NUI Galway Introduce Music into the Bachelor of Arts Degree

Dr Aidan Thomson has been appointed as new Head of Music at NUI Galway
May 15 2018 Posted: 10:55 IST

Dr Aidan Thomson appointed as new Head of Music at NUI Galway

From September 2018, students at NUI Galway will be able to take a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Music. This is an exciting development for music making and music education in the west of Ireland, and builds on the University’s established reputation for excellence in creative arts subjects.
The University has also announced the appointment of new Head of Music, Dr Aidan Thomson. Dr Thomson has taught at the University of Oxford, the University of Leeds and, for the last fourteen years, Queen’s University Belfast, principally in music history, theory and analysis, but also in performance.
A feature of the four-year BA degree is that all students will have the opportunity in their third year to undertake a music-related placement. Students will also be able to work with top musical professionals throughout their degree, notably the current Galway Musicians in Residence, the ConTempo String Quartet.
The core of the degree is a thorough grounding in musicianship - theory, harmony, keyboard harmony and critical listening - and training in the repertory and culture of western classical and Irish traditional music. Students will also take core modules in performance, composition and sound technology over the course of their first two years. The degree is thus aligned with the requirements of the Irish Teaching Council, meaning that graduates would be equipped to take postgraduate teaching qualifications in Music at primary and secondary level.
Students will be able to learn from leading professional musicians during their degree through masterclasses and concerts. The university is developing strategic partnerships with the Galway Music Residency and Music for Galway, and is building on existing expertise in Music in different disciplines within the institution.
The degree complements many other disciplines within the College of Arts: English, Irish Studies, modern languages, and, most significantly, Drama and Film Studies. Students will have the chance to take modules that look at the relationship between music and theatre, and music and words, both academically and practically. In their final year, they will also take a module in writing about music and performance criticism, which is a feature of all creative arts subjects at NUI Galway.
Dr Aidan Thomson, newly appointed Senior Lecturer in Music at NUI Galway, said: “The timing of this new degree could not be better. Introducing music has the potential to make NUI Galway an important hub for musical performance, creation and thought. It builds on Galway’s reputation as a centre for artistic excellence, as recognized in its City of Culture status in 2020. The flexibility of the Music degree will equip students to embark on a wide variety of careers. They will be ideally equipped to build on the creative energy that will be Galway 2020’s legacy, be it as performers, composers, teachers, journalists, arts administrators or broadcasters, among others. But even before that, our students will be at the heart of the creative life of the university, the city and beyond.”
For more information on the new BA in Music visit or watch a video about the programme at

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