MA in Drama and Theatre Studies (Full Time/Part Time)


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. 

In order to make an application to any of our Postgraduate programmes please click here.

You may also find the FAQ section on the Postgraduate Admissions website helpful.

Why study this programme?

 The O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance is the most exciting place in the world to study and research Irish theatre.

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. Students take workshops as part of the Druid Academy; attend weekly workshops with visiting practitioners; apply for the opportunity of carrying out 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 MAs 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. 

Programme Outline

Programme Outline

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
  • Performance
  • Directing
  • Playwriting
  • 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.

Career Opportunities

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.

What Our Students Say

“I have no hesitation in recommending the MA in Theatre & Drama Studies to anyone interested in pursuing a career in theatre or theatre academia. Moving to Galway for the Masters in 2016 was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The year was incredibly rewarding - introducing me to areas of theatre practice I had not previously been exposed to, as well as giving me a better understanding of my own theatre practice. The drama department is wonderful – the teaching staff are very generous with their expertise and experience and are also very approachable and encouraging. I hadn’t considered continuing my academic career past MA level, however, I enjoyed the Masters so much, I’m now in my first year of a PhD with the Drama Department! “



Sorcha Keane, Festival Director, Galway Theatre Festival 

MA Drama and Theatre Studies 2016-17


"I can't recommend the MA in Drama & Theatre Studies highly enough. it was an incredibly stimulating and rewarding year. I left NUI, Galway with a greater understanding and appreciation of Irish playwriting and theatre practice as well as being able to realistically think about pursuing a career as a theatre director which, thankfully, I've been doing since."

Cathal Cleary, Freelance Director and Artistic Director of Zelig Theatre. Recent credits include Arthur Miller’s The Last Yankee at the Print Room Theatre, London (2013), Associate Director on Michael Grandage Company’s production of Privates on Parade by Peter Nichols at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End (2013),Enda Walsh’s Disco Pigs at the Young Vic London (JMK Trust Directors Award, 2011).

Contact Us

For more information about the course, please contact:

Dr Miriam Haughton

Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance