MA/PGDip (Writing for Theatre)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The MA in Writing for Theatre offers students the opportunity to specialise in at least one of the following areas:

  • playwriting,
  • arts journalism (especially theatre criticism),
  • non-fiction writing about theatre


This course is unique internationally in focussing on the art of writing for theatre across forms and genres. All students in the course take modules on playwriting and other forms of writing for the theatre – and they then have opportunities to specialise further, based on their own skills and interests.


In blending these forms of writing, we aim to produce graduates with a uniquely well rounded set of skills. Students will not just write plays, but will also attend the theatre weekly. Because they will study both creative writing and arts journalism, our students will have a strong understanding of how their work is judged – and will thus be better able to judge it themselves. Because of NUI Galway’s rich tradition of theatre production, writers will have ample opportunities to workshop and stage their plays. And because Galway has such a strong tradition of live theatre (and other creative arts), students with an interest in arts journalism will be able to see world-class work throughout the academic year.


Students also have access to the Abbey Theatre digital archive, providing an insight into the development of work by many major Irish writers, including W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey, J.M. Synge, Conor McPherson, Frank McGuinness, Marina Carr, and hundreds of others.


The course draws on NUI Galway’s long track record of producing award-winning theatre critics, authors, academics, and playwrights. It involves weekly writers’ workshops with experienced authors, and gives students an excellent grounding in many different skills. The course concludes with the production of a portfolio. This might take the form of a full-length play, an extended series of reviews, or a long biographical or historical essay on a figure or company in the creative arts. 


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

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, the names of two people who can provide references, 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.

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 15

Closing date:

Please view offer rounds website


Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

All students take the following four courses, each worth 10 ECTs.


Playwright's Workshop I

Writing about Theatre and Performance

Reviewing Theatre in Ireland



They then choose two optional modules (each worth 10 ECTs) from the following list:

Playwright's Workshop II : Adaptation

Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present

The Abbey Theatre Digital Archives

Druid Archives

Theatre Theory

Irish Drama and Theatre from Wilde to O'Casey

Irish Drama and Theatre from Beckett to the Present


During the summer, students complete a major portfolio, worth 30 ECTs, involving the production of a substantial selection of play reviews; the completion of a play or suite of plays; or a lengthy piece of non-fiction (including creative non-fiction) about theatre. 

Who teaches this course?

Professor Patrick Lonergan

Dr Charlotte McIvor

Dr Miriam Haughton

Thomas Conway, Druid Director-in-Residence

Mary Elizabeth Burke Kennedy 

Find out more

Charoltte McIvor
T +353 91 492 631



PAC code


Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

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.