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Business, economic and social studies (BESS) common entry degree programme leading to 10 degree options

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What is Business, Economic and Social Studies (B.E.S.S.)?

B.E.S.S. is a uniquely flexible degree programme offering you 10 different degree options across the disciplines of Business, Economics, Political Science and Sociology. It provides students with a broad education, allowing them to opt for either a single honour or joint honour degree. It also offers a high level of flexibility in two very important ways: from the second year onwards students are allowed to (a) choose the specific degree they wish to take and, (b) choose individual modules within their chosen degree path. Students, therefore, have an opportunity to adjust their study programmes in accordance with their academic results, interests, aptitudes and emerging career aspirations.

B.E.S.S.: The course for you?

The disciplines of Business, Economics, Political Science and Sociology all look at the world around us, analysing how it works and how to achieve certain ends. Where they differ is in the things they look at and the way they examine them. In your first year as a B.E.S.S. student, you will be introduced to the way that each discipline approaches the complex world that we live in. From the second year onwards, the flexible programme structure allows you to choose the disciplines that appeal to you, along with the specific topics that interest you, through a wide range of modules within each discipline. Graduates invariably tell us that it is this broad, flexible approach that allowed them to build the knowledge and insights that they rely on progressively as they advance to more senior positions in their careers.

B.E.S.S. @ Trinity


  • Top international professors and leading business people engage with the students, challenge them and guide them into top roles within the business world. Past students are now leaders in the world of business, government, entertainment, technology, innovation and non-profit businesses.
  • The Trinity Business School is ranked 1st in Ireland and 16th in Western Europe by Eduniversal 2015-16


  • Many of the economic problems which dominate the headlines are engaged within this discipline. Economics blends together theory, data and statistical techniques to help understand economic problems and to make policy recommendations.
  • Trinity is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the top 150 universities in the world.  The Economics Department is ranked joint first In Ireland, in the top 40 In Europe and in the top 150 in the world for Economics and Econometrics (2016 QS World University Rankings).


  • Politics affects us all in our daily lives. Should government tax the rich for greater equality? Should the amount of money the EU spends on agriculture be cut? Questions such as these, along with analysis of political systems and how democracy works, are at the heart of the study of politics.
  • Trinity is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the world top 100.  The Political Science Department is ranked 15th in Europe and 43rd in the world for Politics and International Studies (2016 QS World University Rankings).


  • Sociology is the study of social change and the consequences of human behaviour. When you study Sociology you will get the opportunity to analyse people and societies, exploring areas as diverse as migration, race and gender, conflict studies, digitalisation, identities and employment studies.
  • Trinity is ranked 1st in Ireland and the Sociology Department is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the top 40 in Europe and in the top 100 in the world (2016 QS World University Rankings).

Graduate skills and career opportunities

From a career perspective B.E.S.S. is an extremely flexible and practical degree programme. Graduates are also highly sought after by employers in a range of fields, such as in finance and banking, politics, research, management consulting, teaching, public service, journalism, within both national and international organizations within the profit, not for profit and public sector. Graduates have gone on to successful and rewarding careers in varied roles around the globe. The following are just a few examples of the organisations that have recruited B.E.S.S. graduates: Accenture, Alcatel, Cisco, Barclay’s Bank, Commission for Energy Regulation, Enterprise Ireland, Google, KPMG, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Tesco, Topshop, Channel 4 and Atlantic Philanthropies.

In addition, many B.E.S.S. graduates have gone on to postgraduate study at leading universities around the world such as the London School of Economics, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Warwick.
See: for further details.

Your degree and what you’ll study

Year 1

Explore your options

A common first year introduces students to a wide range of options. You will study the following 4 disciplines:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology

Also choose one complementary module from Law, Social Policy, Language (French, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian).
Access to all 10 degree options is completely open at the end of the first year.

Year 2

Choose your pathway

Learn the core skills in up to three* of the following disciplines: Business, Economics, Political Science, and Sociology.

While you will mainly focus on your chosen single honour or joint honour discipline(s), you may select some modules from other disciplines.

Single Honour

Choose 1 of:

  • Business
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
Joint Honour

Choose 1 of the following 6 combinations:

  • Business and Economics
  • Business and Political Science
  • Sociology and Business
  • Economics and Political Science
  • Economics and Sociology
  • Political Science and Sociology

Complementary modules available in Law, Social Policy, Languages, Philosophy, Broad Curriculum.

Module choices here determine which disciplines you can pursue in subsequent years.

Year 3

Focus on your chosen Single Honour or Joint Honour disciplines

Choose the six modules that interest you in your chosen discipline(s).

Business, Economics, Political Science, Sociology

Option to study abroad – France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Sweden, Netherlands, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong.

Year 4

Research based development of core area(s)

Focus in depth on a few topics from your chosen discipline(s).

Business, Economics, Political Science, Sociology

Dissertation/case study preparation.

BESS at a glance

Year 1 (6 modules)

  • Fundamentals of Management and Organisation

  • Introduction to economics
  • Mathematics and statistics
Political science
  • Introduction to political science
  • Introduction to sociology

Complementary modules

Choose one subject from:

  • Law
  • Social policy
  • Intro to Central, East European and Russian Area studies
  • Language (French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish)

Year 2 (6 modules)

Choose 1 or 2 B.E.S.S. disciplines

  • Organisational Behaviour
  • Introduction to Marketing Principles
  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Introduction to Finance
  • Introduction to Operations Management
  • Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Action
  • Intermediate Economics
  • Economy of Ireland
  • Mathematics and Statistics
Political science
  • History of Political Thought
  • International Relations
  • Comparative Politics
  • Gender, Work and Family
  • Social Theory
  • Introduction to Social Research
  • Power, State and Social Movements
Complementary modules
  • Central Problems in Philosophy
  • History of Philosophy
  • Logic and Philosophy of Science
  • European Refugee Policy
  • Analysis Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Housing Policy
  • Crime and Irish Society
  • Language
  • Law
  • Broad Curriculum (see page 19)



Year 3 (6 modules)

Specialise in depth in 1 or 2 BESS disciplines

  • Management Accounting for business decisions
  • Financial Accounting
  • Human Resource Management
  • Business in Society
  • Innovation, Entrepreneurship and New Venture Development
  • Introduction to Fixed Income Securities and Alternative Investments
  • Corporate Finance and Equity Valuation
  • Services Management
  • Digital Technology in Operations
  • Organisation Theory and Organisational Theory and Analysis
  • Investments
  • Contemporary Marketing Management
  • Marketing for Different Organisational and Business Contexts
  • Management Experiencee and Reflection
  • Personal and Professional Development (B.B.S. students)
  • Economic Analysis
  • Money and Banking
  • European Economy
  • Economics of Less Developed Countries
  • Investment Analysis
  • Economics of Policy Issues
  • Industrial Economics
  • Mathematical Economics
  • Econometrics
Political science
  • Research Methods for Political Scientists
  • Irish Politics
  • Democracy and Development
  • European Union Politics
  • Government and Politics of the USA
  • Social Stratification and Inequalities
  • Globalisation and Development
  • Researching Society
  • Race, Ethnicity and Identity
  • Comparative Sociology in Europe
Complementary modules
  • Life Courses and Evolving Welfare States   
  • Company Law
  • Commercial Law
  • International Law

Year 4 (4 modules)

Specialise in depth in 1 or 2 BESS disciplines

  • International Business and the Global Economy
  • Exploring Organisational Experiences
  • Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Business Dissertation
  • Advances in Marketing Theory and Practice
  • Managing New Product Development
  • Social Innovation and Social Impact
  • Derivatives and International Finance
  • Economic Theory
  • World Economy
  • Development Economics
  • Economics of Financial Markets
  • Quantitative Methods
  • International Economics
  • Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition Policy
  • Applied Economics
  • Economics Dissertation 
Political science
  • Contemporary Political Theories
  • Issues in Contemporary Politics
  • Contemporary International Relations
  • African Politics
  • Topics in Political Science
  • Chinese Politics
  • The Politics of Policy Making
  • Research Seminar
  • Sociology Dissertation
  • Economic Sociology of Europe
  • Conflict Studies
  • Digital Lives and Social Networks
  • Migration,Mobilities and Redistribution
Complementary modules (available as electives)
  • Poverty, Inequality and Redistribution


In second year, single honour students take approximately half of their modules from their preferred discipline, leaving them free to choose their remaining modules from one or more of the other three disciplines.

In third and fourth years, students take the majority of their modules from their chosen discipline but, in keeping with the B.E.S.S. philosophy of flexibility, there is significant scope to choose modules which appeal most from the range of available modules.


Throughout years 2, 3 and 4, joint honour students take approximately half of their modules from each of the two disciplines they select. Since module choices may be made from among the full range available in two disciplines, the joint honour programmes offer exceptionally high flexibility with regard to programme design and module choice.


Most B.E.S.S. modules involve a system of continuous assessment, essays, projects and/or presentations contributing between 30% to 50% of the overall grade per module. The remainder is based on the results of a written end-of-year examination.

Study abroad and language options

First and second year B.E.S.S. students have the option to study French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in their third year at prestigious universities in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium or Spain, as well as English-speaking international exchange programmes to prestigious universities in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia (China, Hong Kong and Japan). Some of the more popular universities are Uppsala University, Sweden; Emory University, Georgia, Senshu University, Japan; IEP – Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, France; QUT Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.




Phone: +353 1 896 1298

What our graduates say

Peter Robert Gardner

“I was originally attracted to the B.E.S.S. programme because it would provide me with a broad base of subjects in first year, with modules in Economics, Sociology, Business, Political Science, and a choice between Law and a language, whilst allowing me to specialise in a single subject by fourth year.”


Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Leaving Certificate    O4/H6 Mathematics
GCSE    Grade B Mathematics
Other EU examination systems    See


To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below

EU Applicants

Read the information about how to apply, then apply directly to CAO.

Non-EU Applicants

  • Economic and Social Studies, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 30/JUN/2018
  • Advanced Entry Applications

    Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.