Course Fact File
Duration3 Years, or 4 Years if following the B Mus or BA Arts-Music (International) pathways.
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBA (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesStudent Contribution + Capitation: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 310
CAO Points Range2023: 310-613

Course Outline

Our Arts-Music (Honours) degree allows you to combine the study of two subjects – Music and an Arts subject of your choice from the many Arts options on offer in UCC. Studying music at UCC allows you to explore both the theory and practice of music. Not only will you come away with a comprehensive understanding of the role that music plays in society you will have the opportunity to create music, through solo and ensemble performances. This, combined with your second subject choice, will give you the creative edge that makes you stand out from the crowd.

The BA (Arts-Music) programme now offers three pathways after Year 1:

  • BA (Hons) Arts-Music (3 years)
  • BA (Hons) Arts-Music (International) (4 years) – includes study abroad
  • B Mus (Hons) (4 years)

In Year 1, regardless of which pathway you ultimately choose, you will take courses providing key foundational skills in Music and two further Arts subjects offered from Groups 1, 2, 3, 5, 6(a).

As part of your degree, you will gain experience and understanding of music in contemporary society. You will experience classical, popular, jazz, film, Irish traditional and world music. We integrate practical study alongside academic and theoretical courses and you will have a considerable choice of music-related options, allowing you to build up a distinctive profile as a composer, songwriter, performer, producer, educator or worker within the cultural and music industries.


The BA Arts-Music programme combines two kinds of learning: that of practice and theory. Firstly, students create music through solo and ensemble performance, improvisation, composition, aural training, applied work in education or in the computer music studio. Secondly, students investigate music in historical and contemporary cultures worldwide.

Much of the degree is selected by you from a wide set of options. In Year 1 you take the core modules, listed below, comprising 30 credits. You also choose 30 credits from Groups, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6(a).

Year 1 Core Modules

  • MU1020 Western Music, Culture and Media (5 credits)
  • MU1021 ITM Studies and Introduction to World Music (5 credits)
  • MU1022 Gamelan & Ensemble (5 credits)
  • MU1023 Solo Performance & Ensemble Studies (5 credits)
  • MU1024 Composition & Music Technology (5 credits)
  • MU1025 Music Theory & Aural Skills (5 credits)

Plus 30 credits from two other First Arts subjects from Groups 1, 2, 3, 5, 6(a).

Year 2 Modules

In Year 2 Arts-Music, students take Music as a Single Subject (50 credits) or as a Major Subject (40 credits) or a Joint Subject (30 credits).  Students may also apply to transfer to the BMus to take 60 credits of Music.



A choice of theoretical options from a broad range of subjects – from film music to the music of Java, from the history of jazz to music education, from Opera to fieldwork. You can choose from more than 30 solo and ensemble performance-based options in numerous genres from around the world; plus 10, 20 or 30 credits from another Arts subject continued from Year 1.

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

  • Lecture hours are typically two hours per module per week.
  • You also attend tutorials, seminars, practical’s, rehearsals, and performances.
  • You will have the opportunity to take part in performances in UCC and outside.
  • Students normally spend time in the Department to practice their instrument or voice, and there are widespread opportunities for extra-curricular music-making.
  • Theoretical courses typically require up to four hours a week of reading, researching, or other investigative work.

Why Choose This Course

As a traditional musician, I was drawn to UCC because of the strong history it has in the area of Irish traditional music...

Sophie Ryan, Quercus Scholar

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UCC is an amazing university and the Music Department is no exception. The experiences and opportunities I have been afforded at UCC have changed my life and given me friends for life...

Iona Ritchie, Quercus Scholar

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... I'm a musician and teacher and I was made in UCC!

Jack O'Rourke, BA Arts (Music)

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Undertaking a double degree in History & Music was a way for me to keep my options open…

Nyala Grunwald, BA Arts (Music & History)

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I highly recommend UCC as a university to anyone and everyone. Go in with an open mind and try a class or two outside of your comfort zone...

Alice Murray, Student

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We combine practice-based teaching, learning, and research with critical and scholarly skills...

Professor Jools Gilson, Head of School of Music & Theatre

Meet our staff
  • This is the most musically diverse BA or BMus on offer in Ireland. The course is designed to reflect the true diversity and vitality of the contemporary musical world.
  • If you are looking for a degree that is in tune with international trends and needs in music and rich in transferable skills, then the BA/BMus/BA Arts-Music International is a very suitable choice.
  • The Department is large enough to be exciting and surprising but still small enough to offer a friendly and supportive environment for all students, one where you’ll quickly feel at home.
  • The new Arts work-placement module offers students a unique opportunity to take an optional work-placement module in second year. This module offers preparatory training, a work-placement organised by the UCC Careers Office and post-placement follow up.
  • The BA Arts-Music (International) programme offers you the extra opportunity to study Music in an approved foreign university. 

Placement or Study Abroad Information

  • The Arts work-placement module (PX3001) offers students a unique opportunity to take an optional work-placement module in Year 2. This module offers preparatory training, a work placement organised by the UCC Careers Office and post-placement follow-up.
  • BA Arts-Music International allows students to study Music and/or an Arts subject with an approved university in Asia, Canada, Europe, South America, and the US.
  • We have numerous incoming overseas students each year, so you’re sure to gain the benefits of being in an international study environment whether or not you study overseas.

Skills and Careers Information

Our Arts-Music graduates have a great record for finding employment. Employers recognise Music degrees as being particularly rich in transferable skills, and varied in breadth of learning, a facet reinforced by inclusion of a second subject area taken to graduate level. The result is a graduate who is both versatile and very broadly competent. Our BMus graduates are highly trained and self-reliant specialists, with the strength of an additional year’s maturation and expertise and are in demand professionally.

BA Arts-Music graduates work in a variety of settings including areas such as:

  • performing musicians
  • music teachers
  • the music business
  • arts and cultural heritage management
  • film/tv/radio 

This BA degree also qualifies you to explore exciting postgraduate options, at home and abroad. Some UCC options include:

Please see the CACSSS postgraduate study page for more information on a vast array of postgraduate programmes including PhD options for CACSSS graduates.


Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements

At least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishOther Language
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7
Additional Requirements

This is a restricted programme, all applicants must apply to the CAO on or before 1 February in the year of entry. Late applications cannot be considered.

Applicants must pass a music entrance exam and will be called for this automatically once the application is made through the CAO. The entrance exams are usually held in April of the incoming year.

EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest, and prospective students must also apply for and sit the Mature Student Evaluation (MSE) test. 

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

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

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