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Course Code CR 129
Field of Study Music
Type of Course Honours Degree
Type of Qualification BA (Honours)
Type of Study Full time
Application Closing Date CIT CSM recommends that Special Category Applicants apply by 1st February, however, applications will be accepted up to 1st May.

This is a four-year programme leading to the award of a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Popular Music. Singers and instrumentalists who play guitar, bass, keyboards or drums in a pop style will study together: performance skills, ensemble, theory & harmony, song writing, music technology and music business, law and entrepreneurship. In third and fourth year, students’ electives include Music Therapy, and Music in the Community. Those wishing to specialise in Music Technology have access to some of the most sophisticated electronic and computer equipment available in the country.


For information on Fees/Student Grants and Financial Assistance, please click here.

CIT Cork School of Music website:

Popular Music is the music heard around the clock on radio, TV; in the theatres, clubs and venues all around the country. We use it to encompass all of the sub genres: rock, country, soul, blues, commercial, modern musical theatre, electronic music, dance music and so on.


about the course

CR129 Course Location: CIT Cork School of Music, Union Quay, Cork.


Each student is assigned a matched group of peers to form a small popular ensemble, this becomes the centre of the learning experience. Lectures, classes and music technology labs provide supporting skills to the core training in performance.


Instrumental Tuition

  • Ensembles – everything from rock, pop, hip hop, blues, soul, metal, jazz, salsa, disco, electronica, funk, ska, reggae, etc.;
  • Musicianship and Harmony – play by ear, harmonise, notate your favourite songs and solos;
  • Music Technology – live sound and PA, studio engineering, computer-based music applications including ProTools and Logic Studio;
  • Song Writing – mentored guidance and practical experience in realising your own composition;
  • Arranging and Musical Direction – coordinate, arrange for, and direct a group of your musical peers.


Additionally, BAPM students will have the opportunity to devise and develop personal live and recorded music projects. Along with their BMus counterparts, BAPM students will be introduced to Community Music and Music Therapy as potential pathways. Students will also have access to specialist modules embracing arts marketing, professional promotion, and business for artist practitioners and career development.


Further Studies

Suitably qualified graduates may apply either to undertake research (leading to the award of an MA and/or PhD), or to follow a Taught Master’s course in either

Question Time

Are there any other special requirements?

Yes, there are Early Application Procedures. This is a Restricted Access Course and all applicants must sit the CSM’s BA (Honours) in Popular Music Degree Course Entrance Test. The provisional dates for the Entrance Test are Thursday to Saturday, 23rd - 25th April 2020.


Is there a late application facility?
CSM recommends that Special Category Applicants apply by 1st February, however, applications will be accepted up to 1st May


Are sample test papers available?
Yes. All CAO applicants receive a copy. However, you can request one by post from the CSM’s Administrator, Union Quay, Cork, to check that you can meet the requirements of the practical, aural, and written elements.


Can I defer the results of my Entrance Exam from one year to the next?

No. Candidates are not allowed to defer the results of the Entrance Exam.


Graduate Profile

Ophelia McCabe
Singer, Teacher, Composer

Ophelia McCabe graduated with First Class Honours in October 2016 as part of the first cohort of students to graduate with a BA in Popular Music (Voice). She combines an artistic performance career with an array of teaching contexts while continuing her studies on CSM’s Taught Masters Course (Performance).

Ophelia’s profile as a professional songwriter was elevated in her final undergraduate year due to winning the Colin Vearncombe Memorial Bursary for the best original composition, providing a solid foundation for her progression as a producer of original contemporary and commercial music in Ireland.

4 Years (8 Semesters)


For admission to a programme, standard applicants must

  • score the necessary CAO points and
  • meet the minimum entry requirements



► Leaving Certificate Examination
Leaving Certificate in six subjects i.e. H5 in two subjects, and O6/H7 in four other subjects. One of the subjects must be English or Irish. There is no specific Mathematics requirement. Grade F2 or higher in Foundation Level Mathematics is recognised as one of the subjects for entry.


► Vetting
Vetting is conducted by the National Vetting Bureau (formerly known as the Garda Central Vetting Unit).  The National Vetting Bureau (NVB)  helps to assess the suitability of all applicants on this programme. It is important to note that participation in or completion of this programme may be affected by subsequent disclosure/discovery.


► Entrance Exam
All applicants must sit the CSM’s BA (Honours) in Popular Music Degree Course Entrance Test (provisional dates: Thursday to Saturday, 23rd - 25th April 2020).


Each candidate who sits an Entrance Exam is awarded up to a maximum of 600 points that are added to the Leaving Certificate points for the purpose of determining entry. Each standard candidate must achieve the minimum threshold of 276 points in the Entrance Test and must also meet the minimum Leaving Certificate entry requirement in order to be eligible for admission.

NB: Candidates are NOT allowed to defer the results of the Entrance Exam from one year to the next.


Sample Paper
Applicants will be required to prepare two contrasting pieces of music; undergo an interview; and sit a written assessment paper  Please CLICK HERE to download sample paper.

Helpful subject is Music, though not mandatory.

CIT Cork School of Music

CIT has developed a website which gives full details of all modules for all courses. The website also has information on recommended textbooks, average weekly workload, assessments, and exams.

For detailed module information, please click here.

Potential Areas of Employment

  • Musician in a band

  • Singer songwriter

  • Session/Pit Musician

Graduates will be able to compete in the busy world of commercial music in Ireland, for recording contracts, gigs in clubs and concert halls, TV and stage shows, corporate entertainment, and the fertile melting pot that is the Irish singer-songwriter circuit. Synergies with the classical, jazz and traditional musicians on the BMus course will open creative doors and career opportunities such as those fostered in the famous performing arts schools and colleges of the UK and the USA.

There are many employment opportunities for popular music graduates apart from the obvious one of performing. Composition, music for multimedia, song writing, playing in recording sessions, in theatrical productions and TV. Outside of this field is the associated area of promotion, festival and arts administration and the business side of the industry.

However, taking an Honours Degree in Music does not mean that a graduate is restricted to a music driven career for the rest of their life. In addition, a growing number of employers outside the specific music business favour music graduates because of the combination of intellectual training, digital skills, interpersonal sensitivity and greatly enhanced general response rates represented by a musical training.

Application for this course are processed by the
Central Applications Office (CAO)



EU Applicants must apply via the CAO - please click on the link above.

Non-EU Applicants - please click here for how to apply.

CAO 1st Round:

Entry 2019: 899

CAO Cut off:

CAO Average:

The Administrator, CIT Cork School of Music, Union Quay, Cork
T: 021 4807307

Semester Timeline


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Semester Timeline


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