Home Colleges Trinity College Dublin Business Economic & Social Studies

Business Economic & Social Studies

Date of Review Oct 01, 2011 Go Back
Year of Study 3rd
7 Helpful votes.
Student Type Traditional
1 Unhelpful votes.
From EU
Social Life

Why did you choose your course?

Essentially because I had heard that BESS had a good reputation. From talking to those who had done it, knew people who had done it, had sons or daughters who had done it or school staff who knew students who had done it, I gathered that BESS had a very good reputation amongst big business in both Dublin and (crucially for me) London, as well as further afield. I also heard that BESS had a very large graduate employment rate, with many students in their final year having jobs waiting for them before they had even graduated. Obviously this was all pre-recession and by the time I have finished will all effectively be meaningless. I also wanted to do BESS because it offers a wide variety of degree choice. I liked the idea of delaying the decision to specify in a certain area for a little longer having finished school. It would also be fair to say that, as I was taking a gap-year and deferring for a year I didn’t put as much thought into my degree-choice as perhaps others did. I knew I had 9 months or so to change my mind if I needed to. In the end, I didn’t really think about it too much during my year out. I couldn’t really identify an attractive alternative and was determined to go to Trinity, so I stuck with it. Bess at Trinity was the only course choice on my CAO application.

Are you happy with your choice of course?


On reflection, what made it the right or wrong choice for you?

Studying English is the only alternative, which has seemed attractive to me having discussed different friends courses with them. I love writing but I considered this when I first chose BESS and my reasons for not doing it haven’t changed. BESS offers a broad grounding in a variety of what I consider to be highly practical and valuable disciplines. Although I struggled badly with the Maths & Stats and Economics aspects of the course to begin with, I could still appreciate why I needed to learn about them. Now I am majoring in Business and Politics, both of which I not only find useful, but also truly enjoy. The business concepts I study are presented in a way that makes them applicable to any work environment. I think I will draw on what I have learnt whether I end up being my own boss or indeed working in a large organisation. And politics is something I am passionate about. The subject choices after second year allow you to design your own degree, enabling you to play to your strengths and take the subjects, which most interest you. Although the degree seems to have something of a ‘blonde’ reputation within Trinity and furthermore the vast reduction in the employment market, I am still confident the degree presents an attractive qualification to potential employers. And even if I decide not to go down the applying for traditional jobs route, I still feel BESS will have given me an education I enjoyed, which challenged me and which I can use in a manner of ways once I graduate.

How many hours of organised classes do you have per week? (labs,tutorials,lectures,etc)


Are your lectures/labs mainly based on or off the main campus?


Is your course weighted more on

End of year exams

Is there an option to study abroad on your course?


If you studied abroad, is there any advice you would give someone looking to study abroad?

Unfortunately I didn't study abroad - from what I've heard of it from friends though I would highly recommend it.

What are your favourite aspects of your course?

As I mentioned above, the ability to design your own degree is certainly one of my favourite aspects of BESS. Apart from arts degrees in other universities (which, as I understand it, have less of a favourable reputation with employers ), I haven’t heard of many courses which offer such a variety of choice in these particular disciplines. Subject choice variety in general is one of my favourite things about BESS. For instance, as part of my business and politics final year subject choices I can focus on the financial side of business management, or avoid it completely. I can even study how to run a business from a non-profit angle; I can study dense political theory from a number of perspectives, or study politics in action by taking a course in African politics. I also like that BESS, like all degrees in Trinity, is a 4 year course. Personally, I would feel underprepared for taking on the real world if I was finishing this year. Four years in college also gives you the chance to become more acquainted with your surroundings and how college works for instance my involvement in extra-curricular college aspects has increased and, as I get used to how to structure a working year, my grades have also dramatically improved.

What are your least favourite aspects of your course?

A very important aspect to note about BESS is that the final year counts for 100% of your degree. It is actually quite difficult to decide whether this would come under favourite aspects or least favourite aspects! On the balance of things though, I think this would have to be seen as a negative. It encourages you to think along the lines of well sure I can just breeze through and work hard in my final year, which is all well and good until you get to your final year and are underprepared (due to your lack of in-depth knowledge of the previous years modules) and highly stressed (as you aren’t used to dealing with the pressure of knowing your work will count towards your final degree grade). Another un-favourable aspect is how large (in terms of numbers of students) the BESS course is. Not only does this detract from the value of lectures and tutorials as lecturers/tutors struggle to engage with such large numbers, but, from a social perspective, this also makes life difficult. As a British student, coming to live and attend college in Dublin for the first time, BESS can be overwhelming. Not only is it big, but it also appears to be particularly appealing to a large number of Dublin-based students, who, whether intentionally or not, fall into the routine of spending time with friends and acquaintances they know from their school days or from living in the city making it difficult for foreigners like myself to fit in! Having said that, I was elected class rep in first year (something I would highly recommend!) and got involved in societies during my second year, which helped. I suppose the intimidating nature of college is something that you have to accept quickly and deal with appropriately.

Was your course what you expected?


What do you wish you had known before choosing this course?

I certainly wish I had known the level of Maths required for succeeding in first year. The requirements for the course are a grade in ordinary level Maths and suddenly, you arrive, and are expected to handle university-level economics-based statistics! I repeated Maths and Stats in first year, but did well in the repeat suggesting I could perhaps have passed with a little more effort! But, having said that, I still would have liked to have been able to take into consideration the level of Maths required before choosing the course.


The continuing controversy over Trinity’s inability to provide an adequate 24-hour study space is something you don’t really appreciate until your final couple of years. I never really took any notice of it in first and second year, but it is something that I really find the college is lacking for the more studious. It is my understanding that most other universities in the country provide large 24hour study spaces (or even have 24hour libraries) and Trinity’s small inadequate 24-hour study spaces are certainly damaging to the ability of large numbers of students to study. The library in general is under-funded and under-staffed and, in general, not run well by those at the top. The fact that you will often hear a large number of students in Trinity complaining about the Library facilities is illustrative of the extent of the problems. Having said that, I have never struggled to find a book that I need for BESS (unless it is out on loan, which is highly annoying but perhaps to be expected during busier periods of the year) and have always found the library staff helpful.

Rate your course in terms of difficulty


Please rate your course in terms of workload

More than other courses

Was this review helpful?
Back to Reviews