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Drama and Theatre Studies (MA)
The MA in Drama and Theatre Studies, housed at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, is a world-leading course that combines critical perspectives on the practice of theatre history/theory with theatre-making. A diverse range of modules allows students to build a programme that suits their chosen career trajectory– whether in theatre practice, Irish drama, playwriting, theatre criticism, applied theatre or a blend.
As a student at the O’Donoghue Centre, you will benefit from being immersed in a supportive, invigorating community of world-class practitioners and scholars, whilst also being based in Galway, home to a vibrant arts and theatre scene.
This MA programme blends theoretical and practical approaches to the study of drama, and is particularly suited to applicants who wish to produce theatre publicly, write or review plays, teach drama, or carry out further academic research. Applicants with a general interest in theatre are also very welcome. As a student on the course, you can benefit from NUI Galway’s unique partnership with Druid Theatre, recently described by The New York Times as “one of the world’s great theatre companies.” Led by Garry Hynes, participation in the Druid Academy involves masterclasses, and workshops as part of your degree.
Students can opt to take the course on a full-time (one year) basis or a part-time (two year) basis.
Why choose this course?
The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is the most exciting place in the world to study and research Irish theatre.
We place strong emphasis on interacting with working theatre professionals, as shown by our exciting partnerships with Druid Theatre, Galway International Arts Festival, the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre and many individuals and organisations. You can take workshops as part of the Druid Academy; attend workshops with visiting practitioners; apply for the opportunity to complete an internship with leading theatre institutions such as the Abbey, Druid, Fishamble, Corn Exchange, or Rough Magic; and visit the theatre, both in Galway and Dublin.
Lecturers on the MA in Drama and Theatre Studies have internationally renowned expertise, especially in Irish drama, theatre, and performance; performance studies; intercultural theatre; theatre and feminisms; popular performance, theatre history and much more. We are also home to the Abbey and Gate Theatre Digital Archives, as well as the Druid, Siobhán McKenna, and Arthur Shields archives.
Applications and Selections
Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System.
Who Teaches this Course
Max Hafler began his professional life as an actor, training at LAMDA. He is a theatre tutor, director and writer who now specialises primarily in Michael Chekhov Technique and Voice. He trained in Chekhov Technique at MICHA and Michael Chekhov Europe. His book, Teaching Voice, was published by Nick Hern Books in 2016 and his next, on Chekhov Technique, Shakespeare and young actors is due out in late 2019. Of his many productions, his most recent professional production was for The Sacrificial Wind, a poem-play by Lorna Shaughnessy which played in Cuirt and at the Heaney Centre NI.
Garry Hynes (Adjunct Professor in Drama) is the artistic director of Druid Theatre. Outside of her work with Druid, she has worked with The Abbey and Gate Theatres (Ireland) and internationally with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court in the UK, and with Second Stage, Signature Theater and Manhattan Theater Club in New York; and with The Kennedy Centre in Washington. The recipient of multiple awards, she was the first female director to win a Tony Award in 1998.
Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín is the Druid Artist in Residence. A Galway native, Máiréad Ní Chróinín established Moonfish Theatre, with her sister Ionia, in 2006. Moonfish have also created numerous works for young people, including Moonfish Pop-Up Worlds: Memory Paths, a project commissioned by Riverbank Arts Centre and Kildare Library Services, Tromluí Phinocchio/Pinocchio - a Nightmare, winner of the Stewart Parker New Irish Language Writing Award, and The Secret Garden. Dr Ní Chróinín is also an artist and researcher in the area of theatre and digital technology
Drama and Theatre Studies
O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, The
School of English and Creative A
T: +353 91 49 2623
Drama & Theatre Studies
O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, The
Requirements and Assessment
There is continuous assessment through regular writing assignments, performance work and end-of-semester projects, comprising 60 credits. At the end of the second year, all students will complete a minor dissertation worth 30 credits.
A university arts degree (minimum standard 2.2, or US GPA 3.0). Students will be accepted on the basis of the degree result, a writing sample (5–6 pages)—which can be an academic essay, creative writing piece or theatre reviews—a personal statement outlining suitability for and interest in the programme, and names and contact details of two references. Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirements may be admitted via a qualifying exam if they have relevant professional experience, or may be admitted to the PDip. Students who do not meet the honours degree requirement but have a Level 7 degree (Merit 2) may be admitted to the PDip course with the possibility of progressing to the MA if they receive a minimum of 60% in their course work during the year.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
1 year, full-time | 2 year, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
15 full-time places and 15 part-time places
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
Please see offer rounds website for details
Mode of study
All students take a core module that address critical perspectives and critical practice in Drama, Theatre and Performance.
Students then choose optional modules from a variety of key areas, including:
- Devising and theatre-making
- Theatre business/producing
- Applied Theatre
- Modern and Contemporary Irish theatre
- Writing about theatre
- Archival research
At the end of the course, all students will complete a minor dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff. Your minor dissertation can consist of original research or a practice-as-research project that might include the production of a play or creation of a new performance piece.
Curriculum InformationCurriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.
Glossary of Terms
- You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
- An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
- Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
- A module you may choose to study.
- A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
- Required Core Subject
- A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
- Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.
Year 1 (90 Credits)Optional DT6123: Playwright's Workshop I - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6127: Producing 1 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6120: Ensemble Acting and Devising - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6134: Creative Arts Ideas Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6140: Designated Emphasis in Playwriting and Dramaturgy - 0 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6139: Designated Emphasis in Theatre Practice and Production - 0 Credits - Semester 1
Optional FM6101: Ireland on Screen - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional FM6123: American Cinema: History, Aesthetics, Ideology - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required DT6130: Critical Methods in Drama, Theatre and Performance - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required DT6100: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DM6100: Moving Image Techniques - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6102: Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O'Casey - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6136: Theatre for Children and Young Audiences - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6131: Curation 1 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6112: Advanced Theatre Production Practicum - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional EN6118: Digital Literature, Arts, and Creative Practice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6122: Performance Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6109: Applied Theatre - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional FM6102: Digital Play & Practice - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6135: Playwright's Workshop II: Dramaturgical Approaches to Craft - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional IS108: The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English, 1922 to the present - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional FM6105: Digital Film and Culture - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional FM6125: Global Cinemas: Expanding Film - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6141: Drama and Theatre Studies Work Placement - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Required DT6138: Creative Practices in Drama, Theatre and Performance - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6137: Irish Theatre and Performance Histories - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6101: Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6129: Producing and Curation Ideas Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6132: Advanced Producing and Curation - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6113: Applied Dramaturgy - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Why Choose This Course?
Recent graduates have gone on to work with many theatre companies including the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, the Young Vic (London) and others. They have also found employment in education, the heritage and tourist industries, arts organisations, business and the public service. Many have progressed to PhD study, often winning scholarships in support of their studies.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Transferable Skills Employers Value
Between May and mid-July, students do an internship of approximately three weeks with a professional theatre company or arts institution in Ireland or abroad. University of Galway's partnerships with theatre companies are an important part of the course.
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
Postgraduate Diploma (PGD-DTS): €7,000 (€7,140 including levy) EU; €15,750 (€15,890 including levy) Non-EU 2024/25
Student levy €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here.
2023 QS Subject Rankings: Top 120