Entry Points (2021)

Course Overview

This course offers a BA in Music and one other subject. It allows students to develop an understanding of the history, theory and practice of music. It is especially well suited to those who wish to teach music after graduation; students also receive training in arts management and other transferrable professional skills. 

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Leaving Certificate Entry Requirements: Minimum Grade H5 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at O6/H7 level in the Leaving Certificate including Irish, English, another language, and three other subjects recognised for entry purposes. No audition required.

Leaving Cert Music is recommended, but not essential. 

Dr. Aidan Thomson is Head of Music and Senior Lecturer at NUI Galway.

Dr Thomson is a musicologist with a particular interest in British and Irish music of the early twentieth century, particularly Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arnold Bax and the ‘Celtic North’. He is also an experienced violinist (having led the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland while at university), pianist and organist.

Dr Thomson co-edited The Cambridge Companion to Vaughan Williams (Cambridge University Press, 2013). In 2016, he wrote and presented ‘Bax, Ireland and 1916’ for RTÉ Lyric FM’s ‘Lyric Feature’ programme, which looked at Bax’s relationship with the leaders of the Easter Rising. As part of the centenary celebrations, he also gave a public lecture in Dublin about Bax’s friendship with Pádraig Pearse.

Before coming to NUI Galway, Dr Thomson was Lecturer in Music at Queen’s University Belfast, where he taught music history, theory and analysis, and some performance. He has also taught at the universities of Oxford and Leeds.

Additional Requirements


4 years

Next start date

Sept 2022

A Level Grades (2021)


Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

2 (More Info)

Closing Date
NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

Course Outline

Year 1

  • Introduction to Music History
  • Traditional Music in Ireland: 1792 to the New Millennium
  • Music Practice 1
  • Music Theory and Critical Listening

Year 2

  • Introduction to Composition
  • Harmony and Keyboard Harmony
  • Music Histories and Repertories
  • Introduction to Sound Technology

Choose 2 from the following optional modules:

  • Music Practice 2
  • The Practice and Exploration of the Creative Arts
  • Power, Hierarchies and Irish Traditional Music Practice
  • Musical Theatre
  •  Popular Music, Culture and Identities in Ireland

Year 3

This year is dedicated to Music and to the development of special skills and/or experiences.  In semester 1, students take three modules from the following:

  • Choral Conducting
  • Counterpoint
  • Editing and Transcription
  • Scoring and Arranging
  • Musical Theatre

In semester 2, students do ONE of the following:

  • Study Music at an international university in the EU or North America
  • Carry out a locally based internship in Music
  • Complete an extended project in Music at NUI Galway

 Year 4

  • Music Extended Essay OR Composition Portfolio
  • Music History 3
  • Writing about Music: Performance Analysis
  • Choose 2 from the following optional modules:
  • Irish Traditional Music Performance
  • Opera
  • Choral Conducting
  • Music Practice 3
  • Women in Pop

Choose 2 from the following optional modules:

  • Music Practice 3 OR Traditional Music Performance
  • Introduction to Musicology
  • Opera
  • Arts Administration

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The programme has been designed to meet the requirement of the Irish Teaching Council, so graduates will be qualified to use music as a teaching subject as part of their study for a postgraduate degree in post-primary education.

 Students will also have opportunities to avail of NUI Galway’s unique offerings in creative arts management and business, ensuring they have real-world skills that will be directly relevant to the creative arts industry in Ireland and internationally.

 As BA graduates, students also have transferrable skills in such areas as giving presentations, teamwork, research, writing, and so on. These skills are highly attractive to employers and open out a range of career options.

 Students can combine the study of music with subjects such as Psychology, Legal Studies, Information Technology or Languages, all of which open up career opportunities in those areas.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

In the third year of the programme, most students spend a semester either studying abroad at an international university or on a placement with an Irish arts, media or educational organisation. The university has partnerships with Galway Music Residency and Music for Galway; students may take placements with such organisations in the areas like marketing, production, administration or other areas relevant to their course. Students taking a language must spend a semester abroad studying in a country where that language is spoken, such as University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France; University of Bologna, Italy or Spain. There are also international links with American universities where students can study Music and other performing arts subjects such as Notre Dame University in Indiana and University of California.

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,416 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€3,276 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student Contribution

€3,000 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€17,816 p.a. 2021/22

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Contribution Charge + Student Levy

Student Levy:
  €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.  Further detail here https://su.nuigalway.ie/

Find out More

Dr Aidan Thomson
T: +353 91 493675
E: music@nuigalway.ie


Ellison Hassell-Cramer |   Currently a 3rd year student

I chose the BA (Music) Degree Programme at NUI Galway because I wanted a diverse music education which this course most definitely provides. It gives its students a strong foundation to build upon their own creative endeavors, while also opening doors to possible new music interests. This course is personal and hands-on. It has given me cognizance academically and creatively that I can ascend into my future career with confidence.