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Drama is a research-intensive subject with a collective focus on performance in a post-conflict environment.


Drama is a research-intensive subject at Ulster, with staff working in a wide range of areas within and across the discipline. In Ref 2014, Unit of Assessment 35 (Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts) nearly 60% of research outputs and 100% of the impact of our work on policy and creative practice was rated 4* (world- leading) and 3* (internationally excellent). The impact of our research was judged to be 90% 4*, one of only a handful of Units of Assessment to achieve this score across the whole Higher Education sector.

Research interests in Drama focus collectively on performance in a post-conflict environment, particularly applied performance, and gender, conflict and performance; methodologies of theatre practice, and Irish drama. Individual specialisms are indicated below, but recent staff research projects include: Theatre for Young Audiences; Rape/Violence and Performance; Applied Theatre and Post-Conflict Societies; Theatre and Ritual; Storytelling.

Applications for practice-based research are especially welcome, as are interdisciplinary projects. The MRes (Arts) is offered in Drama for students wishing to undertake a preparatory year before commencing the doctoral programme.

About this course

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All research students are members of the Faculty of Arts Research Graduate School. Postgraduate rooms with computing and study facilities are available for students on the Coleraine and Magee campuses, and annual series of research seminars offer students opportunities to engage with current research in their discipline.

Research staff are members of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, and PhD candidates are associate members. Postgraduate students are encouraged to participate in the wider research community and to develop their skills and experience by presenting at research seminars within the University as well as at national and international conferences.

Current research students have been successful in achieving financial support from the Department for Education and Learning (DEL) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with additional assistance from sources such as the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD) and Ulster University’s Library Travel Fund.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

How to apply

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

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Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).


Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.

Once you have selected your chosen project from the lists available on the Faculty pages, you are advised to make contact with the named supervisor on the project as they will be able to guide you in writing your research proposal.

You should then apply using our online application system:

How to apply

Fees and funding

A number of funded scholarships are available across the University each year for PhD projects. Applications for studentships will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate's qualifications, skills, experience and interests.

Sources of funding

Fees (per annum)

Full Time:

Home and EU £4121

Overseas £13400

Part Time:

Home and EU £1455

Home and EU (with External Sponsor paying fees) £2070

Overseas £7635

Distance Research Study (Home and EU) £6225

Research facilities and groups


The University libraries have extensive resources relating to drama and theatre and contemporary Ireland, including the TransGender Archive, CAIN, and the John Hewitt Collection amongst others. The campus is a train or bus journey from the Linenhall Archives and PRONI in Belfast, and the National Library and National Archives in Dublin.

The Foyle Arts Building

The historic Foyle Arts Building on the Magee campus in Derry was converted in 2003 to provide a multi-disciplinary arts complex, housing the School of Creative Arts, which includes Drama, Music, Design, Cinematic Arts and Creative Technologies. Drama facilities include two flat-floored studio spaces, a dance studio, teaching rooms and staff office accommodation. The building also houses music recital and practice rooms, a Mac Lab and music technology editing suites.

Research Collaborations

Drama enjoys close working relationships as colleagues and collaborators with professional creative partners in theatre, film, community cultural development throughout the region and the island of Ireland. Staff are active members of international research networks, such as SCUDD, TaPRA, IFTR, ATHE (US), ADSA (Aus/NZ), ITDC and ITYARN. They have also been prominent contributors to international festivals and professional artists associations, such as the International Community Arts Festival (ICAF), International Culture Arts Network (ICAN), the INDRA Congress, Northern Ireland Theatre Association and Theatre Forum Ireland.

Staff research areas

Dr Giuliano Campo (Lecturer)

I would welcome practice-based theatre projects in particular. My work is in actor training; the legacies of Stanislavsky and Grotowski; theatre history and theories: theatre anthropology; Commedia dell’arte; European theatre; art as vehicle.

Dr Tanya Dean (Lecturer)

Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick (Senior Lecturer)

My current work is on violence in representation, which addresses the following issues: violence and subjectivity; strategies for performing violence; ethics of spectatorship; staging vulnerability; gender and violence. I work mainly in contemporary Irish theatre and Canadian theatre. I would particularly welcome applications in topics relating to gender and performance, and violence and drama/ theatre / performance.

Dr Matt Jennings (Lecturer)

My current work is concerned with Community Arts and Conflict Transformation; Applied Drama, Community Development and Cultural Policy; Arts and Management; Arts and Health; Performance and Disability, and Applied Drama in Nursing and Community Care. I would welcome applications in these areas.

Dr Tom Maguire (Senior Lecturer)

My current work is focused primarily on Theatre for Young Audiences, and includes projects alongside professional practitioners and my own practice. I continue working more broadly on contemporary British and Irish theatre and drama and specifically on storytelling and performance. Much of my work connects performance analysis and applications of drama processes, including enabling spectators with disabilities and promoting well-being and health.


Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick

Tel: +44 (0)28 7167 5105