UCC Undergraduate courses

Arts - Studies in Music

Course Fact File
Subject TitleStudies in Music
Duration3 or 4 years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBA (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesStudent Contribution + Capitation: €3,130 See Fees and Costs for full details.

Course Outline

Studies in Music is a broad introduction to the study of music as part of human society; it makes available Modules about music from all over the world and in many periods of history. The course embraces historical, sociological, ethnographic, political and educational approaches, among others, and will enable you to develop your knowledge in key areas of modern music studies.

You will develop an understanding of how music works as a part of human culture in varied settings. This understanding will help you understand people and their musical behaviours and preferences. You will learn to reflect critically on the roles and uses of music as an expressive device in a range of environments, historical and present-day. You will be positioned to contribute directly to future cultural and economic development, for instance by writing insightfully about music’s connections to other fields of activity, such as digital media, language, literature, governmental policy, religious practice or educational development.

You will complete courses that examine music from humanistic and cultural perspectives, that enhance critical thinking and communication skills and that develop an understanding of the main modern fields of music studies.


All modules 5 credits unless otherwise stated.

Year 1 Modules:

  • MU1008 Exploring Irish Traditional Music
  • MU1009 Music in Modern Ireland
  • MU1020 Western Music, Culture and Media
  • MU1021 ITM Studies and Introduction to World Music

*it is not recommended not to choose MU1021 (ITM Studies) and MU1008 (Exploring Irish Traditional Music) as there is some overlap of course content..

Year 2 Modules: In Year 2, you take 10 credits of Music from the following provisional list of modules (the list may change):

  • Sound and the Moving Image
  • Musical Cultures of East Asia
  • Global Sounds: World Music in the 21st Century
  • Latin American Music
  • Music-making and the Middle Classes in Nineteenth-century Europe
  • Music in Community
  • Music Education in Contemporary Context
  • Planet Rap: Global Hip Hop and Postcolonial Perspectives
  • Creating and Performing Experimental Music
  • Global Sounds: World Music in the 21st Century
  • Music, Trauma and Recovery (10 credits each)
  • Uillean Pipes in Irish Traditional Music
  • Sounds Like Listening
  • History of Jazz 1: Roots Through Swing
  • Art of Sound
  • Exploring Irish Traditional Arts
  • Music and Cultural Tourism
  • Collectors, Collections and Fieldwork in Irish Traditional Music
  • History of Jazz 2: Bebop through Tomorrow’s Jazz
  • Fieldwork Project
  • An Introduction to Intermedia Studies (5 credits each)

Year 3 Modules: In Year 3, you take a further 10 credits of Music as follows: 10 credits from the list shown for Year 2 See the College Calendar for additional information on Programmes and the Book of Modules for further information on modules.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

Expected lecture hours: 5-credit modules normally have a timetabled slot of two hours a week, and 10-credit modules involve four hours of class time, typically broken into two sessions. Some classes are supported by tutorials, seminars or practical activity (such as concert attendance, oral presentations, school visits or workshops). Classes are timetabled over the full week, and attendance is monitored.

Expected reading hours: As with all undergraduate degrees, there is an expectation that you will devote time before and after scheduled lectures to reading, research and developing your knowledge. This averages out at around 4 hours per week for each 5 credits on your timetable. Music notation: You do not need to be able to read music notation to take this course (although basic music knowledge is always helpful, and not difficult to acquire). Practical study: You do not need to play an instrument to take this course, and gaining mastery of an instrument or voice is not a requirement of the course. You will have access to the Department of Music’s practice and rehearsal rooms and to the wider extra-curricular musical life of the University, and so great opportunity to develop your practical skills and experience from being immersed in a vibrant musical environment. Additionally, should you wish to study an instrument or voice, we may be able to help you find a qualified tutor—you will need personal funds for this.


Any written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Music modules use many types of assessment, such as a personal research project, reflexive learning journal, fieldwork report, class presentation or online discussion.

A variety of assessment methods are used on this course, reflecting its emphasis on the development and application of knowledge across music studies more widely.

Who teaches this course?

The course is delivered by lecturers and staff who are engaged in research at the forefront of their respective subject areas. This ensures that you graduate with a fully contemporaneous skill-set and understanding of music in human life. A full staff list can be consulted on the Department of Music’s website.

Why Choose This Course

A course that offers students with no prior musical experience a way to study the subject. A uniquely broad range of music topics.

Skills and Careers Information

Today’s market requires graduates whose education has equipped them to be flexible, innovative and imaginative, and the BA degree equips students with these skills. Many graduates go directly into employment in areas such as:

  • Administration
  • Public relations
  • Arts management
  • Finance and banking
  • Heritage and tourism


Refer to CK101 and CK108

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Refer to CK101 and CK108.

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact