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BESS - Business, Economics and Social Studies (TR081)

BESS is the only university degree in Ireland where students can combine the study of business, economics, political science and sociology. It is a uniquely flexible programme offering students 10 different degree options across these four disciplines.


What is BESS?

The BESS (Bachelor in Economic and Social Studies) programme offers students a broad-based education in business, economics, political science and sociology in the first year. After this students can adjust their module options to reflect their academic strengths, interests and emerging career aspirations. This unique aspect of the programme gives students the time to engage with all four areas and then the opportunity to specialise to a high level solely in political science (single honours) or to combine with the study of business, economics or sociology (joint honours).

Course Structure

BESS 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.

You can find out more on the course structure section of the BESS website.

Is it for me?

BESS introduces you to a broad range of disciplines that will help you make sense of the complex world in which we live today. The course will appeal to students who are excited about the challenges of understanding the way societies are organised, create wealth and are governed.

BESS graduates are highly sought after by employers and many former students are now leaders in the fields of business, government, technology, the media and academia. See here for information on some Political Science alumni.

What are the entry requirements?

With 236 places available in the programme, the points requirements for admission in recent years have been: 2017 520 points; 2018 511 points; 2019 519 points; 2020 543 points. Please note the special entry requirements of Leaving Certificate - OC3/HD3 Mathematics or GCSE - Grade B Mathematics. Please visit the Study at Trinity website for additional details regarding admissions requirements.

Programme Requirements

Programme Requirements (Political Science) for 2020–21

You may only choose a Degree Pathway / Route that is consistent with what you chose in the previous year(s) i.e. modules chosen in a given year may determine the range of modules available to you in subsequent years. See the requirements for those starting the course before/after 2019 here.

Please note that Semester 1 and 2 modules may have co-requisites and prerequisites. Where two modules are co-requisites, you must take both A and B modules, for instance POU33011 and POU33012.

  • In your Senior Fresh year, you have the option of substituting 10 ECTS (5 ECTS in semester 1 and 5 ECTS in Semester 2) Political Science modules with Trinity Electives of the same weight, equally distributed across Semester 1 and 2. For a full list of Trinity Electives available in 2020–21 please consult relevant web page here. Online enrolment opens in April for 2 weeks.
  • Students are required to complete an Independent Research Project, or dissertation / capstone, in either their Junior Sophister or Senior Sophister year. Modules identified as IRP, across the two years, qualify as meeting this requirement. You are only required to choose one such module, whether from the Junior Sophister or Senior Sophister years, and it may be chosen from any of the degree disciplines.
  • In your Junior Sophister year, you will be required to choose your degree pathway: whether Single Honour or Joint Honour. If you choose Single Honour Pathway, you are required to complete POU33011 and POU33012 (Research Methods A & B) and an additional 20 ECTS of optional Political Science modules. If you choose the Joint Honour Pathway, you are required to study 30 ECTS overall of Political Science modules; students intending to take POU44000 (Year Long Research Project / Capstone) in their Senior Sophister year must take POU33011 and POU33012 (Research Methods A & B).
  • In Senior Sophister year, students registered in the Political Science Single Honour Pathway are required to compete POU44000 Year Long Research Project / Capstone, POU44010 Issues in Contemporary Politics and an additional 30 ECTS of optional Political Science modules. Conversely, students registered in the Political Science Joint Honour Pathway may take POU44000 Year Long Research Project / Capstone only if they are not taking a dissertation / capstone in their other subject.. Those students are required to complete 30 ECTS overall of Political Science modules

Under no circumstances are students permitted to take clashing modules (following publication of lecture timetable) - you must be free to attend every scheduled lecture, tutorial and seminar. Overlaps in timetable are not permitted and you will be unenrolled in clashing modules. The Department of Political Science reserve the right to withdraw or introduce new modules.