MA Drama & Performance Studies

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MA in Drama and Performance Studies gives students the opportunity to analyse, explore, and reflect critically on contemporary theatre and performance. The programme engages with current theoretical and practical philosophies of performance, taught by a mix of academic staff and special guest contributors from professional fields. 

This programme is designed for students who like going to the theatre and are interested in learning skills to critically review and analyse such performances. The UCD School of English, Drama and Film offers unique insights to students. through its deep involvement in the progress of Irish literary affairs. Many of Ireland’s leading writers were educated at UCD including: James Joyce, Edna O’Brien and Roddy Doyle. 

  • Reflects on theatre writing and performance
  • Engages with current theoretical and practical philosophies of performance
  • Academic and Professional Theatre staff of international standing

Careers & Employability

Many of our alumni work in a varitey of different sectors, including the theatre, media and cultural institutes, where a background in the humanities is particularly valued. Others graduates work in senior positions across a diverse range of industries including education, NGOs and the Arts, whilst some continue on to PhD research.


Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. No

The MA in Drama and Performance Studies is aimed at graduates whose wish to work in theatre, the cultural sector, media, education and /or research, and attracts those who are passionate about analysing, exploring, and reflecting deeply on modern and contemporary theatre and performance within their broad cultural, societal, and political contexts. By exploring the various complex interfaces between creative and critical practices, this programme will add greater depth, knowledge and value to the existing skills sets of our students.

Our programme’s unique and purposeful learning environments comprise seminars, laboratory sessions, master classes, research seminars, international field trips, work placements and supervised research. Students and their lecturer/tutors work together in a spirit of mutual inquiry, reflection, experiment, discussion and debate. Dedicated onsite facilities allow students the opportunities to engage in practice as research and present findings/presentations in studio settings.

As our pedagogic ethos emphasizes the hybridity and complementarity of theory and practice, the palette of assessment strategies is purposefully broad, testing and rewarding. Assessments include essays, class presentations, theatre reviews, performance analysis, practice-based studio presentations, portfolios, guided independent research practice / production, reflective journals, playwriting/dramaturgical exercises, as well as minor thesis/ practice-as-research projects.

The final dissertation comprising a minor thesis or theis project, is where innovative methodologies, creative propositions and analytic originality are guided and supported by experienced academic  staff /supervisors. Core values, such as independence, creativity, collaboration, critical reflection, cultural engagement, invariably play to the strengths and inclinations of our student cohort. Such a stakeholder sensibility generates commitments to the flourishing, empowerment, constructive challenging, and enrichment of yourself and other citizens. 

  • Advance critical, artistic, reflective, evaluative and conceptual research paradigms in this subject area and beyond
  • Advocate on behalf of the cultural sectors
  • Apply detailed and advanced theoretical knowledge and research methods in drama and performance studies
  • Be confident, assured and responsible for career goals and progression
  • Demonstrate innovative, independent thinking and creativity in approaches and responses to complex issues
  • Develop original conceptual ideas in theatre production
  • Engage critically as spectators and as citizens of culture and performance more broadly
  • Enhance employability by extending transferable and adaptable skills
  • Foster and appreciate self-evaluative and reflective learning
  • Grasp the historic, cultural, political, social and economic contexts from which theatre work emerges and to interrogate, reflect and evaluate plays and performances in the light of current critical practices
  • Impact on and advance individual discipline-specific and transferable skills
  • Initiate projects in self-motivated, self-directed, autonomous and group learning settings
  • Manage the appropriate resources, (including online resources, databases, digital tools), and possess the faculty to critique and synthesise information
  • Nurture and advance the well-established relationships of UCD Drama Studies with the Irish and international academic and artistic theatre and performance communities
  • Organise, present, articulate and disseminate advanced ideas appropriately and effectively
  • Utilise the opportunity of being based in a city like Dublin and benefit from the experience of its thriving theatre activities
  • Work knowledgeably and collegially in multidisciplinary contexts and in practice-based creative processes

MA Drama & Performance Studies (Z014) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7990
nonEU    fee per year - € 21520

MA Drama & Performance Studies (Z106) Part Time
EU          fee per year - € 4800
nonEU    fee per year - € 10760

***Fees are subject to change

Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

A BA Hons degree or a Bachelors in a cognate area (NFQ Level 8) with a 2.1 classification (Second Class Honours, Grade One) or equivalent* is normally required, or equivalent in professional theatre practice.
*equivalencies will vary depending on grade scale of award presented but will generally require a grade average of B or a GPA no less than 3.08.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 7 (no band less than 6.5 in each element), or equivalent. 

Students meeting the programme’s academic entry requirements but not the English language requirements, may enter the programme upon successful completion of UCD’s International Pre-Master’s Pathway programmes. Please see the following link for further information:


Carly Harward
MA 2018

Pursuing the MA in Drama and Performance Studies at UCD has challenged me to grow not only as a student, but as an individual and advocate of the performing arts. Having the opportunity to live and study abroad in Dublin has enhanced my experience through the opportunities provided such as theatre visits, guest lecturers, and research seminars with some of the leading artists and companies in the country. This program has led me to expand my knowledge within the field of theatre studies by examination of some of the best theaters and practitioners within Ireland. 

The following entry routes are available:

MA Drama & Performance Studies FT (Z014)
1 Years
Full Time
MA Drama & Performance Studies PT (Z106)
2 Years
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised