Modern, Modular Learning System
Students tell us that they love the flexibility of the UCD curriculum. This flexibility is made possible by the UCD Horizons Programme. Our modular learning system gives students the opportunity to explore areas that interest them beyond the scope of their course. This means that you can adapt your degree to your personal preferences. The University will guide you through your choices, helping to set you on your own learning path.
What is UCD Horizons?
UCD Horizons is the name given to the modular and credit-based structure for taught degrees at UCD. While all UCD students are expected to become experts in their major degree subjects, the UCD Horizons structure also allows you to look beyond your specific degree, if you wish, to pursue other subjects that interest you.
This makes UCD Horizons much more flexible than traditional degree programmes and it means you can adapt the curriculum to your personal preferences. As our modular, credit-based system meets international standards, it also makes it much easier if you want to study abroad for part of your degree.
How does UCD Horizons work?
Each course is made up of 12 modules (60 credits) per year. Every module is worth five credits. Each year, you have to study 10 modules (or 50 credits) that are related to your course. These are called ‘core’ modules. The remaining two modules (or 10 credits) are ‘elective’ modules. These allow you to customise your degree as you can choose these elective modules either from the course that you are studying to deepen your knowledge or from any course we offer in UCD.
For example, if you are studying Commerce but you always had an interest in Psychology, you could choose to study some modules from the Psychology degree course. Similarly, if you are studying Engineering but you like languages and want to study a little Spanish, you could choose your electives in Spanish. You do have to pass your elective modules to achieve your 12 modules (60 credits) per year.
Note, in some courses and/or stages, the 50/10 credit balance may vary. Also, the availability of modules is timetable dependent and subject to demand for spaces. Among the wide range of choices available, you will see exciting Discovery modules that look at current and future issues of national and global importance. These Discovery modules will combine teaching and learning across more than one subject, in areas where UCD is leading on international research.
The diagram below shows the typical structure for one year of a UCD degree.
Why our students like UCD Horizons
“UCD Horizons is a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge in another area of choice. In my first and second year, I began learning Spanish, which I really liked. I also took the very first Black Studies module in Ireland, which I thoroughly enjoyed! Networking and interacting with students from different degree programmes is also one of the many benefits of UCD Horizons.”
Daniel Edunjobi, Commerce
“One of the persuading factors to go to UCD for me was UCD Horizons. The first elective I chose was Introduction to Forensic Anthropology! Well it wasn’t actually as bizarre for me as it sounds; I was at the time really into the show ‘Bones’ and even considered studying anthropology at college level. We got to look at the evolution of hominids (humans, and their relatives) as well as lab work where we got hands-on experience of identifying different bones from each other.”
Ciara Sweeney, Animal Science Student
“I decided in second year that I wanted to broaden my language horizons. With the development of high-tech biomedical prosthetics in Japan and Asia, taking Japanese was a great opportunity. The classes were very friendly and interactive, which really helped me engage with the language. There is a strong emphasis on weekly learning which keeps the module work-load manageable. I’ve gone on to study Japanese in my own time now and truly love the culture that I was introduced to by UCD Horizons.”
Jake Kiely, Biomedical Engineering Student
“The UCD Horizons programme was one of the reasons I decided to study in UCD – few colleges offer this kind of flexibility and opportunity within the degree structure. Alongside my main subjects (Classics and Geography), in first year I took modules in History, Politics and Geology because they linked in with, and really enhanced my understanding of, some of the topics covered in my main degree area. I noticed my grades for Physical Geography improved greatly the semester I took the Geology elective; the material and information complemented each other so well.”
Suzanne Lynch, BA Classics & Geography
“In second year I took an elective in Psychology. The course offered an introduction to Psychology and helped develop skills in critical thinking which I was later able to use as part of my thesis work. In third year I took the opportunity to study introductory Spanish as an elective. This will benefit me if I go to work in the horticultural industry in America. The class structure is conversationally-based, which makes learning easy and helps you to grasp the language quickly working with others in your class.”
David Corscadden, Horticulture, Landscape & Sportsturf Management Student
“UCD Horizons is the main reason I came to UCD. It basically gives you an opportunity to do anything from around college, at least one module every semester which is good; it gives you an opportunity to keep your interest. I did Astronomy last year as part of that and I absolutely loved it.”
Anu Joy, Chemical & Bioprocess Engineering Student
“In my second year I took a UCD Horizons module from the School of Music entitled ‘Popular Music & Culture’. In this module we were taught the history of popular music, from its roots with Elvis through the Beatles and rap music, to the modern day. We studied the music from a social and ethnic standpoint, learning about the background forces which shaped the music itself. The elective allowed me to expand my analytical skills and knowledge of my passion, music.”
Matthew Deery, BA English Student
“All through secondary school I played percussion in orchestras, including the National Youth Symphony Orchestra, and had even considered going professional. UCD allowed me to use my participation in the UCD Symphony Orchestra for academic credit. My grades were decided upon a mixture of attendance, improvement and performance at the end of year concert in the National Concert Hall. Musicians are a dedicated bunch, and practise every day, sometimes for hours. To have that time and commitment recognised was really fantastic, and meant that I could fully dedicate myself to rehearsals and performances, without feeling that I was taking that time away from my studies.”
Sally Hayden, Law Graduate
“I chose to study at UCD because it allowed me to study a variety of subject areas within Science, which helped me decide on which area I wanted to specialise in (Chemistry). After I graduate I hope to do a PhD and eventually become an independent academic. I’m a member of the Cumann Gaelach and I became a Peer Mentor. I am also able to study subjects I like such as French and Statistics because of the UCD Horizons programme.”
Martin Ferry, Chemistry Student