Course Overview

The Humanities are subjects that help us to understand the past, shape the present and imagine the future. Carlow College has a distinguished and venerable reputation in the Humanities, where they have been taught for over two hundred and twenty years.

The Humanities programmes comprise the study of the core subjects of English, History, Philosophy and Theology. Along with the four core subjects, students can also choose from a variety of other modules. Students who take this degree undertake an exciting and stimulating degree that offers a unique opportunity to learn about the beliefs, ideas, cultures and literatures from the ancient to the contemporary world, and from the local to the global.

There are two Humanities programmes that students can enroll in: BA in Humanities (Level 7) and BA (Hons) in Humanities (Level 8). Level 7 students who attain a final grade of 50% or more in their third year can progress to complete the Level 8 BA (Hons) degree in fourth year. In year one, students take mandatory modules in the four subjects of English, Theology, History, and Philosophy. In years two and three, students can choose any combination of modules offered on the programme. In year four, those registered in the BA (Hons) in Humanities choose from any combination of modules offered on the programme and write a final-year dissertation.
Individual modules on the Humanities programmes range from the broad to the specialised, and the wide choice of subjects offered means that students can tailor their degree to pursue their own personal interests. Along with English, History, Philosophy and Theology, students have the opportunity to take modules in subjects such as Psychology, Creative Writing, Drama & Performance, and Media Studies.

English Component

English literature is a key component of the BA in Humanities. From the genius of Shakespeare to the dark imagination of Emily Bronte, students of English at Carlow College embark on an adventure through some of the greatest works of literature ever written. The English course explores writing from the medieval period right through to the modern world and will bring you on a journey from urban Ireland all the way to the islands of the Caribbean. English modules include ‘Modern Irish Writing’, ‘Romanticism’, ‘Gothic Fiction’, ‘Modern Drama’, ‘The Victorians’, ‘Existentialist Literature’ and ‘World Literatures’

History Component

History is the documenting of the human experience and is fundamental to the humanities. Our modules offer students the opportunity to explore ancient, medieval, early modern and modern history through a range of exciting survey and specialist courses. There are opportunities for in-depth study in comparative history, women’s history, local history and twentieth-century history. Modules include ‘Medieval Ireland 1100-1500’, ‘Women in Reformation Europe’, ‘Transatlantic Revolutions’, ‘Ireland 1891-1923’ and ‘Nazi Germany, World War II and the European Jews’.

Philosophy Component

Philosophy is one of the most important subjects of the Humanities. Philosophy is the 'why?' question: If you have ever wondered why the world works the way it does then Philosophy is for you. From the large questions about the meaning of existence to wondering how we arrive at our ideas of right and wrong, philosophy studies the history of how humans have thought about issues like these through the ages. So, from our relationship with Animals to our ideas of how politics works, from the role of women in western thought to our ideas of what religion means, Philosophy will satisfy your curiosity! 

Please click here to learn more about Philosophy at Carlow College

Theology Component

Theology can be defined as ‘reasonable discourse concerning God’. Central to the humanities is the question of the human relationship to the divine. Perhaps there has never been a more important time to understand how and why people are motivated to behave in the name of a higher being. Students of Theology learn how to debate and contextualise different standpoints without offending others; and are sensitive to how time and translation can alter the meaning of texts.

Course Information

Programme Code: PC410

Duration: 4 Years

Level: 8


What students of the Humanities Programme had to say...

A unique, warm and inspiring learning environment. The college is a supportive, cooperative community and my experience of studying here has encouraged me to pursue my studies to postgraduate level.

Eva Burke Humanities class of '14, pursuing an MA at TCD

Carlow College is more than academic development. Carlow College is lecturer support, lifelong friendships, education with the perks of college life and a platform to become the best version of you.

Jillian Bannon 4th year Humanities studen

Studying at Carlow College was especially satisfying insofar as my lecturers nurtured my learning with a genuine commitment, and generosity; teaching me to think critically and clearly.

Steve Cullen Humanities class of '14, pursuing MA at UCD

Carlow College is a place where not only do you achieve an outstanding education but it also allows for the creation of friendships that will last a lifetime.

Elaine Gibson 4th year Humanities student