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Admission Requirements

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

Course overview

BESS is a uniquely flexible programme offering 10 different degree options: Business (B.B.S.) and nine other (single honor and joint honor) possibilities, in the disciplines of Business, Economics, Political science and Sociology (see Degree options, below). It provides students with a broadly-based education, offering a high level of flexibility in two very important ways from the second year onwards: (a) in choosing the specific degree you wish to read; and, (b) in choosing individual modules.

Is this the right course for you?

The common first year of BESS introduces you to a broad range of disciplines that will help you make sense of the complex world in which we live today. It gives you the freedom to discover and develop interests that you may not be aware you have until you enter university. From the second year onwards, the flexible structure of the BESS programme allows you to pursue these specific interests in greater breadth and depth while still retaining considerable freedom over the selection of individual modules. Graduates of former years invariably tell us that it is this broad flexible approach that allowed them build the knowledge and insights that they rely on progressively as they advance to more senior positions in their careers.

Course content

The common first year

Students take six modules:

  • Economics
  • Political science
  • Organisation and management
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics and statistics
  • Law OR Social policy OR Introduction to Central, East European and Russian Area studies OR a language*

*French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish (For French and German a grade HC2 in the Leaving Certificate, or C at A-Level is required. For Spanish a grade HB3 in the Leaving Certificate, or B at A-Level is required. Russian and Polish are only available to non-native speakers as they are taught at beginners level).

Lectures are complemented by smaller tutorial/seminar groups in which you will work throughout the academic year. In this way BESS students are provided with the best of both worlds: lectures deliver authoritative summaries of material which is then analysed in detail in small groups.

Degree options

After the common first year, BESS leads to the following 10 degree options.

Single honor degrees
  • Business (B.B.S.)
  • Economics
  • Political science
  • Sociology
Joint honor degrees (combining any two of the above four disciplines)
  • Business and Economics
  • Economics and Political science
  • Political science and Sociology
  • Sociology and Business
  • Business and Political science
  • Economics and Sociology

Features of the BESS degree structure:

  • Access to all 10 degree options is completely open and unrestricted at the end of the common first year.
  • Through judicious choice of subjects and associated modules after the common first year, it is possible to keep open up to three of the ten BESS degree options throughout the second year, thus facilitating the postponement of a final choice until the beginning of the third year. Students therefore have an opportunity to adjust their study programmes in accordance with their academic results, interests, aptitudes and emerging career aspirations.
  • Consultations with your personal tutor, lecturers and the Careers Advisory Service help to ensure that informed choices are made.

Years 2-4

The table 'BESS at a glance' (see above) gives you a sense of the richness and diversity of modules that are available within BESS in the second, third and fourth years, including complementary modules offered by other disciplines.

The total number of modules available to choose from each year is roughly as follows: Year 2: 20 modules, Year 3: 30 modules, Year 4: 40 modules.

This portfolio of modules illustrates the range of more specialised modules that are available in the later years. A small number of these modules are considered to be 'core subjects' for particular cdegree options and are designated as mandatory for that degree.

Choosing modules - single honor degrees:

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

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

Choosing modules - joint honor degrees:

Throughout years 2-4, joint honor students take about 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, joint honour programmes offer exceptionally high flexibility with regard to programme design and module choice.

Final year dissertation/case study:

In the final year, students may be required or permitted to write a dissertation or prepare a case study. This allows students to research a particular subject, issue or company in greater depth, at the same time providing an excellent opportunity to position oneself for a career in a specific sector or for postgraduate study.


Most BESS modules involve a system of continuous assessment, research-based essays, projects and presentations contributing up to 50% of the overall grade for the year. The remainder is based on results of written end-of-year examinations.

Why choose the Trinity College School of Business?

When you decide on a career in business you need to ensure that you have the best preparation to succeed. This includes the quality of your education to enable you to perform to the highest standards. It also includes having a globally recognised qualification that provides you with first class education and a network of global contacts to open the business world to you on your graduation. Thus, you need to align yourself with one of the world's best and most widely recognised universities. The Trinity College School of Business is ranked 1st in Ireland (Eduniversal Rankings, 2012), 11th in Europe (Financial Times Business School Rankings, 2011), and 35th in the World (Eduniversal Rankings, 2012).

We have a host of top international professors and leading business people who engage with the students, challenge them and guide them into top roles in the global business world. Past Trinity College School of Business students are now leaders in the world of business, government, entertainment, technology, innovation and non-profit businesses, both in Ireland and internationally. So by joining the Trinity College School of Business you give yourself a wonderful education in one of the top universities in the world; you give yourself the opportunity to hear some of the world’s leading experts in business; and you leave with a core knowledge of the real world through case studies, company projects and an international dimension through our study aboard programme.

Languages and study abroad

Many students in BESS have the opportunity to study abroad in their third year. First and second year BESS students have the option to study French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish. Students who have the prerequisite language proficiency may apply to participate in an Erasmus exchange programme. This will mean spending all or part of the third year abroad at a university in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Russia or Spain.

BESS also offers English-speaking international exchange programmes to prestigious universities in Europe, North America, Australia and in Asia (China, Hong Kong and Japan).

There are a limited number of places available on a degree programme involving an extended period of study at the École des Haute Etudes Commerciales (HEC). This leads to the double award of the degree of B.A. (Moderatorship) or the Bachelor in Business Studies (B.B.S.) from Trinity College Dublin and a postgraduate qualification from the partner institution.

Career opportunities

BESS is your roadmap to a wide and varying career. About 50% of our graduates proceed to further study in masters and doctoral programmes both in Ireland and abroad. The remaining 50% enter a diverse range of employment opportunities in areas such as:

Accountancy, Banking and corporate finance, International organisations, Journalism, Law, Marketing, Management consulting, Politics, Public service, Teaching, Policy bodies, and Voluntary organisations. See for further details.

The BESS multidisciplinary approach will help you build valuable career skills such as the ability to communicate effectively, work in and lead teams, conduct research and analyse complex problems – all of which will prepare you for rapid advancement within the flexible career structures that are the hallmark of modern employment.

Further information Tel: +353 1 896 1840 E-mail:

BESS at a glance

Year 2 (6 modules)

  • Organisational behaviour/principles of marketing
  • Introduction to accounting/financial analysis
  • Introduction to finance/introduction to operations management
  • Intermediate economics
  • Economy of Ireland
  • Economics of public policy
  • Mathematics and statistics
Political science
  • History of political thought
  • International relations
  • Comparative politics
  • Gender, culture and society
  • European societies
  • Introduction to social research
Complementary modules (available as electives)
  • Central problems in philosophy
  • History of philosophy
  • Logic and philosophy of science
  • Social security policy
  • Health policy
  • Housing policy
  • Crime and Irish society
  • Language option (1 of 5)
  • Law
  • Broad Curriculum options (see

Year 3 (6 modules)

  • Financial and management accounting
  • Applied finance
  • Marketing management
  • Human resource management
  • Organisation theory
  • Services and information management
  • Business in Society
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and new venture development
  • 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
  • Social theory
  • Globalisation and development
  • Researching society
  • Race, ethnicity and identity
  • Social policy and inequality
Complementary modules (available as electives)
  • Comparative welfare states
  • Crime and social policy
  • Company law
  • Commercial law
  • International law

Year 4 (4 modules)

  • International business and the global economy
  • Exploring organisational experiences
  • Financial reporting and analysis
  • Financial markets and the corporate sector
  • Advances in marketing theory and practice
  • Managing new product development
  • Social entrepreneurship and social innovation
  • Economic theory
  • Economics of financial markets
  • Transport economics
  • Quantitative methods
  • International economics
  • Monetary thought and policy
  • Economic and legal aspects of competition policy
  • Economics dissertation
Political science
  • Contemporary political theories
  • Political parties
  • Issues in contemporary politics
  • Contemporary international relations
  • African politics
  • The politics of inequality
  • Research seminar
  • Sociology dissertation
  • Economic sociology of Europe
  • Conflict studies
  • Popular culture and digital lives
  • Migration
Complementary modules (available as electives)
  • Poverty, inequality and redistribution

Full module details are available via


Specific Entry Requirements

Leaving CertificateOC3/HD3 Mathematics
GCSEGrade B Mathematics
Other EU examination systemsSee

Graduate Profile

Name: Susan Murray
Course: TR081
Degree: B.A. (Mod) Joint Honors Sociology and Business
Employer: Digital Design, St Petersburg, Russia

Leaving cert year is stressful enough without having to decide on a future career path! The degree options available dazzled me and at best, confused my intentions towards any particular vocation. It was then I decided not to close my options too soon, and make the decision at a later stage.

BESS afforded me with this option. I was confident I could make a better informed decision if I sampled several subjects from different faculties before making the 'ultimate' choice. I fancied myself studying business, but was always curious about international politics, and even accounting seemed enticing! My first year in BESS gave me an invaluable insight into a multiplicity of business related subjects as well as an introduction to social and political science.

To my surprise, my original intentions of pursuing business altered through trying other subjects I never would have thought to do before university. That's mainly how BESS ended up being such a great decision for me - it set me in the right direction. I chose to follow a degree in Sociology, intertwined with similarly related business subjects (e.g. Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, Management and the European Labour Market). This combination would never have appealed to me before university, but was positively the right choice for me career wise.

The world is your oyster being a BESS graduate! It does not confine you to Ireland, or indeed Europe. The degree prepares you well. My extensive knowledge of international markets and international relations presented me with many opportunities to experience professional life abroad. Who would have thought I would be living and working in Russia?

Graduate Profile

Paschal Donohoe, TD

"I graduated from Trinity College in 1996 with a degree in Economics and Politics. After this I worked in sales and marketing in the UK and Ireland, completing this part of my career as a Sales and Marketing Director for a multinational company. I was elected to Dublin City Council in 2004, participated in the General Election of 2007 and was elected to Seanad Eireann that year. My degree and education in politics and economics has been invaluable in my political and business career. It has given me an appreciation of the importance of ideas in influencing people and the role they play in decisively influencing the quality of our society. My experience of participating in tutorials and the preparation of essays and dissertations also help me develop rigour in written and oral argument, skills which are invaluable in public and private life."

Graduate Profile

Name: Cormac Henderson
Course: TR081
Degree: B.A. (Mod) Joint Honors Business and Economics
Employer: Danone, London

Today I am working for a global food and drinks company, a door which was opened by the careers office in Trinity. In my opinion, I can sincerely say that I could not have been more prepared from a degree perspective. I majored in business and economics. A good economic understanding is very useful in building a sound business foundation. Economics can build the foundations for a good business awareness. This is a solid base for any bidding entrepreneur. My economic background increases my confidence in judgement and hence taking initiative.

Having not specialised in any particular business function at an early stage of my degree, I gained a thorough understanding of every business function - from finance to marketing, from logistics to customer services both national and international level. In BESS, we were taught how global business units function together as the same company. This broad understanding benefits me in my role today, but will be of even greater advantage as I move towards senior management where a cross-functional knowledge is vital.

For me, BESS was a great way to keep my options open while also enabling me to focus on a single module should I wish to take a more specialised approach. It can take time to realise your strengths at college.

No matter what the goal of the school leaver, all BESS undergraduates will learn the basics of political thought, economics, business and sociology - all of which have implications in any future career. Essentially, the student will often make a more informed decision and ultimately get a better result from what they choose to study.

In my view, this is crucial to any undergraduate. How can you really know if you like or excel at a subject, if you have never studied it at third level?

For me, by making the right choice to study BESS, it resulted in doing what I liked most in my final year. And when I eventually went for job interviews I was confident that I knew what I was talking about. This was how BESS helped me start my career path.

Oh, and of course, the BESS social life was second to none and this is as important a part of student life as any!

Graduate Profile

Name: Brian Lucey

I chose BESS (ESS as it then was) because I knew some family friends who had gone there and they were very enthusiastic that one could choose different paths after first year according to what one was interested in and good at. I had a great time at TCD, although studying economics I could have applied the marginal cost (of staying late in the library) v marginal benefit (of socialising) concepts a bit more! The courses laid the foundation for what has been a most enjoyable and challenging career.

I had taken economics at school but never really took math, graduating with a B in pass maths. The quality and relevance of the maths and economics teaching in the first two years lit an enthusiasm in me for seeing the world through the lens of economics. Being involved a little also with the politics society and the SVP gave me a good balance to see that economics is truly a social science.

Following graduation I spent some time in Canada, returned and got a job as an AO in the Dept of Health, then did a masters in UCD, got a job in the Central Bank, did some teaching and started getting interested in research, got some publications and a job in the Business School in TCD in 1992. There I remained, doing a PhD in Stirling in Scotland along the way, being a quite academic until the events of 2008. Somehow, and this is proof that we slipped into a parallel universe, I have become involved in media....which goes to show, you never know where your career will take you.