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Course Fact File
Duration12 Months Full-time; 24 Months Part-time
Teaching ModeFull-time, Part-Time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start DateSeptember 2024

Course Outline

Our MA in Irish Traditional Music provides a holistic practical and theoretical immersion in Irish Traditional Music practice and scholarship. The programme draws on wide-ranging internationally-recognised expertise to offer a progressively flexible postgraduate pathway in Irish Traditional Music.

On this programme you will combine core studies with an impressively broad range of elective modules that can be tailored to suit your interests. In addition, you will have the opportunity to develop your creative practice through masterclasses with department staff and external visiting tutors, as well as undertake original scholarship informed by disciplines such as ethnomusicology, musicology, and artistic research.

Our Traditional Arts Internship module provides opportunities to gain professional experience working with relevant traditional arts organisations, while a Professional Development studies module equips you with the skillsets required to navigate sustainable careers as a music professional. Situated in a Music Department that has pioneered the study and practice of Irish Traditional Music for over a century, the programme also draws on departmental expertise in a uniquely wide range of music traditions and research areas.

The MA consists of 90 credits as follows:

Part I 

Core Modules (45 credits) 

  • MU6004 Performance Practice (15 credits)
  • MU6050 Performance Studies (10 credits)
  • MU6030 Research Skills (5 credits)
  • MU6051 Multidisciplinary Explorations of Irish Traditional Music (10 credits)
  • MU6052 Self-directed Irish Traditional Music Performance Practice (5 credits)

Elective Modules (15 credits)*

Choose 3 elective modules from the following options:

  • MU6054 Composing Irish Traditional Music (5 credits)
  • MU6055 The Harmonic Language of Irish Traditional Music (5 credits)
  • MU6056 Professional Development in the Traditional Arts Sector (5 credits)
  • MU6057 Traditional Arts Internship (5 credits)
  • MU6058 Collectors, Collections, and Fieldwork in Irish Traditional Music (5 credits)
  • MU2021 Foundations of Music Technology (5 credits)
  • MU2089 Studio Production Techniques (5 credits)
  • MU2112 Music Education (5 credits)
  • DR6052 Arts Project Management (5 credits)
  • MU2087 Loop, Repetition, and Variation in Music (5 credits)
  • MU6034 Multidisciplinary Debates in Musicology and Ethnomusicology (5 credits)
  • MU6104 Composing with Field Recordings (5 credits)
  • MU6047 Music Cognition and Perception in Culture (5 credits)
  • MU6031 Sound Studies and Musicology (5 credits)

Or 5 credits (to be approved by the programme coordinator and relevant module coordinator) in a relevant/related field selected from another UCC MA programme where the student meets the entrance requirements.

Students may not take elective modules which they have previously passed at the undergraduate level.

Part II
  • MU6053 Research/Creative Practice Project in Irish Traditional Music (30 credits)
Postgraduate Diploma in Irish Traditional Music (NFQ Level 9, Major Award)

Students who pass at least 60 credits of taught modules may elect to exit the programme and be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Irish Traditional Music.

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search 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

The MA in Irish Traditional Music may be taken full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 months from the date of first registration for the programme.

All teaching is delivered in lectures, small group seminars, ensemble classes, and tutorials, and in one-on-one lessons and supervision. Students can expect eight to twelve hours of class contact time each week, depending on the ensembles studied, concerts presented, and frequency of supervision meetings.

Part-time Option

The part-time option will be taught during weekday working hours over two years. The course structure for part-time students is subject to agreement with the Department of Music.


All assessment is based on continuous assessment methods. You are assessed on coursework submitted, including essays, research papers, presentations, music performances and/or recordings, coursework portfolios, and attendance and contribution to class discussions.

Who teaches this course

For over a century, our Department of Music has been internationally renowned as a centre of excellence for the study of Irish traditional music. Our staff are embedded in community and industry practice and are respected specialists in the fields of performance, composition, and academic research.

Our teaching staff at UCC include:

Why Choose This Course

I have the warmest memories of being a music student at UCC, where I was inspired and supported by Department Staff, in an exceptionally creative environment.

Caitlín Nic Gabhann, Professional traditional musician, composer, & educator

Our MA in Irish Traditional Music draws on a uniquely broad range of internationally renowned expertise to develop your skills and knowledge in areas such as creative practice, academic scholarship, professional training, music education, and community engagement.

We integrate creative practice and academic research so that core modules combine both practical and theoretical studies of Irish traditional music. We also offer an eclectic choice of elective modules allowing you to identify personalised study pathways to develop skills most relevant to your creative practice and research ambitions.

Our Irish Traditional Music Archive at UCC is home to over three thousand audio and video materials and our MA Irish Traditional Music students have an opportunity to gain significant archival and collecting experience by undertaking fieldwork projects. The Pauline Oliveros Sound Studio equips students with direct practical experience in a professional recording studio environment.

Skills and Careers Information

Postgraduate students join a thriving research culture in our Department, in the diverse artistic and cultural hub that is Cork city. Focusing on a combination of academic, creative practice, and transferrable professional skills allows students to develop unique and distinctive profiles that can contribute meaningfully to multiple national and international communities of practice engaged in Irish Traditional Music.

Our MA in Irish Traditional Music graduates pursue a wide range of careers in the creative arts, academia, culture industries, and media. Many have applied successfully for PhDs in Ireland or overseas. Our graduates include professional performers, composers, academics, educators, arts managers, and music industry professionals.


Applicants must have a Second Class Honours Grade 2 in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8), in music or a related subject (such as, but not exclusively, anthropology, folklore, or cultural studies).

Consideration under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may also be given to applicants who do not meet the above entry requirements but who have relevant professional experience, such as musicians of high standing or those with a relevant and demonstrable track record in the traditional arts sector. 

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

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

  • 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.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


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

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

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

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

All eligible applicants will be interviewed and when applying, required to submit a portfolio of creative works, recordings, and/or research. Interviews may be conducted in-person or online and each candidate will be interviewed by two members of the programme team. At the interview stage, applicants will discuss their previous artistic and academic experience and interests, as well as outline their motivations and ambitions for undertaking an MA in Irish Traditional Music.


The portfolio should consist of three examples of your work, and it should be uploaded to the web (using services such as DropBox or similar). You should provide a URL address in the online supplementary portfolio question. Please ensure that the link will not expire before the application process is complete. In addition to providing a URL to the online portfolio, applicants will be required to write a very short commentary about each example of work.

Submissions that cannot be uploaded to the web can be posted directly to the Programme Director: Dr Jack Talty, Music Department, School of Music and Theatre, UCC, Cork, Republic of Ireland. Mark the envelope with your PAC application number and indicate in your supplementary answer that you will be posting hardcopy materials. Please note that these materials cannot be returned to you.

Additional Information

You will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.
  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Please detail your research interest(s). 
  • Please enter the names and email addresses of two referees.

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact