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Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts

CAO points:
307 †
Course code:
4 Years

Course leader:
Dr. Niall Keegan
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 202465

Tel: 00 353 61 202015
Queries: www.ul.ie/admissions-askus

About You

If you are a musician, singer and/or dancer and wish to develop your performance skills and knowledge of your practice as well as widen both to include other forms of musical and artistic expression, this is the course for you. Applicants will be proficient performers but do not necessarily have to have a formal music and dance educational background (ie. Leaving Certificate Music or grade examinations such as those from the Associated Board, Royal Irish Academy, Royal Academy of Dance, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance etc.). Applicants will have a performance background in one or more of the following streams of the programme;

For the world music stream of the programme applicants will have an interest in developing their skills and knowledge of world music practices. Applicants will be required to show proficiency in relevant performance practices or in the case of the World Music stream, any music practice at audition.

Why study Performing Arts at UL?

This programme will allow you to develop your performance skills in one of five in areas (traditional Irish music, traditional Irish dance, contemporary dance, voice and world music). You will also be able to develop your scholarly knowledge and enquiry around your own disciplines. However, and very importantly, you will be introduced to other performance practices and scholarly traditions in order to gain new insights into the worlds of music and dance, enhancing your creative potential. You will also study a number of vocationally focused modules aimed at allowing you to translate your artistic and scholarly creativity into a fulfilling career.

As a student, you will be based at the world class, facilities of the Irish World Academy building, equipped to the highest standards with cutting edge performance and rehearsal spaces and technological infrastructure. The co-operative education period allows you to construct your own work-experience, giving you invaluable experience of the opportunities open to you when you graduate.

The programme prepares you for many different career paths including professional performance; further study; work in cultural institutions; media related posts; archival work; performance production; portfolio careers combining the preceding and others in entrepreneurial ways.

What you will study

In the first year, you will focus and develop your own performance practice and be introduced to the critical academic engagement with classical, popular, traditional and world music and dance through a performative lens.

From second year, you will follow a stream that will reflect your main performance interest.

Irish traditional music - students will undertake additional specialist modules in Irish Music and dance studies and ethnomusicology

Irish traditional dance - students will undertake additional specialist modules in Irish Music and dance studies, dance studies, experiential anatomy and movement analysis, dance pedagogy

Contemporary Dance - students will undertake additional specialist modules in dance studies, experiential anatomy and movement analysis, dance pedagogy

Voice - students will undertake additional specialist modules in Vocal pedagogy and Voice studies

World Music - students will undertake additional specialist modules in Global Pop Music, ethnomusicology

From second year, core modules will be undertaken by all students in areas like music and dance education, ethnomusicology and ethnochoreology, professional skills, research and arts and health. You will explore areas related to your genre of performance such as music theory, keyboard skills, vocal technique, yoga, pilates, ballet technique, contemporary dance technique, movement awareness, traditional dance technique, etc. You will also be required to engage performance practices outside of your own main performance interest. You will also have the opportunity to study modules as electives taken from a broad of range of options in languages, history, sociology, performance practice, choreography, composition etc.


Pathways within the BA in Performing Arts

There are 5 pathways within the Performing Arts degree. You will choose 1 to study for your 4-year degree. More information on these pathways can be found here.

  1. BA in Contemporary Dance
  2. BA in Irish Dance
  3. BA in Irish Music
  4. BA in Voice
  5. BA in World Music


Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation Maths is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

In addition, applicants must pass an interview/audition. 

We welcome applications from mature students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

QQI Entry

Certain QQI Awards are acceptable in fulfilling admission requirements for this programme. Go to the UL Admissions QQI page for a full list of modules.

  • Professional Performance
  • Further Study (MA, PhD)
  • Music/Dance Therapy
  • Community Music/Dance
  • Music/Dance teacher
  • Arts administration
  • Performance management and promotion
  • Backstage work in performance theatre e.g. sound engineer
  • Music Technology, e.g. recording studio producer/technician
  • Media (TV, Radio etc.)
  • Work in cultural institutions and archives


To find out more, go to https://www.IrishWorldAcademy.ie

Follow On Study

Master of Arts Irish Traditional Dance Performance Master of Arts Irish Traditional Music Performance Master of Arts Contemporary Dance Performance Master of Arts Irish Music Studies Master of Arts Irish Dance Studies Master of Arts Ethnochoreology Master of Arts Ethnomusicology Master of Arts Ritual Chant and Song Master of Arts Community Music Master of Arts Music Therapy Master of Arts Festive Arts Master of Arts Classical String Performance in association with the Irish Chamber Orchestra Master of Education Music Professional Master of Education Music PhD Arts Practice PhD Research

The broadness of the course content was what attracted me initially. I knew that on graduation I could choose between various careers like teaching, performing, or performance technology. The one-on-one vocal technique classes are also a huge plus as other music degrees don’t necessarily offer a full hour a week of one-on-one contact time.

The course is a good mix of academic and practical performance work. It allows me to work on my academic writing skills, further my knowledge of the different musics of the world, while still improving my performance skills in ensembles and solo. Performance experience has come in spades from performing with the Academy Gospel choir at festivals and competitions.

My favourite thing about this course is how close we all are. Although there are five different streams within the degree from Irish music to contemporary dance, we have all mingled and been able to collaborate with each other for assignments and gigs. With the skills I’ve learned in performance technology I was able to take initiative to run a weekly open mic for Academy students to showcase their songs and have a bit of craic.

I am soon going on Co-op with a company that manages international talent from bands to singer-songwriters in Ireland and in the US. The experience will allow me to dive into the world of entertainment from a different side and so benefit my future performing prospects with experience, knowledge and skills I wouldn’t have had before.