Course Overview

The MA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy cultivates the growth of the individual writer through an intensive one-year immersion in an ensemble-based learning environment. Based at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, you will be immersed in a natural environment for creating and thinking about theatre practice. 

As a student, you will take modules on playwriting and other forms of theatre practice through which you will have the opportunity to specialise further, based on your own skills and interests. You will cultivate your skills as writers of dramatic texts (playwriting) but also increase your knowledge of a wide range of theatrical structures and forms (dramaturgy) to expand yourrange as artists. As a writer on this programme, you will hone your craft through intensive mentorship and a rigorous programme of modules, workshops and theatre trips that places your individual work in the context of the contemporary theatre industry and the history of theatre craft. The programme concludes with a playwriting dissertation advised by a professional writer and features a public reading of the your new work at the O’Donoghue Centre.

Why choose this course?

The course draws on NUI Galway’s long track record of producing award-winning playwrights, theatre critics, academics and practitioners. The course facilitates the development of the your individual  playwriting craft by exposing you to a range of theatre practices within an ensemble-based learning environment. You are are based at the world-leading centre for study and research in Irish theatre and performance. Given  NUI Galway’s rich tradition of student productions, you will also have ample opportunities to stage their plays. And with Galway’s vibrant creative scene, you can see world-class work throughout the academic year. 

NUI Galway also has one of the world’s great Irish theatre archives. As a student on this course, you will be able learn from the best—consulting manuscripts and promptbooks by such writers as W.B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, Tom Murphy, Brian Friel, Thomas Kilroy, Marina Carr, Enda Walsh, and many more.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Professor Patrick Lonergan
  • Dr Charlotte McIvor
  • Dr Miriam Haughton
  • Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence
  • Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy 

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

At least a Second Class Honours, Grade 2 (H2.2 or GPA 3.0) undergraduate degree, a personal statement addressing their theatre experiences and aims, two letters of reference, and a writing sample (5–6 pages)—this can be an academic essay, creative writing or theatre reviews. Entry for candidates with significant relevant experience may be possible. 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 (Merit 2) degree 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

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please view offer rounds website

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code


Course Outline

All students take core modules in playwriting and dramaturgy. Students then can choose optional modules that address a diverse range of specialised topics in the field of performance, directing, theatre business, applied theatre, theatre history, archival research and more. 

After classes conclude, students work on the completion of a new play or piece of writing for performance with a mentor in the profession.  This work will receive a public staged reading in early summer at the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance. 

A key aspect of the course is the preparation of candidates for success upon graduation: we provide advice on submitting plays for production, or other forms of writing for publication. Regular workshops with writers form a key part of the course.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates of NUI Galway writing programmes have gone on to doctoral programmes in the humanities, to teaching, to employment in journalism, magazine editing, travel writing, technical writing, and public relations as well as publishing anthologies and books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. In the field of theatre, our graduates have gone on to write for such theatres as the Abbey (Ireland) and the Traverse (Scotland), while many have also staged their own works at Festivals in Dublin, Galway, Edinburgh and elsewhere.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,716 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€6,576 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€16,216 p.a. 2021/22

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €3,500 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 €140.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

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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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)