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Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

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B.A.; 15 places

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What is Music?

Music is a discipline that stretches back to the ancient world. One of the seven original liberal arts, music maintains a place in the University as a subject of broad and passionate interest to composers, sound artists, musicologists, performers, technologists, and theorists.

Music: The course for you?

Studying music will allow you to engage with a range of traditions to acquire a profound understanding of how music works in theory and in creative practice. If you are interested in understanding music’s place in society, developing music technology skills, writing music, or improving your skills as an informed performer, this course could be for you. A music degree will prepare you for a wide range of careers, in the creative arts, journalism, music production, arts management, research, and teaching.

Music @ Trinity

Trinity’s Music Department is Ireland’s oldest and most internationally renowned venue for the study of music. With a distinguished team of academics and practitioners, the department attracts Irish and international students of the highest calibre. Alumni include Derek Bell, harpist in the Chieftains; Niall Doyle, Head of Music at the Arts Council; Deborah Kelleher, Director of the Royal Irish Academy of Music; and Donnacha Dennehy, Assistant Professor of Music at Princeton University.

Our curriculum integrates practical musicianship with rigorous scholarship. We offer a balanced musical education that provides specialisation in three key areas – composition, music technology, and musicology (the historical and analytical study of music). The course includes a wide range of options, allowing students to focus on their chosen areas of interest. A particular strength is the department’s commitment to small group teaching, with many subjects taught in groups of ten students or fewer.

The facilities in the Music Department include a recital room, practice rooms, computer workstations, a recording studio, listening equipment, and a substantial lending collection of CDs and videos.

Since the Music Department became part of the School of Drama, Film, and Music in 2006 it has developed interdisciplinary connections, which include a jointly-taught undergraduate module in film production. Music is closely affiliated with the University-wide research theme of Creative Arts Practice. The department hosts the university’s Music Composition Centre and collaborates with the Lir (National Academy of Dramatic Art), as well as Trinity’s Arts and Technology Research Lab.

In 2013, the Royal Irish Academy of Music became an Associate College – a move designed to facilitate the development of an internationally renowned centre of excellence in performing arts. 2015 marked the appointment of Professor Jane Alden as Chair of Music, and a renewed commitment to social engagement and educational outreach.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

The employment record for Trinity’s graduates in Music is excellent. Recent alumni have established successful careers as composers, music producers (for television, radio, or recording companies), performers, conductors, administrators, teachers, and academics in institutions worldwide. Several recent graduates have been commissioned by organisations such as RTÉ. Trinity Music students have an outstanding record of obtaining scholarships for further study abroad as well as from the Arts Council of Ireland. Some have used the analytical and intellectual skills that a Music degree offers to build successful careers in medicine, law, financial investment, and public relations.

Your degree and what you’ll study

The single honour and two-subject courses (TSM) provide a thorough grounding in the basic skills of musicianship and academic study. Students receive extensive training in aural and keyboard skills, learn the history and theory of art music from the medieval period to the present day, and choose modules in jazz, rock, popular, vernacular, and world music. Taught performance modules (e.g. conducting) allow students to contextualise their practical skills. In the specialisations (composition, music technology, and musicology), students are closely supervised in their chosen area. Students may continue to take modules outside of their specialisation. All students complete a final year ‘capstone’ project.

Many musical activities take place on campus. In addition to performance opportunities, students can gain experience in arts administration, music production, and interdisciplinary collaborations. Many students come from non-classical backgrounds.


First year [optional]

Aural Training, History of Music, Introduction to Harmony, Introduction to Music Analysis, Keyboard Skills, Rudiments and Counterpoint, Style and Presentation.

Second year [optional]

The continuation of subjects from first year, and the addition of Instrumentation, Beginning Exploration of Specialist Area – Composition, Musicology, or Music Technology. Single honours students will also select a Broad Curriculum course (see; TSM students have a wide range of options.


Concentrated study in chosen specialisations, with possible options from other specialisations. Students can present a recital for up to 10% of their degree.

Recent options have included: Advanced Aural, Bob Dylan, Byrd and the Politics of Polyphony, Counterpoint and Fugue, Experimental Theatre and Contemporary Opera, Figured Bass, Film Music, Handel and the English Oratorio, Heavy Metal, Japanese Music, Java Programming, Nineteenth-Century German Lied, Rock Music History, and Sonata Structures.

In their specialisations, composers develop a variety of techniques; music technologists engage in theory and studio practice; and musicologists address history, culture, and theoretical subjects. Capstone projects take the form of, respectively, a portfolio of compositions, a major technology project, or a dissertation. More detailed information is available at:

Study abroad

Music students can apply to study abroad in European universities with the Erasmus programme (e.g., Royal Holloway University of London) and non-EU universities (University of Toronto, Peking University) via University-wide exchanges. The Department of Music is in the process of forming a partnership with a leading university in Malaysia.

Music students who study abroad find the experience hugely enjoyable, academically and culturally rewarding, and of value to prospective employers. Further information on study abroad can be found at:


Anyone considering studying Music is welcome to visit the department, to sit in on lectures, to speak to members of staff, and to meet current students. Office hours are 10.00-16.30, Monday to Friday. To make an appointment, please see our contact details below.


Tel: +353 1 896 1120

Social Media
Music Composition Centre on Twitter:


School of Drama, Film and Music Twitter:


What our graduates say

Eileen Hogan

“Being from Galway, obtaining a university music degree locally wasn’t an option. I am very glad that I chose Trinity for music studies. Since day one I have found the faculty inspiring, supportive, and willing to help. The course has allowed for many incredible opportunities that have aided my personal and musical development, including directing the music department’s chamber choir, The Campanile Consort, and attending seminars in Oxford University. Most recently, I have been granted a scholarship from Indiana University which will allow me to continue my studies with an MA in Musicology in the US.”

Course Options



Number of Places


CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is



TR002 - Music is a single honour course where music is read almost exclusively for four years.


See also:

TR009: Music education

Admission Requirements

For general admission requirements please click here

Restricted entry

This is a restricted entry course. Applications must be submitted by 1 February 2017

Applications must be submitted by 1 February of the proposed year of entry. Applicants will be required to attend an entrance examination, provisionally scheduled for 1 April 2017

Specimen examination papers are available for download from the Music Department website:


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.

Music, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 01/02/2017

Non-EU Applicants

  • Music, 4 years full-time Closing Date: 01/FEB/2017
  • Advanced Entry Applications

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

    CAO code (Central Applications Office code) is



    TR002 - Music is a single honour course where music is read almost exclusively for four years.


    See also:

    TR009: Music education