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MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Bethan Ellis

My placement at Company Chameleon encompassed every aspect of experience that I wanted to gain from taking the placement module.

It allowed me to gain practical experience of a touring dance company, alongside the development of my administration and marketing skills.

Bethan Ellis / MA Arts Management, Policy and Practice


The MA Heritage Studies is still accepting applications.

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
  • policy-making
  • 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

You will study close to leading arts venues such as the Martin Harris Centre, which has a concert hall and theatre and is home to the Tipp Centre (Theatre in Prisons and Probation), the Centre for Screen Studies, the Centre for Applied Theatre Research, Manchester Theatre in Sound (MANTIS), the Manchester Centre for Music in Culture (MC2), and the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound-Art.

Other cultural organisations - Manchester Academy, Contact Theatre, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery - are also based on campus.

Manchester is also home to the biennial Manchester International Festival, the Manchester Contemporary Art Fair and a host of other festivals.

Manchester and the wider north-west are celebrated for containing more theatres than any other region outside London and hosting the BBC at Salford Quays. Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield are all within easy reach.

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.

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
Heritage, Museums & Conflict CAHE60462 15 Optional
Health Communication HSTM60032 15 Optional
Creative Learning SALC60052 30 Optional
Business Strategies for the Arts SALC60072 30 Optional
Curating Ethnography SALC60242 15 Optional
Intangible Cultural Heritage SALC60302 30 Optional
Creative Learning SALC60502 15 Optional
Business Strategies for the Arts SALC60702 15 Optional
Curating Art SALC60802 30 Optional
Digital Heritage SALC60902 15 Optional
Digital Heritage SALC60992 30 Optional
Placement SALC70150 15 Optional
Placement SALC70300 30 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units


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.

Students also have special access to our collection at Tabley House, Knutsford. It includes decorative arts, furniture, textiles, costume and an extensive library - all dating back to the 18th century.

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: