Trinity launches the Trinity Education – an undergraduate curriculum for the 21st century

Posted on: 21 October 2020

Trinity College Dublin unveiled a new curriculum for undergraduate students today which places emphasis on critical thinking, global citizenship, engagement with employers, flexible learning and integrating co- and extra-curricular learning opportunities.

It was launched by the EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel with the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD.

EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, speaks remotely at the launch

Underpinning the Trinity Education curriculum is the university’s aim to empower all students to develop the four distinctive attributes of Trinity graduates:  to think independently, communicate effectively, develop continuously and act responsibly.

Trinity undergraduates can now avail of more flexible pathways through their degrees, opt for modules outside their primary areas of study allowing for a depth and breadth of learning, and undertake a substantial independent research project in their fourth and final year called the Capstone Project.

The modules outside their disciplines can either be ‘Open Modules’ from another programme or ‘Trinity Electives’ which are specially designed modules on subjects connected to Trinity’s research strengths. Thirty-nine Trinity Electives are on offer to this year’s students, of which the three most popular choices were Cultures and Societies of the Middle East and Africa; Vaccines – Friends or Foe? and Design Thinking.

Trinity College Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said:

From my perspective, the Trinity Education Project stands out as one of the most important initiatives that the University has achieved in the past decade. For Trinity to continue to deliver a world-class education and to prepare our graduates for successful careers and active citizenship, our curriculum had to change.

Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast launches the Trinity Education

Vice-Provost /Chief Academic Officer Professor Jürgen Barkhoff said:

Our strength lies in pushing the frontiers of knowledge while remaining cognisant of our past. In delivering the Trinity Education, we have built on our strong tradition of research and scholarship, while rising to the challenges of the future. Our students will have both the solid foundation and the mental flexibility to live fully their responsibilities and potential as global citizens. The Trinity Education is the result of a 7-year project involving consultation with the Students’ Union, alumni, guidance counsellors, corporate partners and employers. This wide participation is a key ingredient of its success.

Vice-Provost /Chief Academic Officer Professor Jürgen Barkhoff launches the Trinity Education

Niamh McKay, 4th year Political Science and Geography student and former Students’ Union Education Officer said:

As I finish my final year in college, I am envious of the endless opportunities and possibilities that the Trinity Education will bring to Trinity students of the future. It will be a transformative experience for any student, and I am excited to see our graduates go out into the world.

Trinity 4th-year student Niamh McKay speaks at the Trinity Education launch

A 2 min video on the Trinity Education can be viewed here

The seven core features of a Trinity Education making it distinctive are:

Partners in Learning – a renewed focus on the student-academic relationship, and the responsibility of students to own their educational experience.

Co-Curriculum Reflection– a tool that students can use to identify how extra-curricular activities shape their personal and academic development.

Open Modules – these allow students to explore topics outside of their core discipline but that are aligned with and complementary to it.

Trinity Electives – these provide a free choice of a wide range of exciting topics encompassing Trinity’s ground-breaking research, key societal challenges and diverse languages and culture.

Global Mobility – the rich personal and academic development that comes from the experience of studying abroad or, when in Trinity, by studying alongside students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

Employability – the development of skills to meet the needs of workplaces of the future.

The Capstone Project – a substantial piece of independent research undertaken in final year, alongside Trinity’s academic experts in their field.

Trinity’s curriculum renewal process began in 2013. More information on the Trinity Education Project can be found here.

For an overview of this year’s Trinity Electives, see here .


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Catherine O’Mahony, Media Relations Officer | |