PhDs in Drama and Theatre Studies

The School of Humanities currently has several students who are completing PhDs in areas related to Drama and Theatre Studies.

PhD students have full access to the university's theatre resources, including the Bank of Ireland Theatre and our archival resources (including the Abbey Theatre Digital Archive). They are also encouraged to take part in the many activities organised for our students including talks and workshops, conferences, and more.

We particularly welcome PhD enquiries from the students interested in working on our theatre archives (Abbey Theatre, Thomas Kilroy, Druid, etc - for full details see here), and from people interested in practice-as-research based areas. NUI Galway is pre-eminent in the study of Irish theatre and drama and we welcome applications from students interested in any aspect of that topic. Other enquiries are very welcome.

To enquire about PhDs in Drama at NUI Galway, please email Patrick Lonergan, Professor of Drama, on



A PhD dissertation should make a substantial and original contribution to its field of knowledge. The PhD degree is awarded for work that is 'worthy of publication, in whole or in part, as a work of serious scholarship' ( NUI Galway Calendar). The length of the dissertation in Drama and Theatre Studies is normally 60,000 to 80,000 words, though that will vary for practice-based research.

The duration of research is usually four years. Part-time options exist. In the first year of study, students take modules that aim to develop their skills in such areas as archival research, teaching, conference presentation, and so on. We are aware of the importance of students securing employment upon graduation and dedicate a great deal of attention to developing your skills and providing you with practical guidance about how to secure work in your chosen field(s).


Application Procedure

The minimum qualification necessary to be considered for admission to the PhD programme is a high honours primary degree, or 'other such evidence as will satisfy the Head of Department and the Faculty of his/her fitness' ( NUI Galway Calendar). It is more usual, however, for successful applicants to have already gained a Master's degree.

To apply for admission to the PhD programme, you must complete an online postgraduate application form on

The application form asks you to detail your qualifications and to name two referees. You must include transcripts and arrange for two academic referees to complete the attached Referee’s form, seal it in an envelope, and forward them to PAC within 10 days of  application. You must also submit a sample of academic writing (e.g. a recent BA or MA course essay) of 5,000 words and a 1500-word research proposal. Students intersted in practice-based research should send a full CV outlining their experience.


This proposal should be structured under the following headings:

1. Description of proposed research (800 words) 
This section should describe clearly the subject and scope of your research. You should indicate the critical problems or questions you propose to investigate.

2. Critical context (350 words) 
This section should describe, as far as you can tell, the extent of the scholarly work already done on your topic. You should be able to explain how your research will challenge or extend this existing knowledge.

3. Methodology (250 words)
Here you should describe the research methodologies you will employ, and explain why you have chosen them (e.g. critical biography, practice-as-research, archival research, genre study, etc.)

4. Sources and archives (100 words)
Give a preliminary indication of the primary and secondary material you expect to examine,  and how much of the material may be found at NUI Galway. You will be able to avail of  inter-library loans and will be eligible to apply for some travel funding during the course of your research.

Your application will be assessed by the Postgraduate Studies Committee. Acceptance will depend on a number of factors: the quality and viability of the proposal, the applicant's qualifications and achievements to date, the reports of the two referees, and the availability of appropriate supervision



Irish Research Council 
These scholarships are awarded on the basis of national competition.  Scholarships are valued at up to €16,000 per annum. They will be awarded initially for one year, but subject to terms and conditions, are renewable for up to two additional years. Fees will also be covered for the period of the Scholarship. Information about these may be obtained from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Brooklawn House, Shelbourne Rd, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. (tel. 353 (0)1 660 3652). You may also visit their for information. 

Click here for details on a range of fellowships offered by the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies     

Part-time Teaching in 
We place strong emphasis on the need for PhD students to boost their employment prospects - and share their knowledge - by engaging in teaching. A limited amount of part-time undergraduate  teaching will usually be available within Drama for PhD students after their second year. The university also offers formal certified training in third level teaching.


NUI Regulations on Submission and Formatting of PhD Theses

You should become familiar with the National University of Ireland regulations for PhD theses. You will find these in the NUI Galway General Calendar, or you may obtain them directly from the Registrar, National University of Ireland, 49 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.