Course Overview

Drama students reading lines

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. 

Students in the Quad

Why choose this course?

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. You can  take workshops as part of the Druid Academy; attend workshops with visiting practitioners; apply for the opportunity to complete 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 MA 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. 

Scholarships Available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here. 

MA Drama and Theatre 3

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Dr Catherine Morris isFellow in Theatre and Performance & Lecturer in Culture, Community and the University, teaches modules that draw extensively from the theatre archives. Her book Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival uncovered the feminist theatre practice of one of the most significant founders of modern Ireland. As a curator, she collaborates internationally devising exhibition interventions that include the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s El Lissitzky: the Artists and the State. Current research includes curation as performance, autobiography & the city, staging Europe in Ireland. 

Max Hafler began his professional life as an actor, training at LAMDA. He is a theatre tutor, director and writer who now specialises primarily in Michael Chekhov Technique and Voice. He trained in Chekhov Technique at MICHA and Michael Chekhov Europe. His book, Teaching Voice, was published by Nick Hern Books in 2016 and his next, on Chekhov Technique, Shakespeare and young actors is due out in late 2019. Of his many productions, his most recent professional production was for The Sacrificial Wind, a poem-play by Lorna Shaughnessy which played in Cuirt and at the Heaney Centre NI.

Dr Miriam Haughton is Director of Postgraduate Studies in Drama, Theatre and Performance. Author of Staging Trauma: Bodies in Shadow, she has also co-edited Radical Contemporary Theatre Practices by Women in Ireland, and published in Contemporary Theatre Review, Modern Drama, New Theatre Quarterly, Irish Studies Review, Mortality, Irish Theatre International and Ilha Do Desterro as well as multiple collections. Miriam established the Feminist Storytelling Network at NUI Galway, and previously worked in theatre, television and film production in Ireland and the UK.

Garry Hynes (Adjunct Professor in Drama) is the artistic director of Druid Theatre. Outside of her work with Druid, she has worked with The Abbey and Gate Theatres (Ireland) and internationally with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court in the UK, and with Second Stage, Signature Theater and Manhattan Theater Club in New York; and with The Kennedy Centre in Washington. The recipient of multiple awards, she was the first female director to win a Tony Award in 1998.

Patrick Lonergan is Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies, and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has edited or written eleven books on Irish theatre, the most recent of which is Irish Drama and Theatre Since 1950 (Bloomsbury, 2019). He is on the board of Galway International Arts Festival, and is co-editor of Methuen Drama ‘Critical Companions’ series. 

Dr Charlotte McIvor is the author of Migration and Performance in Contemporary Irish Theatre: Towards a New Interculturalism, co-editor of volumes including Interculturalism and Performance Now, Devised Performance in Irish Theatre and Staging Intercultural Ireland: Plays and Practitioner Perspectives, and currently involved in a large-scale multidisciplinary practice-as-research project which uses creative arts methods as tools of education regarding sexual consent.

Marianne Ni Chinneide is a lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance and Head of Production and Curation at The O' Donoghue Centre. Her interests include Theatre for Young Audiences, Irish language theatre, Ensemble Acting and Devising, Dance, and Theatre Business. She has 20 years professional experience as a producer and director in the Performing, Irish language and Traditional Arts.

Dr Máiréad Ní Chróinín is the Druid Artist in Residence. A Galway native, Máiréad Ní Chróinín established Moonfish Theatre, with her sister Ionia, in 2006. Moonfish have also created numerous works for young people, including Moonfish Pop-Up Worlds: Memory Paths, a project commissioned by Riverbank Arts Centre and Kildare Library Services, Tromluí Phinocchio/Pinocchio - a Nightmare, winner of the Stewart Parker New Irish Language Writing Award, and The Secret Garden. Dr Ní Chróinín is also an artist and researcher in the area of theatre and digital technology

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 writing sample (5–6 pages)—which can be an academic essay, creative writing piece or theatre reviews—a personal statement outlining suitability for and interest in the programme, and names and contact details of two 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 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15 full-time places and 15 part-time places

QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Please see offer rounds webpage for details

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

1DG1 full-time | 1DG2 part-time

Course 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.

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, 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.

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

€6,716 p.a. FT; €3,392 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Tuition

€6,576 p.a. FT; €3,287 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. FT; €105 p.a. PT 2021/22

Fees: Non EU

€16,216 p.a. 2021/22

*EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Levy

Student Levy: €140 - payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here

Find out More

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  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)

  • MA Drama and Theatre Studies Brochure

    MA Drama and Theatre Studies Brochure PDF (3.29 MB)