music theory and scholarship
Module 2:     Community Music approaches in diverse contexts such as health and       
                      well-being, music therapy and disability, with case-studies taught by                      
                      specialists in the field. 
Module 3:     Creative leadership and music facilitation skills development.
Module 4:     Applied learning in Community Music – participation in a week-long 
                       service learning/community engagement research project; and a ten-week               
                       student placement in a community arts organisation.

The main assessment output is a portfolio of work, including article reviews, music project reports, academic essays and reflective accounts of teaching, observation and facilitation. The exam equivalent is a substantial research essay and practical teaching assessment based on student placements.

Composition Studies

The composition specialisation consists of two year-long courses: Theory and Analysis, and Portfolio of original compositions. Within the year, four areas of music composition are offered focused on different contemporary sets of compositional tools and the analyses of works and techniques from their respective oeuvres. The Theory and Analysis courses engages with the genres and styles taught, including a consideration of historical, analytical, theoretical, technological and aesthetic matters. The four components are:

1.    Western art music composition,
2.    Jazz composition and arranging,
3.    Electronica musics and their technologies, and
4.    Composition for moving images.

Performance Studies

Music Performance Studies aims to develop music performance professionalism and expertise. By the end of the course the student-performer should have attained a level of performance ability equivalent to that required of the Performer’s Licentiate of the external examining bodies: UNISA, The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, and Trinity College London. The course culminates in the presentation of a public recital of approximately 50-60 minutes duration in solo, accompanying or ensemble performance. The recital must present a coherent, varied programme that demonstrates both knowledge of the range of canonical repertoires of the tradition within which the performance is located, and also a diversity of technical skills expected of performance at this level. The inclusion of more recent and experimental work and (South) African works in the programme is encouraged.


The BA Hons consists of practical work and a written research essay that is related to the practice, and follows a set curriculum: 

    1. Music Research Methods (1st semester, compulsory) (code MUSC4041A) 
    2. Long Essay (whole year, compulsory) (MUSC4042A) 
    3. Music Business Studies (1st semester, compulsory) (MUSC4047A) 
    4. One of the following three specialisations (year-long): 

        4a. Performance Studies (MUSC4043A) or 
        4b. Community Music (MUSC4046A) or 
        4c. Composition Studies, which consists of two courses: 
                   Portfolio (MUSC4045A) and 
                   Theory & Analysis (MUSC4044A)

Entry Requirements

Applicants for the BA Hons must typically have graduated with a three-year undergraduate diploma or degree in music, having focused on the area in which they tend to do the specialisation.
In addition:

  1. Applicants who tend to pursue performance will be required to perform an audition consisting of two or three different works of a combined duration of 15 minutes for a panel, in addition to demonstrating technical work or musicianship skills. The panel may also request a recorded performance.
  2. Applicants who wish to pursue creative work under the rubric of composition may be required to present a portfolio consisting of samples of original work.
  3. Applicants may be required to present a sample of writing typically done for their undergraduate degree or diploma.
  4. An applicant may be called for an interview.


Applicants should, in the first instance, initiate discussion of their proposed plans for the creative work and research with relevant Wits Music staff members and the coordinator for (post)graduate studies in Music. See the Wits School of Arts website ( for staff and their contact details.

The applicant should then complete a University Application for Postgraduate Study form online at The degree programme for which you apply is BA Honours in Music (AFAMUS40). If advice on the application process is needed please contact the Wits School of Arts’ postgraduate administrator at, or 011 717 4617.

If applicable, applicants may have to fulfil one or more of the requirements detailed in the Admission section above. Candidates will be informed of this once their application has been processed by the University and Music Department.


Applications may be submitted at any time during the year, typically until the end of October for study the following year. If a candidate is accepted to the degree they may register only at the start of the academic year, in January/February.

The typical period of registration for the BA Hons for a full-time candidate is one year, and two years part-time.


University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.