Business, Economics and Social Studies

B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree in Economic and Social Studies (B.E.S.S.) (NFQ Level 8) or B.B.S. Honours Bachelor Degree in Business Studies (NFQ Level 8)
4 Years Full-Time
236 Places
CAO Points 553 (2023)
CAO Code TR081


Applications for this course have now closed because all available places have been filled.

What is Business, Economic and Social Studies (BESS)?

BESS is a uniquely flexible degree programme offering you different degree options across the disciplines of Business, Economics, Political Science and Sociology. It provides students with a broad education and you specialise and graduate with a Single Honours or Joint Honours degree with another subject, or a Major with a Minor. 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.

BESS: The course for you?

The disciplines of Business, Economics, Political Science and Sociology all examine the world around us, analysing how it works and asking the big questions.

Where they differ is in the things they look at and the way they examine them. In your first year as a BESS student, you will be introduced to each discipline’s unique but complimentary approach to studying 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.

BESS at Trinity

BESS is jointly delivered by the Trinity Business School and the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy:


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.


Many of the economic problems which dominate the headlines are explored within this discipline. Economics blends together theory, data and statistical techniques to help understand economic problems and to make policy recommendations.

Political Science

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.


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.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

From a career perspective BESS is an extremely flexible and practical degree programme. Graduates are also highly sought after by employers in a range of fields, such as finance and banking, politics, research, management consulting, teaching, public service, and journalism. 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 BESS 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.

Your degree and what you’ll study:

First and second years

In the first year you will take all four subjects: Business, Economics, Political Science and Sociology.

In second year you can choose to continue with one, two or three subjects and could, for example, take modules ranging from Intermediate Economics to International Politics, to an Introduction to Social Theory and modules from a list of available Trinity Electives or complementary/open modules.

Third and fourth years

In third year, you choose your degree pathway and pursue either two or one of the four subjects, and if applicable, choose complementary open modules.

In the fourth year, you may choose to take one or two subject and can exit with a Single Honours, Major with Minor or Joint Honours award. All students will complete a Capstone project in their final year.

Third and fourth year enter your degree at 30% to 70% respectively.

Choosing modules for a Single Honours degree option

In second year, Single Honours students, as well as taking modules from their preferred discipline, also select 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 BESS philosophy of flexibility, there is significant scope to choose modules which appeal most from the range of available modules.

Choosing modules for the Joint Honours degree options

Throughout third and fourth year, Joint Honours students take approximately half of their modules from each of the two disciplines. Major with Minor students have more modules in their major discipline throughout third and fourth year. Since module choices may be made from among the full range available in two disciplines, the Joint Honours and Major with Minor degree routes offer exceptionally high flexibility with regard to programme design and module choice.

Most BESS 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-semester examination.

There are QQI/FET routes available for this course. Please see for details.

Click here for further information on modules/subject.

Study abroad and language options

First and second year BESS students have the option to study Irish, French, German, Spanish, Russian or Polish. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in their third year at leading 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.

Further information on the year abroad programme can be found at:

Study Business, Economics, and Social Studies (B.ESS) at Trinity College Dublin

This is a short lecture on the Business, Economics, and Social Studies (BESS) undergraduate programme at Trinity College Dublin provided by the Academic Director, Professor Jan Skopek.

Course Details


B.A. Honours Bachelor Degree in Economic and Social Studies (B.E.S.S.) (NFQ Level 8) or B.B.S. Honours Bachelor Degree in Business Studies (NFQ Level 8)

CAO Information

CAO Points 553 (2023) CAO Code TR081

Number of Places

236 Places
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Admission Requirements

Leaving Certificate:

O4/H6 Mathematics


Grade B/6 Mathematics

International Baccalaureate:

SL Grade 5 Mathematics

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of undergraduate fees.


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.

Get in Touch


Register Your Interest

Register your interest in studying at Ireland’s leading university, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin.

Register Your Interest

As someone with no previous knowledge of economics, sociology or politics, I was quite worried starting this course. However, in first year these disciplines are explored at a very broad introductory level which I found very manageable and interesting. As a result of this, I gained valuable knowledge in these disciplines and I also carried on studying economics, which I will now be taking alongside business for final year. BESS is a great choice for those of you who are unsure what you want to do; with so many different options and modules to choose from many students end up discovering an interest in subjects that they initially may have been unaware of.

David Gannon

Current Student

There were a variety of factors that made the decision to choose Trinity a simple one. Firstly, Trinity is the only university in Ireland which allows you to graduate with a degree in both Business and Economics through the BESS programme which is what I wanted to do. Secondly, Trinity has a strong reputation both in Ireland and across the globe and I knew graduating from such a reputable university would give me the widest variety of employment opportunities possible.

Matt Fitzsimons

Current Student

It was the flexibility and broad subject options of the BESS programme that encouraged me to study at Trinity. After experiencing modules in business, economics, sociology, and political science in my first year, I decided to specialise in business and economics for the remainder of my degree. From modules on accounting, entrepreneurship, and international business to statistics, the European economy, and applied economics, Trinity’s BESS programme allowed me to understand business and the various economic problems facing the world today. Interesting and thought-provoking lectures, coupled with Trinity’s knowledgeable and friendly professors, taught me how to think critically and engage with important topics on a theoretical and practical level. I am now employed as a Financial Services Consultant in PwC Ireland. Equipped with the skills I have gained academically in BESS and the leadership qualities I have developed through my involvement in Trinity’s extra-curricular activities, I am able to provide new insights to the issues faced by PwC’s clients.

Emily Waters