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Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts

Bachelor of Arts in Performing Arts

CAO points history:
303 †
Course code:
4 Years

† Indicates that students admitted to the programme are required to undergo a Garda Vetting process.
Course leader:
Dr. Niall Keegan
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 202465
Tel: 00 353 61 202015

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.

Read about our students' experiences

UL - The Ultimate Student Experience

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"As a third year Business and French student, the obvious choice of destination for my Coop would have been Paris or Biarritz. Nevertheless, I set my sights on The Big Apple."

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My name is Ellen and I completed both my undergraduate and master’s degrees in Psychology with the University of Limerick.

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What you will study

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.

Entry requirements

CAO points history 303
Minimum grades

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.

Subject requirements
Additional considerations

Applicants must pass an interview/audition. More information on the auditions can be found here.

All students must undergo a Garda Vetting process. 

Mature Students

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

Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)

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.


Non-EU Entry Requirements

How to apply

Where are you applying from? How to Apply
Ireland Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here. 
The UK  Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website. 
The EU EU Students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.
Non-EU country If you are outside of the EU, you can apply for this degree here.


Fees & funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€2,558
SUSI paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA paysTuition Fees€2,558
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student paysTuition Fees€2,558
Student paysStudent contribution€3,000
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Non-EU Students

Student paysTuition Fees€12,178
Student paysStudent Centre Levy€92

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website


These scholarships are available for this course

Title Award Scholarships available
The Noel Ryan Scholarship
€2,000 per year for 4 years
1 per year

These scholarships are available for all courses

Title Award Scholarships available
Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2D Programme
Individual Award - a bursary to the value of €2000. Team Project Grant - €1750
1 of each
Plassey Campus Centre Scholarship Programme
All Ireland Scholarships - sponsored by J.P. McManus
Higher Education Grants & VEC Grants
Financial Aid Fund
Elaine Fagan Scholarship
Stuart Mangan Scholarship
Provincial GAA Bursaries Scheme
The Michael Hillery and Jacinta O’Brien Athletics Scholarship
Various benefits equating to over €7,000 in value
Paddy Dooley Rowing Scholarship
UL Sports Scholarships
Varies depending on level of Scholarship
Cooperative Education Award
1 medal per faculty
UL 40 Entrance Scholarship

Your future career

  • 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

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

Student Profiles

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.