Higher Certificate in Arts - Full-time

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Structure
  • Career Opportunities
  • Fees
  • Next Steps



Are you someone who has a broad interest in studying the arts or social sciences but feels uncertain as to how far or in what direction you would like to pursue that interest? Are you someone who would like to earn a substantial academic qualification but feel daunted by the idea of a long three or four year commitment? Are you someone who prefers learning by doing, through participation in projects and activities? Are you someone who might flourish under the very close guidance and extended support of a team of dedicated lecturers? Are you searching for inspiration and ideas as to what to do in the future? Or are you just curious about life and wish to reflect upon it through the prism of ideas and theories derived from some of the great thinkers of the past and present?

If you can answer yes to one or more of the questions above, then the Higher Certificate in Arts may be the educational option that is best for you. An entirely unique offering within the Irish educational landscape, the Higher Certificate in Arts is a two-year programme of arts education which can serve equally well as a significant achievement and qualification in its own right and as an extended and guided process of transition into higher levels of study. As well as building knowledge and developing intellectual and academic skills across a very diverse range of areas, the programme fosters the development of a broad set of key skills and competencies readily transferrable to a variety of work-related contexts.

Programme Aims and Objectives

The primary aim of the Higher Certificate in Arts is to prepare you for future challenges, whether those challenges lie in the areas of study or work. The objectives of the programme can be summarised as follows:

  • To provide a substantial and extended introduction to a range of subjects
    available for study within the arts and social sciences.

  • To prepare students for the challenges of studying particular subjects at higher

  • To promote an understanding of how different academic disciplines or subjects
    engage and explore different and related concepts and issues.

  • To facilitate the development of writing, oral presentation and IT skills.

  • To promote the practice of writing in a range of conventions, forms and styles
    appropriate to different academic subject or disciplines.

  • To facilitate in the development of independent study, research and learning

  • To facilitate in the development of team-working, project-management, time
    management and careers skills. 

  • To offer the opportunity for advanced level entry onto honours degree programmes
    of education and training in subject areas related to the content of the programme.

Course Content

Year 1

Year 2

Core Modules

History and Politics

Literature and Film

Media and Journalism

Social Science and Psychology

The Certificate Learning Lab

The Certificate Project

Careers Discovery


Core Modules

Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods

Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods

Contemporary Issues: Self and Society

Electives - Choose 1


War and Peace in the 20th Century I

War and Peace in the 20th Century II

Introduction to Drama & Theatre

Introduction to Literature (Poetry & Fiction)

Introduction to Sociology

Film Studies Today


Hollywood Cinema

Film Studies Today

European and World Cinemas

Introduction to Digital Filmmaking


Introduction to Broadcasting

Ireland’s Media

Information Technology for Journalism

Basic News Reporting

Digital Photography

Social Science

Introduction to Sociology


Psychology for Social Science

Social Policy: Historical and Cultural Perspectives


Psychological Foundations

Foundations in Social Psychology

Data Analysis and Computing

Developmental Psychology

Foundations of Biopsychology

Fundamentals of Cognitive Psychology

DBS Employability Pillar

In line with the DBS philosophy of ensuring its graduates have a suite of knowledge, skills and competence that make them readily employable, the programme contains an Employability Pillar of modules that complement the programme specific modules. This pillar of modules ensures students are aware of employer expectations on graduating, enhances their communication skills and time management while positioning the student for academic development during the course of their degree studies.

Year 3

Employability in Action

Lifelong Learning: Learning for Life

Year 2

Employability Skills

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Year 1

Learning to Learn

Communication For Personal Success

The DBS Employability Pillar, which runs throughout the duration of the degree, will demonstrate an awareness of transferable skills and their applicability in ‘real-life’ situations, projects undertaken and how they are applied in different circumstances so that students can take ownership of your own career management. Students will be able to develop realistic career plans and initiate and sustain professional networks and relationships to encourage opportunities for employment and internships. Students will present themselves and their skills, attributes, experiences and qualifications, through effective job applications, CVs, interviews and voluntary activities. This will enable students to develop the necessary skills to compete effectively for a broad range of employment, postgraduate study options and innovative opportunities available to them and further develop lifelong learning and continuous professional development.


The Higher Certificate in Arts is a two year programme divided into two levels and offering a series of internal options or pathways at level 2. All students take all of level 1 of the programme and then take the common elements of level 2 alongside one of the five optional specialised subject pathways during their second year. Whatever internal pathway they choose students will encounter an attractive mix of traditional academic education and a course of continuing academic, personal and professional learning development that will put them in good stead for the future.

Career Opportunities

The programme will be of equal interest to those interested in an arts or social sciences third level education and those interested in pursuing a career in any area of work that requires strong skills of written expression, oral presentation, communication, conceptual and critical thought, teamwork or project management. Related DBS courses have an excellent record of inspiring and enabling students to go on to further study, with a very high proportion of graduates progressing onto further educational programmes at honours degree level and beyond and to a very wide variety of jobs and careers.

Our graduates can now be found working in education, journalism, health and social services, the film and theatre industries, business and in a range of other employment contexts.

Transfer and Progression

Graduates of the Certificate in Arts programme will be granted exemption from level 1 of this programme and enter level 2 directly. Graduates of this Higher Certificate in Arts programme will automatically gain right of entry to level 2 of any one of the following DBS School of Arts honours degree programmes: BA (Hons) in Psychology, BA (Hons) in Social Science, and BA (Hons) in Film. The programme is clearly placed and validated on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and so graduates will also be qualified to apply for entry to similar programmes in other institutions. Learners should thus be able to progress from enrolling on the Higher Certificate to graduating with an Honours Degree award in four years.


The fees for Full-time Certificate in Arts are €5,895 for EU students.

Click here to view international fees.  

Click here to view EU fees.

You can also contact our admissions team who will also be able to advise on the payment options available to you.

Please note there is no tax relief on this one year programme.

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration offered by Dublin Business School (DBS) are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) (b) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby in the event that DBS ceases to provide the programme, for any reason, after learners have started on that programme, Kaplan Inc., as guarantor, will refund the moneys most recently paid by or for the learner.   More details are included in the terms and conditions of learner admission to DBS (https://www.dbs.ie/terms-and-conditions) and on programme handbooks provided at induction.

School Leaver Applicants

Application for first year full-time programmes in the college is through the CAO System. The CAO system applies only to applications for first year admissions to undergraduate full-time day programmes described in the prospectus, which have a CAO Course code www.cao.ie.  . Application forms and the CAO Handbook are both supplied by the Central Applications Office (CAO), Tower House, Eglinton Street, Galway or from your Career Guidance Counsellor.

Mature Applicants

If you are over 23 years of age on the 1st of January on the year of admission and do not meet the minimum entry requirements, you may apply as a Mature Student. Mature students should apply directly to the Admissions Office at Dublin Business School. Mature students are assessed on the basis of age, work experience, general education standard, motivation and commitment to the programme for which they are applying. Please forward documentation such as any relevant transcripts, a CV or any other related documentation to the Admissions Office. Proof of age such as a copy of driver’s licence or passport must also be submitted. 

Transfer Learners

Graduates of this programme will automatically gain entry to any one of the following DBS School of Arts honours degree programmes: BA (Hons) in Psychology, BA (Hons) in Social Science, and BA (Hons) in Film. The programme is clearly placed and validated on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and so graduates will also be qualified to apply for entry to similar programmes in other institutions. Learners should thus be able to progress from enrolling on the Certificate to graduating with an Honours Degree award in four years.

EU Citizens

A European (EU) Application is one made by a person:
(a) who is permanently a resident in one of the member states of the European Union and/or 
(b) who will have received full-time second level education, for three of the five years immediately before the date of proposed admission, in member states.

Non-EU Applicants

Non - EU applicants should contact directly the International Admissions Office at Dublin Business School.

Application fee to CAO

Early applicants to CAO can benefit from a reduced fee of €30 for early online applications. There is a standard application fee of €45 made payable to CAO on submitting your CAO application form or online application to www.cao.ie before the normal closing date. Late applicants will be charged €90 for paper applications and €60 for online applications.

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  • Full-time Degrees/ Certificates
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  • Arts
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Course overview


Awarding Body: 
Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
Award: Certificate
NFQ Level:
Level 6
Award Title: 
Certificate in Arts
Award Type:
2 Years
CAO Code: DB563

Contact Us

We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2021. Contact our admissions team for more information

Email: admissions@dbs.ie
Phone: 01 417 7500
Opening times:
Monday to Friday
8:45am to 5:15pm