B.A. (Honours) in Arts & Humanities

CAO Code



NFQ Level 8

261 - 509

Places Available



4 Years

Course Fees


Why Study This Course?

Subject Offering

Opportunity to explore a wide range of subjects before focusing on your area of interest


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. (Honours) in Arts and Humanities (Major) is a 4-Year, Level 8 Programme validated by Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI). It is one of our flagship courses and gives students a valuable insight in the major ideas, events and cultural heritage that have influenced western conceptions of humanity and society. Students can choose modules from a wide range of interesting disciplines, including English, Creative Arts, Media Studies, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology and Teacher Placement.

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

Level 7 Option
Students have the option to apply for and pursue a Level 7 B.A. in Arts & Humanities (PC402) and will then have the choice to progress to year 4 to achieve the B.A. (Honours) in Arts and Humanities.

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.

Five disciplines
There are five disciplines on the programme. After first year, students can take modules from some or all these disciplines (in a variety of combinations):

    English, Creative Arts & Media
    Theology & Teacher Placement

What can you expect to learn?
The B.A. (Honours) in Arts & Humanities allows students to tailor their learning to their own interests. It 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 course 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.

Every student on the BA (Hons) in Arts and Humanities must accumulate at least 80 credits in at least one discipline area by the end of Year 4. This is known as a Major. Students who accumulate at least 80 credits in two subjects attain a Double Major. Majors are attained by accumulating credits over the four Stages of the programme, and can be attained in any discipline area. Remaining credits can be spread across other modules in other disciplines.

You will take modules in each of the five core disciplines. Each module is worth 5 credits.

Core Subjects
English, Creative Arts and Media (10 credits)
History (10 credits)
Philosophy (10 credits)
Psychology (10 credits)
Theology (10 credits)

Common Modules
Academic and Programme skills modules (10 credits)

This course is structured so that you will study all five subject streams; History, Psychology, English, Creative Arts & Media Studies; Philosophy; and, Theology – in first year, after which you may start to focus your studies on specific areas of interest as you progress through the course.

Year 1

All mandatory modules

Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
English, Creative Arts & Media Studies Virtues of Poetry Introduction to Fiction: Novel and Short Story
History Toolkit for History Reimagining Ireland 1500-1700
Philosophy Ancient Greek Philosophy Medieval Philosophy
Psychology Psychology 1 Psychology 2
Theology and Teaching Placement Introduction to Theology Theology Themes in World Literature, Cinema and Music
Common Modules Academic and Digital Skills Arts and Humanities Seminar

Year 2

Choose 6 modules in each semester

Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
English, Creative Arts & Media Studies
  • Theatre of the European Renaissance
  • Creative Writing: Poetry
  • Drama and Performance 1
  • Contemporary Irish Writing
  • History
  • Re-Imagining Modern Ireland 1700-1850
  • Revolutions in the Transatlantic World 1763-1877
  • Re-Imagining Modern Ireland 1850-2000
  • Nation States and Global Conflict 1877-1945
  • Philosophy
  • General Ethics: Guiding Rules
  • Modern Philosophy 1600-1800
  • General Ethics: The Good Life
  • Modern Philosophy 1800-1960
  • Psychology
  • Child Developmental Psychology
  • Work & Organsiational Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Theology and Teaching Placement
  • Christology: Encountering Jesus of Nazareth
  • Biblical Studies
  • Christian Anthropology
  • Prophetic Literature of the Old Testament
  • Year 3

    Choose 6 modules in each semester

    Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
    English, Creative Arts & Media Studies
  • Gothic Fiction
  • American Literature
  • Drama and Performance 2
  • Media and Communications
  • Modernism and Modernity
  • Creative Writing: Advanced Poetry
  • Media Studies: Film 1
  • History
  • Ireland: Insurrection to Independence: 1891-1923
  • World War One: The Fall of Empires
  • Migrations in Irish History / Violence, Law and Order in Modern Irish History*
  • Ireland: Politics and Society 1923-1980
  • History, Memory and Commemoration / Local History Project*
  • The Politics of the Great Irish Famine
  • The Rise of Fascism
  • Philosophy
  • Political Philosophy 1
  • Feminist Political Thought 1 / Humans and Other Animals*
  • Existentialism: Philosophy and Literature
  • Political Philosophy 2
  • Feminist Political Thought 2 / Humans and Other Animals 2*
  • Human Rights
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology 1
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology 2
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Research Methods
  • Cyberpsychology
  • Theology and Teaching Placement
  • Ecclesiology
  • Fundamental Moral Theology
  • The Synoptic Gospels
  • Catechetics and Teaching Placement 1: Primary
  • God Question / Trinity*
  • Religions, Conflict and Peace / World Religions*
  • Catechetics and Teaching Placement 1: Primary
  • Year 4

    Choose 6 modules in each semester

    Subject Group Semester 1 Semester 2
    English, Creative Arts & Media Studies
  • Postmodern Literature
  • Creative Writing: Fiction
  • Creating Drama 1
  • Media Studies: Film 2
  • Modern Drama in Performance
  • Postcolonial Writing
  • Creating Drama 2
  • History
  • ‘The Troubles’
  • Europe and the US in the Post War World
  • History of Antisemitism before 1933
  • Migrations in Irish History / Violence, Law and Order in Modern Irish History*
  • Irish Elections and Propaganda 1918-1937
  • Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
  • History, Memory and Commemoration / Local History Project*
  • Philosophy
  • Critical Theory 1
  • Philosophy, Law & Punishment
  • Philosophy and Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Critical Theory 2
  • Philosophy, Society & Literature
  • Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Advanced Social Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Applied Criminal Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Positive Psychology
  • Theology and Teaching Placement
  • Sacramental Theology
  • Johannine Writings
  • Catechetics and Teaching Placement 2: Post Primary
  • God Question / Trinity*
  • Religions, Conflict and Peace / World Religions*
  • Theology of Social Justice and Applied Ethics
  • Catechetics and Teaching Placement 2: Post Primary
  • *Cyclical modules

    Graduates of the programme have gone on to find employment in a wide range of areas such as:

    Primary and post-primary teaching (with postgraduate study)
    Marketing and advertising
    Media and PR
    Human resources
    Creative arts
    The civil service
    Travel and tourism
    Information Technology
    Pastoral care

    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

    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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