B.A. (Honours) in Arts & Humanities

CAO Code



NFQ Level 8

261 - 509

Places Available



3 Years

Course Fees

Why Study This Course?

Subject Offering

Opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects before focusing on two subject majors


Course is designed with an interdisciplinary approach to learning across the different subject areas

Career Pathways

Pathways into teaching and psychology careers with further postgraduate study


The B.A. (Hons) in Arts and Humanities is a 3-year multidisciplinary degree, commonly known as a Joint Honours degree. On this programme, students explore a range of subject areas: History; Philosophy; English & the Creative Imagination; Psychology; Theology and Politics, before developing expertise in two subject majors.

This degree equips students with the essential tools needed for the 21st century by nourishing critical thinking, developing communication skills and preparing for future choices. Students who take this programme can open their mind to different ways of thinking and understanding; they become reflective thinkers who are socially engaged and appreciate learning as a lifelong activity.

This course is designed in line with the Teaching Council’s curricular subject registration requirements for English, History, Politics & Society and Religious Education.

Programme Review and Revalidation
This programme is currently under cyclical review and revalidation for 2024, therefore programme structure and content is subject to change. Please register your interest above to receive programme updates.

Tailored to individual interests
The programme is designed in such a way that students can study a broad range of areas or narrow their focus to the subjects they want to pursue. Also, to help students prepare for life in college, there are special modules in first year, such as academic and digital skills.

Six disciplines
There are six disciplines on the programme. After first year, students choose two subject majors to focus their studies in a specific area of interest:

  • English & the Creative Imagination
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Politics & Society
  • Psychology
  • Theology
  • Work Placement
    There will be a work placement available to all students in year three. Placement will be relevant to a chosen subject. For example, students majoring in Theology will have the opportunity to gain teaching experience in either Primary and Secondary level with our partner schools in the Carlow area.

    Year One: Students must study all six subject streams – History; Psychology; English & the Creative Imagination; Philosophy; Theology; and, Politics & Society – to explore each of the disciplines that are offered in this programme.

    Year Two: Students choose two subject majors to focus their studies in a specific area of interest.

    Year Three: In the final year, students will continue to study their two subject majors and have the option undertake a Research Thesis in one of their chosen majors. Students also have the option to take a work placement module in the second semester.

    Year 1

    Students must study all six subject streams – History; Psychology; English & the Creative Imagination; Philosophy; Theology; and, Politics & Society – to explore each of the disciplines that are offered in this programme.

    You will select two electives in Semester 1 and Semester 2 from those marked (E).

    Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
    English & the Creative Imagination
  • Introduction to Literary Studies (E)
  • Fiction, Criticism and Interpretation (M)
  • History
  • The Irish Experience: Themes in Irish History, Culture and Society (M)
  • The Atlantic World in the Early Modern Period, 1472-1770 (E)
  • Philosophy
  • Ancient Greek Philosophy (M)
  • Medieval Philosophy (E)
  • Psychology
  • Introduction to Psychology (E)
  • Psychology: Core Concepts (M)
  • Theology
  • Introduction to Theology (M)
  • Theological Themes in the Creative Arts (E)
  • Politics & Society
  • The Politics of Economic Inequality (E)
  • Contemporary Politics & Public Policy (M)
  • Common Modules
  • Academic & Digital Skills (M)
  • Arts & Humanities: Interdisciplinary World View (M)
  • Year 2

    Students will choose their two subjects at the end of Year 1. Year 2 will consist of mainly mandatory modules with one elective option for each subject in each semester.

    Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
    English & the Creative Imagination
  • Reading Romantic Poetry (M)
  • Theatre of European Renaissance (M)
  • Creative Writing: An Introduction to Writing Poetry (E)
  • Gothic & Horror (E)
  • Inventing America: 19th Century American Literature (M)
  • Literature of the Victorian Age (M)
  • Irish Studies: Literature and Revolution in Ireland 1890-1937 (E)
  • Performance in Drama 1 (E)
  • History
  • Society & Change in Ireland 1800-1890 (M)
  • Revolutions in the Transatlantic World, 1763-1877 (M)
  • Public History, Cultural Heritage & Commemoration (E)
  • Tyrants, Traders & Towns: The Vikings & Ireland (E)
  • Nation States, Empires & Global Conflicts, 1877-1945 (M)
  • Ireland: Insurrection to Independence: Ireland, 1900-1925 (M)
  • The Emergence of the City in 19th Century America (E)
  • Women & Gender in Medieval Europe (E)
  • Philosophy
  • General Ethics: Guiding Rules (M)
  • Modern Philosophy 1600-1800 (M)
  • Existentialism: Philosophy, Literature & Social Justice (E)
  • Feminist Political Thought (E)
  • General Ethics: The Good Life (M)
  • Modern Philosophy 1800-1960 (M)
  • Human Rights: A Philosophical Approach (E)
  • Philosophy, Society & Literature (E)
  • Psychology
  • Child Developmental Psychology (M)
  • The Psychopathology of Mental Disorders (M)
  • Educational Psychology (E)
  • Work & Organisational Psychology (E)
  • Psychological Research Methods & Ethics (M)
  • Social Psychology (M)
  • Clinical Psychology & Mental Health (E)
  • Cyberpsychology (E)
  • Theology
  • Christology: Encountering Jesus of Nazareth (M)
  • The Bible: Interpretation & Inspiration (M)>
  • Prophetic Literature (E)
  • Sacramental Theology (E)
  • Women in the Bible & Theology (M)
  • World Religions/ Religions, Conflict and Peace* (M)
  • Synoptic Literature (E)
  • Theological Anthropology in Contemporary Culture (E)
  • Politics & Society
  • Political Philosophy 1 (M)
  • Social Policy and the Environment (M)
  • Development Education & Sustainable Development Goals (E)
  • Economic & Social Analysis (E)
  • Political Philosophy 2 (M)
  • Research Methods for Political & Social Sciences (M)
  • Project Management & Design (E)
  • Religion, Conflict & Peace (E)
  • Year 3

    In each semester, students take one mandatory module and chooses two electives from each of their two subjects.

    One of the electives in either semester may be chosen from another subject pathway. They may only choose Dissertation for one of their subjects.

    Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
    English & the Creative Imagination
  • Reading Modern Poetry (M)
  • Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry (E)
  • Modern Drama in Performance (E)
  • Performance in Drama 2 (E)
  • World Literatures (M)>
  • Beyond the Human – From Postmodernism to Posthumanism (E)
  • Creative Writing: Fiction (E)
  • Reading Post War British & American Poetry (E)
  • History
  • Healing the People: History of Public Health and medicine, 1800-2023 (M)
  • Power & Belief: The Cult of the Saints in the Medieval World (E)
  • The Rise of Fascism (E)
  • The Troubles: From Conflict to Conciliation 1968-1998 (E)
  • Building the Nation: Ireland 1920s-2000s (M)
  • Impact of Migration on an Island Nation, 1700-2000 (E)
  • Propaganda & Politics: Ireland 1918-1937 (E)
  • Power & Control in the Cold War Era , from 1945 to Brexit (E)
  • Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy 1 (M)
  • Critical Theory In A Digital Age (E)
  • Humans & Other Animals (E)
  • Philosophy & Psychoanalytic Theory (E)
  • Political Philosophy 2 (M)
  • Care and Capitalism (E)
  • Language & Self: Structuralism to Postmodernism (E)
  • Philosophies of Religions (E)
  • Psychology
  • Personality Psychology (M)
  • Advanced Social Psychology (E)
  • Forensic Psychology (E)
  • Health Psychology (E)
  • Cognitive Psychology & Biopsychology (M)
  • Community Psychology (E)
  • Counselling Psychology (E)
  • Positive Psychology (E)
  • Theology
  • The Bible and Applied Christian Ethics (M)
  • Catechetics & Ethos+ (E)
  • Johannine Literature (E)
  • Political Philosophy 1 (E)
  • Trinity: A God One & Three (E)
  • World Religions/ Religion, Conflict and Peace* (M)
  • Ecclesiology: Our Apostolic Church Today (E)
  • Philosophies of Religions (E)
  • The God Question: An Understanding of God for Today (E)
  • Politics & Society
  • Introduction to International Relations (M)
  • Creativity & Digital Media Skills (E)
  • Pedagogy for Politics & Society (E)
  • Political Communications & Campaign Management (E)
  • Borders, Migration & Citizenship (M)
  • Community Arts (E)
  • International Human Rights (E)
  • Introduction to Advocacy (E))
  • Common Modules
  • Seminar& Dissertation (E)
  • Seminar& Dissertation (E)
  • Workplace Learning Experience (E)
  • *Cyclical modules

    Please note: this programme is currently under cyclical review and revalidation for 2024, therefore programme structure and content is subject to change.

    Graduates are highly employable and work in a wide variety of industries: Public Relations, Administration, Civil Service, Politics, Banking, Information Technology, Librarianship, Archives, Travel and Tourism, Heritage, Arts and Culture, Pastoral Care, Counselling, Marketing and Digital Communications, Journalism, Media and Advertising.

    Further Study Opportunities
    Graduates of the B.A. (Hons) in Arts and Humanities have proceeded successfully to a wide variety of Level 9 postgraduate courses in areas such as English, Creative Writing, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology, Media, Journalism, Marketing, Administration, Advertising, Librarianship and Archives. Some graduates have also progressed onto PhD programmes.

    Eva Burke | PhD Candidate and Teaching Assistant

    Why Humanities?
    I was interested in the mix of subjects, and I liked the idea of being able to study English while taking modules in psychology and creative writing.

    Why did you choose Carlow College?
    I was attracted to Carlow College as a close-knit college community with relatively small class numbers.

    How would you describe your time at Carlow College?
    My experience at Carlow College was wonderful. It’s such a friendly and supportive environment, and the staff (from teaching staff to librarians, admin and catering) are great. One of the significant benefits of attending a smaller third level institution is that you never feel anonymous or alone – everybody knows your name, including the lecturers, and it makes the college experience far less daunting than it might be at a bigger institution.

    What did you enjoy most about the programme?
    I enjoyed the close-knit learning environment and the diversity of subjects.

    What did you find challenging about your programme?
    I found that the work load was intense in the final year, with the thesis work in addition to essays and exams.

    Have you worked on any exciting projects since you began working?
    I have had several articles published in academic journals, and in 2018 had a book chapter published. I have also had the opportunity to take part in various conferences, both at home and abroad, and have been invited to talk about my research at public events and podcasts!

    Why should people pursue a degree in Humanities?
    A degree in humanities gives students who aren’t sure about their post-college plans great scope to make those choices when they’re ready – several of my classmates have gone on to teach at primary and second, while others are historians or pursuing postgraduate qualifications in religious studies or psychology. It provides a great breadth of learning.

    What was the highlight of your time at Carlow College?
    The highlight of my time at Carlow College was the opportunity to present my final year thesis project, as it was my first experience of sharing my research in a public space.

    What advice would you offer to people considering to study at Carlow College?
    I would advise them to consider the benefits of a 3rd level institute which offers a wide range of subject choices and a learning environment which is wonderfully supportive.

    What did you do when you graduated?
    I went straight into an MPhil programme at Trinity College Dublin, and from there to the PhD programme which I am currently enrolled in.

    How did your experience at Carlow College help you find your first position after graduation?
    I was advised to apply to my MPhil programme by the career services advisor, and my application was supported by references from Dr. Eoghan Smith and Dr. Simon Workman, who were both tremendously helpful.

    What would a typical day look like for you?
    A typical day in term time would include some library time and an hour or two of writing, plus 3-4 hours of tutorial teaching and essay marking. It might also include taking part in conferences and symposiums, and meeting with my supervisor.

    Clare P. Mullins | Regional Development and Project Officer, Age Action Ireland

    Why Arts & Humanities?
    I’ve always enjoyed variety when it comes to life and academic studies, and belonging to a close-knit community. The B.A. Honours in Humanities was very attractive to me as an undergraduate, it allowed me to explore a variety of studies such as Theology, Psychology and Philosophy, to broaden my knowledge of more than one subject, while allowing me to do so in a warm, welcoming and personal environment.

    Why did you choose Carlow College over other institutions?
    Carlow College is unlike any other college, they offer excellent courses, outstanding lecturers and it really gives the student a warm, friendly and close-knit environment to grow in. Having attended other larger universities over the years I found them lacking the personal touch. Everyone in Carlow College is treated like an individual and not just a number. I think back very fondly about my time spent there. I chose this college because I knew I would receive excellent and personal support from the academic team right through to my fellow students and all of the staff there.

    What did you enjoy most about the programme?
    I absolutely loved the variety of interesting and exciting classes on offer each year. We were some of the first students in Ireland to undertake a Philosophy course in Humans and Other Animals, I’m really proud of that and the fact that the courses really broadened my way of thinking about life. I studied English, Psychology, Drama and Performance, Social Studies and theology, It’s very hard to get such variety anywhere else. I also loved how approachable the lecturers are and how they really go above and beyond to make things fun and interesting for every student.

    What did you find challenging about your programme?
    Writing Essays was probably the thing I found most challenging. I think many students come from the Leaving Certificate where everything is there in front of you and all you have to do is learn it off. Carlow College wants you to think about things, use your thoughts and opinions and express yourself, this is something I really had no experience in until I started there. I got the hang of expressing myself and learning to write academically after a couple of months and it really has stood to me over the years in many of the jobs that I have undertaken. Plus, the college offered an excellent free service called “Essay Doctor”, where you can get help and advice about writing your essays and writing academically, which was really helpful.

    Why should people pursue a degree in Humanities?
    This is a question I get asked a lot. It’s a question I’ve really thought about. What pursuing a degree in Humanities does for you in my opinion, is it teaches you how to effectively think on your feet; express your opinions clearly and concisely, whether spoken or written; it teaches you to take large quantities of information and be able to process it quickly and effectively; it teaches you to think about ideas and theories and opens your eyes to living a better life and helping and encouraging others to do so. It also allows you to work in any industry. I have worked very successfully in the service industry, the security industry, in private and public sectors as well as the Non-Governmental Organization sectors over the years. I am able to apply myself to anything, work in fast-paced environments and make quick and effective decisions. In my experience employers nowadays are looking for candidates like this who show an ability to be able to work diversely. Personally, it has allowed me to experience many industries, seek out new and exciting career challenges and to be an asset to any industry I work in.

    How would you describe your time at Carlow College? What are the benefits of attending a smaller third level institution?
    Carlow College is really one of a kind. I found my courage, strength and personal self-belief here not to mention it has given me knowledge and life skills that have been very lucrative and attractive to my former and current employers. The courses are challenging, interesting and enjoyable. The lecturers are quirky, funny, and full of knowledge, always bringing something new and exciting to the table, and always offering an open door to you when you need the extra support. For those who enjoy the benefits of a strong student life with plenty of activities, nightlife and a student union who has always done their best to cater to students, in a warm and welcoming town, this is the place to be. Attending a smaller college means you are the focus, you get the attention you need to be the best version of yourself after 4 years, primed for the world of work, you meet amazing friends and you have support and encouragement in a friendly environment in a friendly town.

    What was the highlight of your time at Carlow College?
    There are too many highlights for me; life-long friends that I made, the academic and professional relationships that I have carried with me throughout my career, the way in which the lecturers and courses broadened my mind and understanding of myself and the world around me, the nights out with college friends, the days when we would all meet in the canteen to chat and laugh together and support each other through tough times too. Knowing that after 4 years you never really leave, you’ve always got a place to return to where someone will remember you and your story. You don’t really get better than that.

    What advice would you offer to people considering to study at Carlow College?
    It’s not about the size of the college that matters, it’s not about what anyone else is doing or where they’re going with their lives, it’s about having an invaluable support system, with interesting, exciting and challenging courses that are going to transition you into an excellent commodity for the employer and career of your dreams; that’s what Carlow College has to offer you.

    What did you do when you graduated?
    I went to work in the security industry and was quite successful, I continued my studies in Trinity College in International Peace studies, from there I have worked in both private and public organizations, the community sector and currently as a Regional Development and Project Officer for Age Action Ireland. This coming September I will continue my studies in Psychotherapy and Counselling with the view of opening my own private practise in the near future. Life is a journey and I’m thoroughly enjoying the variety.

    How did your experience at Carlow College help you find your first position after graduation?
    The first job I entered after leaving Carlow College was in the Security Industry. It involved being able to keep detailed and coherent reports, knowledge of human behaviour, express yourself confidently in challenging situations, intake information quickly and think on your feet, my experience at Carlow College definitely helped me be all of those things.

    What are you doing now?
    I am currently working as a Regional Development and Project Officer for Age Action Ireland for the Getting Started Computer Literacy Programme. I work across 8 different counties with schools, corporates, community organizations, volunteers, students and learners to fight against digital exclusion among older people. I am involved in training, development and recruitment. It’s a very challenging and exciting role with an excellent cause.

    What would a typical day look like for you?
    When I’m not working from home, I am out and about around 8 different counties meeting people, training people, developing lines of funding or sourcing venues, planning and supervising classes and advertising the programme to various individuals and groups.

    Joe Farrelly | Post-Primary Teacher, St. Oliver’s Community College

    I chose Carlow College, St. Patrick’s because it allowed me to study a broad range of subjects, which left me with a lot of options career wise. This enabled me to study a HDip. in Education in Trinity College, Dublin after graduation and a term as Students’ Union President in 2013. I am now a Secondary School Teacher in St. Oliver’s Community College in Drogheda.
    The experience of a term as SU President, varied subjects and the opportunities to get involved in all aspects of student life, allowed me tofind work part-time in the fitness industry while I studied to become ateacher. I would describe Carlow College as a community based learning environment where you are more than just a number. If you throw yourself into everything you will develop on a personal level and gain the skills essential for a successful career. I loved the Teaching Practice and Media Studies modules. The help and support I recieved on my thesis was also invaluable.
    I would really advise students to get involved in everything as doing nothing will lead to nothing!

    If you throw yourself into everything you will develop on a personal level and gain the skills essential for a successful career.

    Minimum Entry Requirements
    Two grade H5 and four grade H7/O6 including English, Irish or a foreign language. Mathematics is not required.

    Further information on Entry Requirements and application processes available here

    Fees & Grants
    Information on Fees & Grants can be found here

    Student Testimonials

    Course Contact

    Dr Sarah Otten
    Programme Director
    The lower number is the CAO cut-off and the higher is the highest points achieved by a student who accepted the course in 2022.
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