Course Overview

Scholarships are available for this programme.

NUI Galway places strong emphasis on interacting with working theatre professionals, as shown by our exciting partnerships with Druid Theatre, Galway Arts Festival, the Abbey Theatre and others. Students take workshops as part of the Druid Academy, attend workshops with visiting practitioners, have the option of carrying out an internship, and visit the theatre frequently, both in Galway and Dublin. Students also have access to the Abbey Theatre Digital Archives, which are housed on campus.

  • Full-Time MA

This one-year full-time 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.

  • Part-Time MA

This is a two-year programme offering students the opportunity to study drama from practical, theoretical and historical perspectives. This programme is particularly suited to those who require the flexibility of a part-time programme, or who may wish to spread the cost of the programme over two years. Most modules will take place in the late afternoon and early evening, and the total time commitment will be no more than two evenings per week.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who Teaches this Course

Mary-Elizabeth Burke Kennedy—Playwright and founder-director of StoryTellers Theatre Company. Author of Cross My Heart, Curigh the Shape Shifter, The Golden Goose, The Parrot, Wind of the World and many translations and adaptations.  Teaches playwrights' workshop. 

Thomas Conway—Druid Theatre Director-in-Residence and Literary Manager, Druid Theatre. 

Max Hafler—Director, Actor, Playwright, Novelist (Waking the Woodboy, 2002). His plays include Melting Doves (Yew Tree, 1997) and Grand (Yew Tree, 2002).  Artistic Director, Theatrecorps.  Teaches Ensemble Acting and Devising. 

Dr. Patrick Lonergan—(Course Director)—Author of Theatre and Globalization (winter of the Theatre Book Prize in 2009) and The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh. Currently leading the Abbey Theatre Digitization Project. 

Dr. Charlotte McIvor—Discipline of English, NUI Galway.  She received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley with a designated emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Irish University Review, Modern Drama and Public and edited collections including Celtic Others: Irish Literary Representations of the Migrant (2013), Deviant Acts: Essays on Queer Performance (2009) and Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture (2009). She has also taught at California College for the Arts and Santa Clara University. Teaches Performance Lab. 

Dr. Lionel Pilkington—English Department, NUI Galway. Lionel has a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto and a MA and BA from University College Cork. He is the author of Theatre and the State in 20th C Ireland: Cultivating the People (London and New York: Routledge, 2001) and Theatre & Ireland (London: Palgrave, 2010) as well as editor (with Fiona Bateman) of Studies in Settler Colonialism (London: Palgrave, 2011). He has written a variety of essays on twentieth-century Irish theatre history and cultural politics and his current area of research is theatre and capitalism in Irish theatre history. 

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 personal statement addressing their theatre experience and aims, and the names of two people who can provide 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.

Additional Requirements


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

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15 full-time places and 15 part-time places

Closing Date

Please see offer rounds webpage for details

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting




PAC code

GYA03 full-time | GYA04 part-time

Course Outline

There are two options for study:

Full-Time MA

All students take a course in writing about theatre and performance, which covers practical writing skills in such areas as theatre reviewing, writing research papers and preparing grant applications—and we also provide you with opportunities to reflect upon your own practice through writing. Students then choose five courses from a variety of options, including:

  •  Theatre Business (including internship with an Irish theatre company)
  •  Ensemble and Devising
  •  New Approaches to Performance
  •  Directing for Stage
  •  Children’s Theatre
  •  20th Century Directors and Theorists
  •  Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O’Casey
  •  Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present
  •  The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive
  •  Druid Theatre: Synge, Tom Murphy, Martin McDonagh, Enda Walsh and beyond
  •  Theatre Theory
  •  Irish Theatre in Practice
  •  Exploring the Michael Chekhov Technique
  •  Applied Theatre

 Part-Time MA

This is a two-year part-time programme.  Students take three modules each year and write a minor dissertation at the end of second year.

In Year One, all students take a module on writing about theatre and performance. This involves weekly theatre visits and allows you to develop the skills you will need as the course progresses.

Students will also choose an additional two modules, from the following list:

  • Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O’Casey
  • Playwriting
  • New Approaches to Performance
  • The Abbey Theatre Digital Archive
  • Children’s Theatre.

In Year Two, students choose three modules from the following list:

  • Ensemble
  • Directing for the Stage
  • Performance Lab
  • Druid Theatre: Synge, Tom Murphy, Martin McDonagh, Enda Walsh and beyond.

Students also undertake a minor dissertation, which can be an independently completed research project, the staging of a production, or a creative writing project involving the composition of a new play.

Module details for full time course

Module details for part time course

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Recent graduates have gone on to work with many theatre companies, including the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre, Rough Magic, and the Young Vic (London) among 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

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

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. NUI Galway's partnerships with theatre companies are an important part of the course.

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.
Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Dr Miriam Haughton
T: +353 91 494 485