Course Overview

This course is not on offer for entry in September 2023. You may find the MA (Drama and Theatre Studies) of interest instead.

The MA in Irish Theatre History & Archives offers a hands-on approach to the study of Irish theatre history as a living process. We move from the nineteenth-century plays of Oscar Wilde and the early Abbey plays of W.B. Yeats and Sean O’Casey, to the towering genius of Samuel Beckett in mid-century, and on to major contemporary dramatists such as Brian Friel, Marina Carr and Enda Walsh. Finally, this programme considers the growing role of interdisciplinary arts practice, dance, and collaborative theatre-making approaches including devising in the contemporary Irish theatre today.

As a students on this course, you have unprecedented access to one of the world’s greatest Irish theatre archives— working with the treasures of the Abbey and Gate Theatre Digital Archives, as well as the papers of Thomas Kilroy, Druid Theatre, the Lyric Players’ Theatre, and many more. These archives include hundreds of videos of performances and original promptbooks, as well as correspondence between major authors, drafts of plays, set and costume designs, and much more.

With classes taught by world-leading scholars, this course offers you the opportunity to work in the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, the major international centre for research on Irish theatre and performance, and to gain access to hands-on work experience in either archive maintenance and acquisition and/or literary management for the theatre.

Why choose this course?

This course blends academic study and research with the opportunity to gain practical work experience through a placement that may include working in the university’s theatre archives or in the area of literary management or dramaturgy. 

The course is ideally suited to anyone with an interest in Irish theatre history. It develops skills in research and archiving and will thus be of special value to anyone interested in pursuing PhD research on Irish theatre. Yet it is also well suited to people with a general interest in Irish drama who simply wish to develop their knowledge further. 

The course also involves attendance at theatres in Galway and Dublin. Students also benefit from the university’s partnerships with Irish theatre companies, notably the Abbey, the Gate, and Druid. 

Scholarships Available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

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

Who Teaches this Course

  • Professor Patrick Lonergan
  • Dr Charlotte McIvor
  • Dr Miriam Haughton
  • Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence
  • Professor Lionel Pilkington

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The programme is intended for graduates with at least a university arts degree (minimum standard H2.2 or GPA 3.0). 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. 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. Students will be accepted on the basis of the degree result, and must supply some supporting documents (writing sample, personal statement, references)—please see detail here.

Additional Requirements

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)


1 year, full-time

Next start date

NOT ON OFFER for entry 2023

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date
NFQ level


Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

All students will take core modules in Irish theatre history and archival research. Students can then choose optional modules in playwriting, performance, dramaturgy, theatre business, applied theatre and more. 

At the end of the year, all students will complete a minor dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff. This original research project will be supervised by our team of world-leading experts in Irish theatre and performance.

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)

Optional DT6123: Playwright's Workshop I - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6127: Producing 1 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional EN6136: Thinking about Books/Thinking about Theatre - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6108: Exploring Michael Chekhov Technique - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6120: Ensemble Acting and Devising - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6134: Creative Arts Ideas Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required DT6130: Critical Methods in Drama, Theatre and Performance - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required DT6102: Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O'Casey - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Required DT6100: Dissertation - 30 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6131: Curation 1 - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional EN6118: Digital Literature, Arts, and Creative Practice - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional DT6112: Advanced Theatre Production Practicum - 10 Credits - Semester 1
Optional IS108: The Politics of Modernity: Writing in English, 1922 to the present - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6122: Performance Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6109: Applied Theatre - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6135: Playwright's Workshop II: Dramaturgical Approaches to Craft - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Required DT6110: Practical Work Experience - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Required DT6101: Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6113: Applied Dramaturgy - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6132: Advanced Producing and Curation - 10 Credits - Semester 2
Optional DT6129: Producing and Curation Ideas Lab - 10 Credits - Semester 2

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Students on this course will be well prepared to pursue further research on Irish theatre history, or to seek a career in archiving (or other related library services) and/or literary management and dramaturgy for the theatre. The course also offers all the benefits of an MA degree, providing students with transferable skills in such areas as research, writing, group work, archiving, and so on.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€Not on offer 2023/24

Fees: Tuition


Fees: Student levy


Fees: Non EU

€Not on offer 2023/24

Student levy €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI.  Further detail here.

Find out More

For more information about the course, please contact:

Dr Miriam Haughton
Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance
T: +353 91 494 485

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