Master of Arts in Creative Practice

  • NFQ Level 9
  • Points Required Hon
  • Course Code N/A
  • Award Masters (Taught)
  • Duration 2 yrs

Course Summary

The Yeats Academy are now offering a range of Masters programmes in 17 creative disciplines. We have called these ‘Pathway Specialisms’.

Pathway Specialisms offered include:

  1. Architecture
  2. Creative Enterprise
  3. Creative Writing
  4. Cultural and Creative Industries
  5. Design
  6. Design & Craft
  7. Directing and Production
  8. Drama and Performance
  9. English Literary Studies
  10. Film and Digital Media
  11. Fine Art
  12. Interior Architecture
  13. Interdisciplinary Practice
  14. Music Performance Management
  15. Playwriting
  16. Screenwriting
  17. Theatre and Performance Design

Once you decide your Pathway Specialism, you can decide from one of two ways to undertake your Masters study.

You can complete the course in a minimum of 3 Semesters (15 months) or take a maximum of up to 5 years in a part-time mode. The programme is 90 credits, with 30 credits of taught modules and 60 credits of 1:1 supervised research. 

This programme will give each student the opportunity to direct their own study tin the direction of either Research-Led/Based or Practice-Led/Based

The Research-Led/Based approach will provide students with the opportunity to conduct advanced enquiry into a research question. The student may employ a wide range of research methods derived from the social sciences or the arts to address concerns that are encountered in their creative field/industry. The student has a choice of assessment modes:

  1. through a written dissertation (100% and 24,000-30, 000 words)
  2. through a combination of written dissertation (no less than 60 % and 15,000-18000 words) and other research artefacts (up to 40%).   

The Practice-Led/Based approach provides students with the opportunity to pursue advanced enquiry into creative disciplines through practice. The focus is on the development of the student’s own creative work. The student’s dissertation will be split between a practice component (60%) accompanied by a written element (40%) of 9,000 - 12,000 words.

So in summary, our Master of Arts allows students to foster either a practice-led industry based research element or applied practice as the primary. 

The programme is designed as Level 9 Masters study for applicants who already hold an Honours Degree (2:2 minimum) in a cognate area.

Programme Aims

The Masters programmes acknowledge the importance of responding to the communities they serve providing economic and cultural benefits both regionally and nationally. A vibrant and productive creative industry sector is fundamental to economic growth and prosperity across all sectors of Irish society, as well as having a key role to play in the creation and sustaining of personal, local and national identity and cultural expression.

This programmes aims to offer you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in the theory, methods and practice of applied research within the creative industries. Study undertaken at Masters level explores aspects of knowledge at the forefront of an academic or professional discipline. You will be expected to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, and to gain understanding of how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research. You will be able to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively.

This Masters programmes aims:

  • to provide access and progression pathways for regional, national and international students for a career in the creative arts.
  • to provide creative industry professionals with the opportunity to research and innovate to inform their field and the realm of creative practice both regionally and internationally.
  • to allow creative practitioners to develop a range of creative research skills that will enhance both their practice and career opportunities, also providing national and international progression pathways to further research at PhD level. 
  • to allow creative practitioners to develop the skills in relation to analysis, research, creativity, technical proficiency, collaboration and communication.
  • To facilitate regional, national and international students to participate either on campus or from a distance through blended modes of delivery
  • To develop both national and global leaders in creativity and the arts based on our unique culture and creativity

Graduate Attributes

The MA graduate will be equipped to work and apply learning to a vast array of disciplines and professions within the Creative Industries. Unique attributes will include research and practice based skills within their chosen specialism. Transferrable skills will see the graduates as independent thinkers, critical thinkers, problem solvers, collaborators, and adaptive learners with innovative initiative

On completion, graduates will be able to:

  • contribute and innovate in a variety of creative employment fields
  • develop creative entrepreneurship and competency in the creative industries 
  • work both as creative individuals and as part of a team
  • benefit from experiential learning opportunities in facilitation, collaboration and leadership 
  • enhance their own sustainable professional practice in a way that incorporates an ethos of self-directed and life-long learning
  • nurture visual awareness, literacy and critical faculties in order that they may consider, for example, aspects of form, semantics, human factors, business and professional practices, sustainability issues and cultural influences in the construction and development of creative practice skills and solutions
  • deliver confident written, oral, practical, physical and research skills that demonstrate knowledge and understanding of creative practice industries in a wide variety of professional contexts.

Transfer policy

All students will enrol on one of the Masters programmes. By the end of Semester One students must choose their Specialism Pathway and may change their Programme Pathway. This must be completed formally through the submission of a comprehensive research proposal and agreed with the Programme Coordinator and Supervisor.

 A New Vision for the Irish Creative Practice Landscape

ATU Sligo is located in Irelands ‘Creative West’ on the north-west coast of Ireland, on the Atlantic edge of Europe. The north-west has traced one of the most enduring lines through the history of civilisation; an area rich in ancient lore, apparent in both the physical remains of human settlement, archaeological monuments and in the lineage of storytelling passed from one generation to the next. In this evocative landscape of ever-changing light and glacially sculpted topography, the lines between history and mythology are intertwined. Through the centuries, creativity from art, architecture and design to literature and music have flourished from this region. The region has played a critical role in the works of many internationally renowned creative talents most notably in the works of William and Jack B. Yeats.

Recognising this strong creative culture, with a view to facilitate an ecosystem of creativity and promote the future growth of the creative industries in the region, ATU Sligo restructured its creative programmes to bring about the formation of a new Department of Arts, Design and Architecture. This has brought all the creative disciplines that were in the past spread throughout different departments and faculties together for the first time. All programmes are delivered using a vibrant mix of studio work, critical and creative thinking, and research, and have opportunities for cross-pollination and interdisciplinary practice.

In June 2019, ATU Sligo officially launched the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture. The vision is for The Yeats Academy to be catalyst for creativity, regionally, nationally and internationally. It will provide an accessible learning experience across creative disciplines that engage with and build on the rich cultural legacy and genius loci of our region. It illuminates the value of creativity and cultural contribution to society, and seeks to make a lasting contribution, locally and globally.

We aim to:

  • Be Inquiring
  • Be Innovative
  • Be Engaged
  • Be Collaborative
  • Be Transformative
  • Be Fearless

Whilst aware of our globalised and fluid surroundings – we draw on the existing ‘spirit of place’ of the north-west where we can see a display of the important dimension and distinctive powers that our place, our landscape, our region has on artistic and creative practice of this generation – as it has to generations of creative practitioners that have come from or been drawn to this magical, mythical, magnificent place with its deep rooted history, evocative landscape, rich culture and creative spirit.

We recognise the value of Creative Culture as an asset. We acknowledge the symbiotic link between a Creative Culture, a successful economy and a thriving society. We advocate that a Creative Culture can be an engine for economic and social development and become a path for economic growth. We realise that a Creative Culture is a powerful tool to engage citizens and communities, and is intrinsic to improving quality of life and living standards and can make a real difference to people’s lives. We believe that a Creative Culture provides the best possible platform from which to pursue key social goals, such as tackling disadvantage, inequality and accessibility. We support the vision for Project Ireland 2040  - to have ‘a  creative, innovative and culturally attuned society in our region, so that  people, businesses and communities are equipped to further both our national economic output and our artistic endeavour.’

The Masters programmes encapsulate the vision of our new Department.

Why Study at the Yeats Academy?

This programme will allow you to:

  • Develop research and practice mechanisms to apply your creative talent to encourage innovative solutions,
  • Advance your peer-to-peer interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to creative practice in emerging areas,
  • Forge links with other creative industry professionals in fields that will strengthen your career,
  • Build stronger partnerships with employers and industry stakeholders though the Institute’s networks,
  • Be part of an active research alliance at the forefront of the creative arts,
  • Engage with regional creative and cultural communities to ensure that the region develops into a better place to live and work for all


For Examinations, students may have to attend at the ATU campus through which they completed their studies. For some programmes it may be possible for the Exam to be taken remotely via online proctoring. ATU Students resident in the Republic of Ireland will be invited to attend exams at an exam centre located in Ireland. Students’ resident outside of Ireland or with exceptional circumstances may be eligible to attend remotely via online proctoring, where examinations are taken online and supervised virtually, subject to availability. 

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

All candidates are required to submit a brief 300-word ‘Statement of Intent’ that outlines their motivation for applying, their engagement with their intended ‘Pathway Specialism’, and a preliminary topic for thesis study (bullet points are sufficient).

All Candidates must also upload either:

A) a portfolio of selected work which should include relevant previous work (eg. artwork, drawings, photographs, film, podcast, or evidence of work in a cognate area). 

B) a sample of writing up to 1,000 words (eg. prose, poetry, academic assignment, etc.)

Please note: You may be called to an interview. We may ask you for additional information about your work.

Submit your statement of intent to ATU Sligo

Career Opportunities

“Culture and creativity are the greatest assets of any society. It is our duty to do everything we can to unleash the full creative potential of our people.” Creative Ireland Programme 2017

Official statistics from the CSO indicate that a total of approximately 13,000 people were employed in Creative Sector in the West of Ireland in 2015. The industry consists of close to 5,000 companies, the large majority of which are small to micro in scale. The creative, cultural and craft enterprises in the western region have a value of €729 million. The results of the Economic & Social Impact Assessment: West of Ireland Creative Sector Report (May, 2018) suggest that employment in the overall creative sector has experienced healthy growth in recent years with more than half of all business less than five years old. It is predicted that this rate of growth will continue up to 2040. On this basis, employment in the creative sector of the west of Ireland could reach over 15,000 by the end of the decade. Our programmes are intended to support this growth and facilitate industry-led research that will promote the development of the creative industries from the region and beyond.

This course will support and encourage imaginative, experimental and interdisciplinary enquiry through a range of approaches that will enhance both your creative practice and your career opportunities.

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees
Total Programme Fee: €6,300

Candidates will be required to provide their own materials for study and research.

There will be several short study trips to Irish and other European cities that students will be expected to participate in. For this, you should allow €500 plus spending money.

To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage. 
If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.
For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.
If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage.