Music - Songwriting

The Master of Arts in Songwriting is a one year, full-time postgraduate programme, which focuses on the artistic practice of songwriting with opportunities to perform and record work. The course is cognisant of the wide variety of approaches to songwriting that one might adopt and will not attempt to be a 'how-to'. Rather, this is a space where students can explore and be exposed to a range of writing techniques, whilst having the dedicated time and resources to develop their own body of work. This will be through a combination of solo work and collaboration with a community of fellow songwriters with guidance from songwriting mentors.

As well as providing critical engagement with artistic practice, the history of songwriting will be investigated with a broad overview of the art of songwriting. This will be achieved in a variety of way including the inspection of songs across the millennia. We'll journey from the 11th Century through medieval England's John Dowland and prolific Lieder composer Franz Schubert. The Great American Songbook is visited while voices from pop culture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries will be featured. All this inspection will be conducted through a combination of intimate tutorials and public interview formats with a variety of experts in their fields.

Key Facts
This programme is the only Masters in Songwriting on the island of Ireland. Twice shortlisted as Postgraduate Course of the Year by the GradIreland Higher Education Awards, the list of visiting tutors is a veritable who's who of the Irish and International Songwriting Community. Contributors include Bill Whelan, Brendan Graham, Lisa Hannigan, Eleanor McEvoy, Declan O'Rourke, Julie Feeney, Duke Special, Lankum, Luka Bloom, John Spillane, Blue Rose Code, Ruth Anne Cunningham, Steo Wall, Emma Langford, Jack O Rourke, Karan Casey, I Have A Tribe, Adrian Crowley, Sive, Zrazy, et al.

Subjects taught

Programme Content

Autumn Semester

Core Modules:
• Songwriting Styles and Context 1
• Songwriting Process 1
• Media Technologies for Performing Arts and Arts Research
• Professional Development for the Performing Arts
• Writing and Documentation of Arts Practice 1

Options: students can choose 3 options from the list below

• Introduction to Fieldwork Techniques
• Introduction to Ritual Studies
• Independent Study 1
• Introduction to Somatics
• Colloquium 1
• Instrumental Skills for Songwriters
• Irish World Academy Ensembles
• Applied Music Theory for Songwriters

Spring Semester
• Songwriting Style and Context 2
• Songwriting Process
• Performance and Media Technologies for Songwriters
• Promotion and Dissemination for Songwriters

Options: students can choose 2 options from the list below

• Individual Creative Writing project
• Independent Study 2
• Writing and the Documentation of Arts Practice 2
• Critical Contexts for Arts Management and Cultural Policy
• Broadening through Awareness, Activism & the Arts (Postgraduate)
• Critical Engagements with Irish Traditional Music
• Introduction to Somatics 2
• Interdisciplinary Practice

Summer Semester
• Final Presentation

Entry requirements

A primary degree in a suitable discipline with first or second class honours or an approved equivalent qualification (Primary degree: Level 8 - National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) Or
an equivalent capability based on prior professional experience in songwriting and/or performance.

A performance audition and interview will be required in all cases. Additional audio, visual or written material may be required.

Application dates

What to include with your application:

Cover letter outlining interest in course and experience of songwriting to date

Qualification transcripts and certificates

A copy of your birth certificate or passport

If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice

If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided:

• English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
• English language competency certificate
For more information Click Here

Note: Due to Covid-19 restrictions, any interviews or auditions (as required by the Course Director) during the application process will now take place virtually.


1 Year Full Time

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 09/Sep/2019

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider