Important Information

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. A part-time option exists through the PhD in Drama and Theatre Studies [part-time] (GYG45). 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).


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

Your application will include the following:

  • Details of academic qualifications
  • Contact details for two referees
    • You will then 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.
    • Transcripts
    • A sample of academic writing (e.g. a recent BA or MA course essay) of 5,000 words
    • 1500-word research proposal
      • For details on format, see below. 
      • A full CV outlining academic and practical 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 currently 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.

 NUI Galway PhD Funding

Click here for details on a range of fellowships offered by the College of Arts, Social Science and Celtic Studies including the Haridman Research Scholarship and the Galway Scholarship Scheme:      

Part-time Teaching

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 and Theatre Studies for PhD students after their second year. The university also offers formal certified training in third level teaching.

PhD Seminar

PhD students in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance will also take part in a discipline-specific PhD seminar run in conjunction with the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance’s monthly research seminar.  This seminar addresses professionalization skills and strategies specific to the disciplines of Drama, Theatre and Performance as well as featuring visiting speakers.  Topics addressed may include: research and publication, preparing funding applications, pedagogy, CV formatting, job market and interview skills, careers outside the academy, time management, work/life balance and others as appropriate.