UCC Postgraduate courses


About This Course

Fact File

  • Title


  • Code

    CKA20 Full-time; CKA33 Part-time

  • College

    Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

  • Duration

    1 year Full-time; 2 years Part-time

  • Teaching Mode

    Full-time, Part-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.

  • Qualifications

    HDip in Arts

  • EU Fees 2018

    See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    You will already have a degree, preferably in the area of arts or the social sciences See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Applications processed in rounds: See How To Apply section for full details

  • Start Date

    10 September 2018

Course Outline

The Higher Diploma in Arts (Music) is for graduates in subjects other than music who want to study music intensively at a level equivalent to that of a primary honours degree in music.  In this way, the Higher Diploma acts as an important conversion course between subject areas and enables graduates in non-music subjects to make themselves eligible for consideration subsequently for graduate courses in music at master’s and doctoral levels.

The course is an extremely flexible one that may be tailored to suit your interests and your aspirations for specialisation in music. It is ideal for those who have acquired skills in music in previous years and now wish to build on that experience and advance it to professional levels with the potential for a career in music or further postgraduate study.

Registration with the Teaching Council:  For applicants who are taking the Higher Diploma with a view to Teaching Council subject registration, the Higher Diploma in Arts Music is recognised by the Teaching Council for the purposes of a teaching subject at post primary level.  

The Higher Diploma in Arts programme consists of modules to the value of 60 credits taken from Levels 2 and 3 of the undergraduate BA degree.  The Higher Diploma in Arts is recognised by the Teaching Council for teacher registration provided candidates have completed modules to the value of at least 80 credits in the subject music.  Students who register for the Higher Diploma in Arts and wish to register the chosen subject with the Teaching Council must also register for an additional 20 credits of first year modules in that subject.  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Please note that the Higher Diploma in Arts programme is NOT the teacher training programme.  Graduates must complete the Professional Masters of Education to qualify as a secondary school teacher.  Please see www.ucc.ie/en/pec01 for further details.

This is a 60 credit course that may be taken full time over nine months (September to May) or part time over two academic years (September to May in each year). The modules are selected from the modules designed for UCC’s BMus and BA (Arts-Music) honours degree courses: 30 credits from level/year 2, and 30 credits from final year. HDip in Arts students share classes with our Music undergraduates, with identical course-requirements for the particular modules chosen. This makes for an ideal environment for study and personal growth: your experience is greatly enriched by the dynamic of working alongside other music students and collaborating with them in seminars, for instance, and in creative work (performance and/or composition).

Students accepted for the course are offered a range of options that are selected in consultation with the course coordinator and other staff. You are encouraged to select options that build on your existing interests in music but also help you to explore the subject further and develop a specialism, whether in an area of scholarship and/or in music performance and/or composition.

A special feature of our course is that each student takes two modules that are important ingredients of the final year of an honours degree course: a seminar class and a major study option under the supervision of a member of the Department’s staff. This option, the most substantial requirement of the course, can take a number of forms: a dissertation, a portfolio of compositions, a recital given in public, a music-technology project, etc. This advanced work is ideal as the bridge to postgraduate study in music.

Registration with the Teaching Council:  In general, if you wish to qualify as a teacher, you are advised to refer to the school curriculum and match the modules to that broad field. Modules are chosen in consultation with the programme coordinator in September.   For students who will wish to register the subject with the Teaching Council, the 20 credits of first year modules will be in addition to their Higher Diploma in Arts programme registration.  There will be no additional fee for students who register for the additional 20 credits with the Higher Diploma in Arts.  Students who have already completed 20 credits of first year modules in the subject as part of their primary degree will be exempt from the additional requirement to meet the Teacher Council requirements.

Many subjects have discipline-specific requirements and you are advised to check the requirements for the subject area by consulting the following:

Please see the College Book of Modules for information and descriptions of modules for the current academic year.


Additional Teaching Mode Information

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over 2 years.

Non-EU Applications

Applicants who are interested in applying for the programme can also apply online at PAC.

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students.


**All Applicants please note: modules listed in the course outline above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course, but these are subject to change from year to year. Please check the college calendar for the full academic content of any given course for the current year. 

In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools and departments. 

Course Practicalities

As well as attending classes for several hours per week during term-time, much of your time on this course is devoted to self-directed study (in preparation, for instance, for performance or composition classes, or for seminar participation and coursework submissions). All HDip students are also encouraged to participate in the Department’s Research Seminar series.


The Department of Music employs a wide range of assessment methods, matching the nature and requirements of its various course options. They include: continuous assessment and practical examinations for performance options; a portfolio of written and/or audio-visual submissions for composition options; written responses to set texts and to seminars and coursework that ranges from formal essays to learning journals. The major study option is assessed by a panel of staff and the external examiner for the course.

Who teaches this course

Statt:  Department of Music People

Why Choose This Course

This course is ideal, and unique in Ireland, for graduates in non-music subjects who want to qualify in music to degree level and beyond. Success in this course may be said to be the equivalent of acquiring a degree in music. Passing the course at a high level — with at least second class honours — makes you eligible to apply for master’s degrees at UCC and at other universities that hold a similar view about equivalence.

Our experience is that many of our students have valued music in their lives from a young age (as music-lovers, as performers) and retained a deep interest in music while preferring, on leaving school, to take a degree in another subject. After graduation, in seeking to return to the study of music, you are often highly motivated and will in time be excellent postgraduate students in music programmes, if that is your ambition.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Graduates must complete the Professional Master of Education teacher training programme to qualify as a secondary school teacher, please see http://www.ucc.ie/en/pec01

Skills and Careers Information

The skill sets of our HDip graduates vary enormously, depending on the modules chosen, the types of music studied, and the areas of study in which they specialise. In general terms these areas of speciality fall into the broad categories of music scholarship and teaching, music performance, and music composition.


It is intended for those who already have a degree, preferably in the area of Arts or the Sciences

The Higher Diploma in Arts is a conversion programme and applicants would not normally have studied the relevant subject to Honours Degree level previously.  

Important Note:  Please note that the Higher Diploma in Arts programme is NOT the postgraduate teacher training programme.  Graduates must complete the Professional Masters of Education to qualify as a secondary school teacher.  Please see www.ucc.ie/en/pec01for further details.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests. 

View the grades comparison table

Non-EU Candidates

Non-EU candidates are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to Irish university primary degree level. In addition, where such candidates 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 requirements for this programme please visit our qualification comparison pages.

For more detailed entry requirement information please refer to the International website .

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €6,000 .

Part-time students:

If your course is offered full time and part time, the fee for part time courses is half the full time fee.


If your course required a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second semester fee payment in January.

EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

How can I pay?

By Credit/Debit card online or by credit transfer.


If you have any questions on fee payment please email our Fees Office at fees@ucc.ie .

Non-EU Fees

The 2017/2018 Postgraduate Fees Schedule is available here

How Do I Apply

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course you can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications in early November of each year.

Questions on how to apply?

EU students contact graduatestudies@ucc.ie

International students contact internationaloffice@ucc.ie

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to answer specific additional supplementary questions as part of the online applications process for this programme. A copy of these supplementary questions are available to view here: CKA20AdditionalQuestions (50kB) and CKA33AdditionalQuestions (50kB)

Irish/EU Closing Date Rounds

Irish/EU places on this programme are offered in rounds. The closing dates for each round can be found here


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