Course Overview

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.

  • We value finding the balance between theory and practice, historical and contemporary genres, individual work and collective co-creation. 
  • We believe theatre, performance, storytelling and creativity are essential to a vibrant and energised society. 
  • We specialise in contemporary performance practices (including but not limited to devised theatre and collective co-creation), producing, playwriting, applied theatre, archival research, and Irish theatre underpinned by diverse staff research specialisms across the spectrum of theatre history and performance studies. 

Students can opt to take the course on a full-time (one year) basis or a part-time (two year) basis. 

drama and theatre students in costumes

Why choose this course?

Drama and Theatre Studies at University of Galway is ranked in the top 100 Performing Arts subject rankings in the QS World University Rankings for 2024. 

top 100 Performing Arts subject

Our proven track record in scholarship and teaching positions O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance as the most exciting place in the world to study and research Irish theatre.  

Our building also features state of the art facilities in which to study and stage your practice during your postgraduate degree alongside visiting world-class artists and festivals throughout the year including but not limited to the Galway International Arts Festival, Baboró International Arts Festival for Children and Galway Theatre Festival.  

students participating in play

student on stage acting out a scene

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. 

Scholarships Available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here. 
Siobhan McKenna Scholarship: 
This scholarship automatically applies to applicants who have accepted and paid their deposit by 15 May 2024. 
Value: €4,000 [Comprising a Bursary of €2,500 and a Fee Waiver of €1,500]
This scholarship honours Siobhán McKenna, the late world-renowned actress of stage and screen who was also a theatre director, translator and activist. The scholarship is awarded annually based on previous practical experience and academic achievement to one individual whose application materials gives evidence of current and/or future potential in acting, directing, translation, politically engaged arts or/and use of indigenous/native language or languages in the arts.
Read about the inaugural Siobhán McKenna scholarship winner, Nouf Rafea, and the history of the award here.
Applicants to our MA in Drama and Theatre Studies who have accepted and paid their deposit by 15 May 2024 will have their applications considered for this scholarship competition which is adjudicated by a panel of Drama and Theatre Studies staff.

performing in Theatre

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

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

Dr. Ian Walsh
B.A, M.A., Ph.D
Lecturer Above the Bar: Drama and Theatre Studies
View Profile
Dr Miriam Haughton
B.A, M.A, Ph.D
Senior Lecturer
Drama and Theatre Studies
O'Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance
School of English and Creative Arts
View Profile
Prof Patrick Lonergan
BA., MA., PhD.,
Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies
View Profile
Dr Charlotte McIvor
BA, PhD.
Senior Lecturer
Drama & Theatre Studies
O'Donoghue Centre
Drama Theatre and Performance
University of Galway
View Profile
Ms Marianne Ní Chinnéide
BA, HDip, MA.
T: +353 91 494482
View Profile
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

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.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

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, please include a professional CV (in theatre, creative arts, and/or other field) 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.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirements may be admitted via a qualifying exam if they have relevant professional experience or be admitted to the PDip.


1 year, full-time | 2 year, part-time

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15 full-time places and 15 part-time places

QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please see offer rounds website for details

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

All students take two core modules covering essential field methodologies for research and theatre practice at the postgraduate level:  


  • Critical Methods in Drama, Theatre and Performance 
  • Creative Practices in Drama, Theatre and Performance 


 Students then choose optional modules from a variety of key areas, including: 

  • Devising and Theatre making 
  • Playwriting 
  • Theatre business/producing 
  • Applied Theatre 
  • Work Placement 


Students can choose a designated emphasis for deeper specialization in “Theatre Practice and Production” or “Playwriting and Dramaturgy” if desired.  

drama and theatre

Curriculum Information

Curriculum 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)

OptionalDT6123: Playwright's Workshop I - 10 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalEX060: Previous Yr Exemption - 60 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6127: Producing 1 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6120: Ensemble Acting and Devising - 10 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6134: Creative Arts Ideas Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6140: Designated Emphasis in Playwriting and Dramaturgy - 0 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6139: Designated Emphasis in Theatre Practice and Production - 0 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalFM6101: Ireland on Screen - 10 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalFM6123: American Cinema: History, Aesthetics, Ideology - 10 Credits - Semester 1
RequiredDT6130: Critical Methods in Drama, Theatre and Performance - 10 Credits - Semester 1
RequiredDT6100: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1
OptionalDT6122: Performance Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalDT6109: Applied Theatre - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalFM6102: Digital Play & Practice - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalDT6135: Playwright's Workshop II: Dramaturgical Approaches to Craft - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalIS108: The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English, 1922 to the present - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalFM6105: Digital Film and Culture - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalFM6125: Global Cinemas: Expanding Film - 10 Credits - Semester 2
OptionalDT6141: Drama and Theatre Studies Work Placement - 10 Credits - Semester 2
RequiredDT6138: Creative Practices in Drama, Theatre and Performance - 10 Credits - Semester 2

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Recent graduates have gone on to work with many theatre companies including the Abbey Theatre, Baboró, Branar, the Gate Theatre, the Galway International Arts Festival, 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 and continuing on to work in academia in the UK, Ireland and the United States.  


Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Between May and mid-July, students can 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 during this experience and throughout.

Galway International Arts Festival SELECTED Participants with the festival team (Paul Fahy, John Crumlish and Rena Bryson), Drama staff member Marianne Kennedy and University President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

Galway International Arts Festival SELECTED Participants with the festival team (Paul Fahy, John Crumlish and Rena Bryson), Drama staff member Marianne Kennedy and University President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,640 p.a. full-time; €3,855 p.a. part-time (including levy) 2024/25

Fees: Tuition

€7,500 p.a. full-time; €3,750 p.a. part-time 2024/25

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. full-time; €105 p.a. part-time 2024/25

Fees: Non EU

€19,000 p.a. (€19,140 p.a. including levy) 2024/25

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.

Find out More

2024 QS Subject Rankings: Top 100

World University Rankings 2024 QS Rankings

Sign up to receive updates