Program Snapshot

Sounding Your Success

From the soothing sounds of our singing shores, to the everlasting beat of our vibrant culture, Cape Breton holds music close to its heart.

Build your skills for a solid foundation in music and carve your own path, wherever the tempo takes you. Our BACS music major is the only undergraduate program in Canada to focus on traditional and tradition-based popular music, with particular emphasis on Cape Breton’s rich music traditions.

Students learn about music career options, develop a career network and gain valuable work experience through courses such as Understanding the Music Industry, and Arts Entrepreneurship, as well as our Archival Internship and work placements.

Our music offerings focus on three broad areas: Atlantic Canadian cultures and traditions; popular music; and the study of global traditions (e.g., West African, Eastern European, etc.) through ethnomusicology and folklore approaches.

In all of our program options, we offer a variety of courses, including courses in performance, music theory and composition, genre surveys and histories, issues (e.g., protest, cultural tourism), research methods and business.

Sample Courses and Resources

Why study at CBU?

As a music student at CBU, you’ll be excited to learn some of Cape Breton’s best-known traditional musicians teach here, including popular local artists such as Kyle MacNeil of the Barra MacNeils. That means you’ll be taught by experienced instructors who are both accessible and approachable, which makes a major difference in the intricate world of music.

Our music program uniquely ties together liberal arts courses, performance classes, work placements and community learning to create a truly well-rounded experience. Join students from around the world in one of the most breathtaking locations on the planet, in harmony, as you realize your true potential in music.

Cape Breton is known for its musical traditions. As one of the most celebrated cultural regions in the country, we offer courses that introduce students to a variety of music. From local traditions to music from around the world, popular music to classical music, students learn to analyze the music they love in order to see how it works.

What skills will I gain from this program?

  • Awareness and appreciation of music from around the world
  • Greater understanding of music’s roles and functions in society
  • Ability to analyze music
  • Improved ability to perform
  • Knowledge of the music industry

Possible Career Paths

  • Arts and culture administration
  • Events and cultural program management
  • Music industry
  • Private music instruction
  • Tourism

Admission Requirements

Please select your province for specific admission requirements.

General Requirements for High School Graduates

  • See CBU’s English Language Requirements here.
  • English 12 (academic or advanced)
  • 4 additional grade 12 academic or advanced level courses

Please select your country to view admission requirements.

Transfer Student Requirements

  • In order to transfer to CBU you must be in good academic standing at your current/previous institution.
  • You must meet the general admissions requirements (or the post-secondary equivalent) for the program, found under the Canadian or International tabs of this tool.
  • To see if your institution is an articulation partner, please view our articulation agreements page.
  • Please email us if you have specific questions about admission requirements and transferring to CBU:


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