MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice

Year of entry: 2024


Degree awarded
1 year [full-time], 2 years [part-time]
Entry requirements

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

Full entry requirements

How to apply
Apply online

Course options

Full-time Part-time Full-time distance learning Part-time distance learning

Course overview

  • Combine key knowledge and skills in arts management and cultural policy with specialist options.
  • Benefit from more than 50 active partnerships with arts, cultural and policy organisations, offering opportunities for practice-based research, expert teaching and placements.
  • Join our growing international network of current and future arts leaders, made up of alumni, arts, museum and heritage professionals and current students from all over the world.

Open days

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting us on one of our open days .


Fees for entry in 2024 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2023 were as follows:

  • MA (full-time)
    UK students (per annum): £12,000
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £26,000
  • MA (part-time)
    UK students (per annum): £5,500
    International, including EU, students (per annum): £13,000

Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.

The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive for the course tuition, administration and computational costs during your studies.

All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of courses lasting more than a year for UK/EU students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your qualification award and method of attendance.

Self-funded international applicants for this course will be required to pay a deposit of £1000 towards their tuition fees before a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) is issued. This deposit will only be refunded if immigration permission is refused. We will notify you about how and when to make this payment.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).


Each year the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures offer a number of School awards and Subject-specific bursaries (the values of which are usually set at Home/EU fees level), open to both Home/EU and international students. The deadline for these is early February each year. Details of all funding opportunities, including deadlines, eligibility and how to apply, can be found on the School's funding page  where you can also find details of the Government Postgraduate Loan Scheme.

See also the University's postgraduate funding database  to see if you are eligible for any other funding opportunities.

For University of Manchester graduates, the Manchester Alumni Bursary offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a First within the last three years and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

The Manchester Master's Bursary is a University-wide scheme that offers 100 bursaries worth £3,000 in funding for students from underrepresented groups.

Contact details

School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Contact name
PG Taught Admissions
+44 (0)161 275 3098

See: About us

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Entry requirements

Academic entry qualification overview

We normally expect students to have a First or Upper Second class honours degree or its overseas equivalent in a humanities-based subject area.

English language

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries that equate to a UK 2.1. For these and general requirements including English language see entry requirements from your country .

If English is not your first language, please provide us with evidence of: 

  • an overall grade 7.0 (with a minimum writing score of 7) in IELTS; or
  • 100+ in the IBT Internet-based TOEFL).

The other language tests we accept can be found here:

Exceptions to needing a language test (if English is NOT your first language) are:

if you have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least a UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries:

Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Relevant work experience

In the personal statement section of the application form, you can outline any work experience you have in an arts management and/or cultural policy-related context, for example in arts venues and organisations, cultural services, voluntary organisations.

Application and selection

How to apply

Advice to applicants

You should include a personal statement (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your understanding of the subject and your motivation for wanting to study the programme.

If your academic background is not directly related to the programme, you should supply an academic-standard writing sample on a subject related to the programme.

If English is not your native language, then you should provide an academic-standard writing sample in English directly related to the subject.

For more advice on the application process, please visit our  Applying  page.

How your application is considered

Applications are mainly considered on the basis of an assessment of past and predicted academic achievements, the academic reference(s) and any other supplementary evidence that supports the application. Once we have an application that is ready for a decision, the admissions tutor (often the Programme Director) will relay the decision to the admissions team, who will send you this decision.

Please note that your application is usually received by the School 24 to 48 hours after the time you submit it. If you have not provided documentation that allows the admissions tutor to make a decision, we will contact you.

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

The University will take into account the academic standing of a candidate's University, as advised by our international office using published world and country rankings.


Applicants may defer entry for 12 months provided they contact the course administrator ( Andy Rigg ) before September 1st. Please note that applicants are subject to the fees for the entry year they will start the course.


If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Course details

Course description

Our interdisciplinary MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice course covers the wide range of expertise associated with running arts organisations and coordinating arts and cultural programmes and events, as well as the strategic development of art forms, cultural leadership practices and local cultural management. 

You will draw on broad literatures and sources, covering areas from the creative arts, drama, music, art history, critical theory and cultural economics, to business studies, organisational studies and critical cultural policy studies. 

This course brings together theory and practice in diverse areas including: 

  • production and programming
  • policymaking
  • strategic management and leadership
  • finance and resource development
  • marketing
  • audience development
  • engagement
  • participation
  • education
  • research
  • evaluation 

You will develop your knowledge and understanding of the history, theory and practice of arts management to gain an insight into the range of professional opportunities in the creative and cultural sector, and to acquire direct experience of many areas of arts management. 

You will benefit from a strong practical, hands-on element while also receiving a solid theoretical grounding that explores cultural policy in its historical context and encourages critical engagement with the philosophical, political, social and economic imperatives informing contemporary practice.


This course is an entry-level qualification for graduates, as well as offering professional development for mid-career practitioners. It offers flexibility and opportunities for specialisation while ensuring a thorough grounding in essential principles and methodology. 

It provides a solid foundation for careers in different areas of the arts and creative industries, and caters for arts practitioners, as well as aspiring managers.

Special features

'Manchester Wakes' Student Project

Culture in Manchester

Manchester states within its local cultural strategy that it aims to become the most culturally democratic city in the world and has an arts offering to help it achieve this ambition.

Along with the biennial Manchester International Festival, and its new home, the Factory, a multi-million-pound large scale arts production house and venue, the city-region of Greater Manchester has a host of brilliant arts organisations including theatres, orchestras and music organisations, a network of galleries, museums, libraries and heritage sites, as well as digital and outdoor arts, festivals, studio collectives and community-based groups.

We are lucky to be based at the heart of a vibrant cultural ecosystem, with these organisational partners and our own campus-based cultural organisations, including the Manchester Academy, Contact Theatre, and university museums, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery.

Links with other subjects and industry

We work particularly closely with staff from the University's Music and Drama departments. A wide range of regional arts venues and organisations contribute to the course by providing guest lecturers, site visits and work placements.

Project experience

During the MA, students have opportunities to design and participate in live projects with heritage organisations and contexts in Manchester.

These include researching heritage audiences, developing exhibitions, producing heritage events, and working on community engagement and creative collaborative projects. Discover our student's exhibitions and initiatives that they have created whilst studying with the Institute for Cultural Practices.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through a variety of teaching methods, depending on the units you take. These may include lectures, seminars, workshops and group work.

All units include a programme of guest lectures and/or practical seminars by experienced professionals based in cultural institutions in and around Manchester.

The course also features visits to a selection of key sites and venues in the north-west.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed through a variety of methods, depending on the units you take. These may include written assignments such as essays and policy analyses, and individual or group oral presentations.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

All students take two core units (Arts Management: Principles and Practice, and Cultural Policy) and write a dissertation (15,000 words, or for a practice-based dissertation 8,000-10,000 words plus project documentation).

The remaining credits (two or three additional units) are taken from a range of options. Subject to availability, units may also be selected from the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies or from other arts, languages and cultures courses.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Arts Management Principles and Practice SALC60011 30 Mandatory
Cultural Policy SALC60021 30 Mandatory
Dissertation SALC60090 60 Mandatory
Art of Medieval Manuscripts AHCP61642 30 Optional
Heritage, Museums & Conflict CAHE60462 15 Optional
Creative Learning SALC60052 30 Optional
Business Strategies for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries SALC60072 30 Optional
Decolonise the Museum! SALC60242 15 Optional
Intangible Cultural Heritage SALC60302 15 Optional
The Arts & International Cultural Relations SALC60312 15 Optional
The Arts & International Cultural Relations SALC60332 30 Optional
Global, Cultural and Creative Industries SALC60402 15 Optional
Creative Learning SALC60502 15 Optional
Business Strategies for Arts, Culture and Creative Industries SALC60702 15 Optional
Curating Art SALC60802 15 Optional
Curating Art SALC60882 30 Optional
Digital Heritage SALC60902 15 Optional
Intangible Cultural Heritage SALC61302 30 Optional
Global, Cultural and Creative Industries SALC61402 30 Optional
Creative Producing SALC61812 30 Optional
Producing Digital Projects SALC61922 30 Optional
Decolonise the Museum! SALC62242 30 Optional
Creative Producing SALC68812 15 Optional
Producing Digital Projects SALC68922 15 Optional
Placement SALC70300 30 Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units

What our students say

The course itself provided me with the tools which I draw upon regularly and apply in practice. The content of the lectures significantly informed and framed my thinking. They gave me the chance to discuss ideas and approaches in a safe environment. The course content itself was broken down into digestible pieces with reading to prepare you for weekly lectures that lead on to an essay for each module. 

Oliver Bliss, Relationship Manager Engagement and Audience, North, Arts Council England, MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice Alumni 2013

Studying this master's course helped me to build a bridge between these theoretical concepts and practical ways of how to implement them while understanding how they shape cultural policy and the cultural sector as a whole. Throughout my postgraduate studies, I enjoyed the opportunity to write essays about topics that I am passionate about, for example, I wrote about participatory decision-making, urban regeneration, social network analysis, DIY culture and the music industry.

Markus Hetheier, MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice 2018  

The course gave me an excellent theoretical foundation as well as relevant practical experience. The modules Arts Management and Cultural Policy introduced me to key questions surrounding audience research, impact evaluation, urban and rural arts, sustainability, resilience and more. The insights won back then continue to inform my thinking today.

Nadja Degen, MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice 2015


You will benefit from our extensive library and study facilities for master's students , as well as a wide range of cultural assets.

These include the Whitworth, which is home to world-famous collections, including masterpieces by Durer, Turner, Blake, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Picasso, and is used extensively in teaching and learning.

Manchester Museum houses one of the UK's most important collections, including artefacts of particular relevance to ancient historians. The John Rylands Research Institute and Jodrell Bank also provide research and practice opportunities through their collections, exhibitions and events.

Find out more about our facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:


Career opportunities

As well as going into further research, our postgraduates pursue successful careers as managers, administrators, policymakers or practitioners in various branches of the arts, cultural and creative industries.

Opportunities exist in: 

  • the public, private, and voluntary sectors;
  • theatres, opera houses, concert halls, arts centres, festival management, museums and galleries;
  • orchestras, theatre companies and dance companies;
  • the Arts Council, British Council, local authorities, tourist boards and various funding bodies.

The University has its own dedicated Careers Service that you would have full access to as a student and for two years after you graduate. At Manchester you will have access to a number of opportunities to help boost your employability.