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BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies (MI001)

CAO Points 2022: 308 points
Places Offered: Up to 30
  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
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  • Programme Overview

    The BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies is an innovative four-year, full-time honours degree (Level 8) in drama and theatre studies. Launched in 2015, it is the first programme of its type in Ireland and gives students a round and broadly-based education in drama and theatre, and a specific set of skills in the contemporary and applied aspects of the field. It deals with all the general areas of drama, such as ensemble performance, the study of plays, theatre visits and studio practice. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own artistic skills and specialise in their own particular areas of interest. The programme will give participants a diverse, sophisticated and vocational experience.

    BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies students

    Distinctive Features

    Applied theatre is considered to be the study of drama and theatre across a range of practical applications and non-traditional settings, not defined by stage performance or the study of literary texts. Contemporary theatre signals that the programme will deal largely with current and emergent modes of theatrical production and reception.

    Unique aspects of the BA CATS programme include:

    • A unique qualification in drama not offered elsewhere on the island
    • A strong balance of studio/workshop to classroom teaching
    • Access to two professional theatres (Lime Tree Theatre & Belltable), their staff and facilities
    • Participation, as part of coursework, in three full-scale productions, staged to professional standards
    • Up to 15 theatre visits per year as part of the course
    • The opportunity to engage with professional, touring and community-based theatre practitioners and projects
    • The chance to develop a specialised set of skills and knowledge in areas such as drama facilitation, drama teaching, technical theatre, cultural policy and administration
    • Professional placements, giving students a unique range of contacts in an extensive range of arts organisations in Limerick, across the country and abroad


    The programme focuses on the contemporary role of theatre and its practitioners in society. At its heart is the concept of ensemble, which values and emphasises the importance of the practice of the group and collective when working in drama. The idea of a pro-social theatre is also very important for our programme. This highlights how theatre can be used to engage with specific sites and audiences, and it exists not only as entertainment, but also has a core societal function. This programme will be offered in close association with the Lime Tree Theatre which is located on the College campus, and which has hosted over 100,000 patrons since opening as a professional venue in October 2012. Through our relationship with the Lime Tree and our other venue, the Belltable, students on the programme will be exposed to the best local, national and international practice through visiting companies, festivals, etc., and from the input of a range of visiting lecturers and practitioners.

    Teaching on the programme is research-led and informed by a practice-based approach. Students will encounter a range of classroom-based, studio-based and virtual learning contexts. Each module will be assessed independently of each other through continuous assessment and a variety of assessment methods each semester.

    Off-Campus Programme

    Three years of the BA CATS programme are delivered on campus at Mary Immaculate College, and one year (Year 3) on a professional work placement and/or a study abroad programme.

    Semesters 5 and/or 6 of the BA CATS Programme offers students the opportunity for work-based learning and professional placements are provided for students in a variety of relevant settings. If they so choose, students can also expand their knowledge and skills through international study in one of MIC's partner universities in Europe, North America and Australia.


    Real Performances
    Real Performances
    A production image from the devised student ensemble theatre piece, 'All That and a Bag of Chips'

    Career Opportunities

    Possible destinations for graduates include further academic study in the field of drama/theatre; or further vocational training in a specific discipline of drama/theatre such as acting, theatre design or stage management. Graduates may also enter employment with a theatre company or venue, or may work in a freelance capacity in some aspect of drama/theatre artistic practice. Graduates of the BA CATS programme may be particularly suited to work in the following specific disciplines of theatre:

    • Community theatre
    • Theatre for Young Audiences
    • Youth Theatre
    • Theatre in Education
    • Drama education/teaching
    • Street theatre
    • Storytelling
    • Theatre for development;
    • Museum theatre
    • Reminiscence theatre
    • Theatre in health education
    • Dramatherapy
    • Technical theatre
    • Documentary/Verbatim theatre
    • Site-specific theatre

    Undergraduate Entrance Scholarships

    MIC will offer for competition, on the basis of results in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination, First Year Undergraduate Entrant Scholarships, to entrants on the BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies programme, valued at €2,000 each. Further information available here.


    Dr Michael Finneran, Programme Director, BA CATS and Head of Department of Drama & Theatre Studies

    T: +353 61 204976


    Programme Content

    Semester 1 (Year 1)
    Introduction to Drama, Theatre and Performance
    Movement, Voice and Body in Theatre
    Introduction to Technical Theatre
    Contemporary Irish Theatre 1
    Devising Theatre
    Semester 2 (Year 1)
    The History of Theatre and Performance
    Introduction to Applied Theatre
    Masks and Puppetry in Performance
    Ensemble Performance 1
    Semester 3 (Year 2)
    Theatre for Young Audiences
    Critiquing Theatre
    Contemporary Irish Theatre 2
    Ensemble Performance 2
    Semester 4 (Year 2)
    Contemporary European & World Theatre
    Digital Theatre
    Storytelling & Poetry in Performance
    Community Theatre
    Performance & Music
    Semesters 5 & 6 (Year 3)
    Off-Campus Programme 1 & 2 (Work Placement and/or Study Abroad)
    Semester 7 (Year 4)
    Scenography, Costume & Lighting Design
    Cultural Policy & Administration
    Research Skills/Practice as Research
    Directing & Writing for Theatre
    Undergraduate Research Project 1
    Semester 8 (Year 4)
    Drama Education
    Contemporary Performance Theory
    Ensemble Performance 3
    Undergraduate Research Project 2


    Entry Requirements

    Applicants are required to hold the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects and must achieve the following:

    • Grade H5 on a Higher Level paper in at least two subjects
    • Grade O6/H7 in four Ordinary or Higher Level subjects which must include Mathematics, Gaeilge or another language, and English

    Minimum Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics satisfies the minimum entry requirements; Foundation Mathematics is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

    Language Waivers: Please contact the MIC Access Office for information on Language Exemptions on Deadlines apply.

    Candidates may fulfil minimum and additional entry requirements from more than one sitting of the Leaving Certificate.

    Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)

    Link modules will be accepted for points purposes but they will not qualify as a subject for matriculation purposes.

    GCE/GCSE Applications

    For further information about minimum grades and entry requirements, please contact the MIC Admissions Office at E:

    Please Note: Garda vetting is a requirement.

    If you are at least 23 years old on 1 January of the year of entry to college, you are considered as a mature applicant. All mature applicants who make an application to the College through the CAO for MI001 will be invited to attend for an interview. Mature students who do not meet the normal minimum entry requirements will be considered for admission if, having attended for interview, they satisfy the College as to their ability to benefit from and sustain participation in the BA Programme(s) applied for. Mature applicants who have completed an interview will be contacted by the College to indicate whether or not they are being considered for a place and all places will then be offered by the CAO.

    Mature applicants, in addition to applying through CAO are also requested to complete a Personal Statement and email it to  The link to the Statement is here.

    Please note that late mature applications through the CAO will be accepted for MI001 up to 1 May 2022.  Mature applicants who initially applied for any programme through the CAO by 1 February 2022, and now wish to change their mind and apply for MI001, can do so up to 12 May 2022. Online interviews for mature applicants through MS Teams will take place on Thursday 19 May 2022.

    Interview Marking Sheet click here

    Details of Uversity Scholarships for Mature Applicants click here. Applications will open on 1 February 2022.

    Please Note: Garda vetting is a requirement.

    A limited number of places per year will be awarded to applicants through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS), which gives learners the opportunity to use their QQI Level 5 or 6 major award to apply, through the CAO, for a place on a higher education programme. Entry requirements vary for each degree programme.

    Please see the Quick Guide on Further Education Entry Routes to MIC for more information on the entry requirements for each of MIC’s programmes.

    For further information about on this programme and applying as an international applicant, click here; for International Fees, click here

    You are advised to contact the MIC International Office before applying on +353 61 204328 /  774790. 

    Fees & Grants


    Tuition fees may be paid in respect of full-time undergraduate students undertaking approved courses in eligible institutions. Details of the Free Fees criteria are listed here.

    If you do not qualify for free fees, undergraduate tuition fees and other charges may apply. See Undergraduate Fees here.


    Students apply for a grant through Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and if they meet certain criteria, they may be eligible for full or partial financial support.

    Before applying at, please review the criteria carefully.

    Programme Director, BA CATS and Head of Department of Drama & Theatre Studies
    Dr Michael Finneran
    +353 61 204976

    Ask a Question


  • Programme Overview
  • Programme Content
  • Entry Requirements
  • Ask a Question