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

4 years full-time; 236 places; 495

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.

Is this the right course for you?

All students on the BESS programme take the same programme of study in the first year – this is called a common entry programme. This 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. 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 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.

Why Study B.E.S.S.?


  • 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 2014, and the Trinity MBA is in the top 40 globally (2013 QS Elite Global Business Schools).


  • 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 for Economics and Econometrics (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015).


  • 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 33rd in the world for Politics and International Studies (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015).


  • 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’s Sociology Department is ranked 1st in Ireland and in the top 150 in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015).

What will you 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).

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).

Dissertation/case study preparation.

BESS at a glance

Year 1 (6 modules)

  • Introduction to organisation and management
  • 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
  • Economics of public policy
  • Mathematics and statistics
Political science
  • History of political thought
  • International relations
  • Comparative politics
  • Gender, Work and Family
  • European societies
  • Introduction to social research
  • Power, state and social movements
Complementary modules
  • Central problems in philosophy
  • History of philosophy
  • Logic and philosophy of science
  • Social security policy
  • Health policy
  • Housing policy
  • Crime and Irish society
  • Children and Society
  • Language
  • Law
  • Broad Curriculum


Year 3 (6 modules)

Specialise in depth in 1 or 2 BESS disciplines


  • Financial and management accounting
  • Marketing management
  • Human resource management
  • Business in Society
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and new venture development
  • Management accounting for business decisions
  • Introduction to Fixed Income Securities and Alternative Investments
  • Surveying Finance
  • Services Management
  • Digital Technology in Operations
  • Organisation Theory and Organisational Theory and Analysis
  • 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
  • Representation and Public Opinion
  • Social theory
  • Globalisation and development
  • Researching society
  • Race, ethnicity and identity
  • Social inequality
Complementary modules
  • Comparative welfare states
  • Crime and social policy
  • Company law
  • Commercial law
  • International law
  • Information Systems (B.B.S. students)


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
  • Financial markets and the corporate sector
  • Advances in marketing theory and practice
  • Managing new product development
  • Social entrepreneurship and social innovation
  • Economic policy and business history
  • Economic theory
  • World economy
  • Economics of financial markets
  • Quantitative methods
  • International economics
  • Economic and legal aspects of competition policy
  • Applied economics
Political science
  • Contemporary political theories
  • Issues in contemporary politics
  • Contemporary international relations
  • African politics
  • Topics in political science
  • Chinese Politics
  • Research seminar
  • Sociology dissertation
  • Economic sociology of Europe
  • Conflict studies
  • Digital Lives and Social Networks
  • Migration
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.

Careers and postgraduate 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.

Further information

Web :


Phone: +353 1 896 1840


Graduate Profile

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.

Graduate Profile

Iseult Ward

Degree: BBS in Business Studies

I really enjoyed my time in BESS. I loved studying the various subjects in first year and then found that Business was my favourite one, which was why I specialized in it for the next three years. In third year, I founded a company FoodCloud. I was able to shape my final year courses to keep them relevant to my ‘new 'business', receiving great support from lecturers.


Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

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


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.

Mature Student – Supplementary Application Form

Read the information about how to apply as a mature student then select the link below to complete the TCD Supplementary Application Form for mature students.

Economic and Social Studies, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 01/FEB/2016

Non-EU Applicants

  • Economic and Social Studies, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 30/JUN/2016