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Course content

The MA in Arts Management, Policy and Practice enables students to develop their 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 the many areas of arts management. The programme has a strong practical, hands-on element. At the same time it offers a solid theoretical grounding, exploring cultural policy in its historical context and encouraging critical engagement with the philosophical, political, social and economic imperatives informing contemporary practice. Above all, we aim to produce pioneers rather than bureaucrats.

Lecturers from the Centre for Arts Management teach the MA with considerable input from arts professionals including staff from the Martin Harris Centre, Contact Theatre, the Royal Exchange, Whitworth Art Gallery and many other local cultural organisations. We also work closely with our sister programme, the highly regarded MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies.


The programme is designed to serve as an entry-level qualification for recent 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

The siting of the programme close to a range of leading arts venues offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with the practical considerations of arts management. The Martin Harris Centre is a hub of cutting edge research and interdisciplinary investigation: in addition to the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall and John Thaw Theatre, it is home to the Tipp Centre (Theatre in Prisons and Probation), the Centre for Screen Studies, Centre for Applied Theatre Research, Manchester Theatre in Sound (MANTIS), Manchester Centre for Music in Culture (MC2), and the NOVARS Research Centre for Electroacoustic Composition, Performance and Sound-Art. Other cultural organisations based at the university - Manchester Academy, Contact Theatre, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery - are only a few minutes' walk away.

The programme also benefits from the exceptionally rich grouping of arts-based institutions and agencies in Manchester and the North West - an area celebrated for containing more theatres than any other region outside London and now hosting the BBC at the new Media City at Salford Quays. Liverpool (European Capital of Culture 2008), Leeds and Sheffield are all within easy reach. A wide range of regional arts venues and organisations contribute to the programme by providing guest lecturers, site visits and work placements.

The programme is based within the School or Arts, Languages and Cultures. The core of the School's interest is the field of human cultures, beliefs and institutions. Its work embraces the material, visual, creative and performative dimensions of culture, and as such fosters a rich interdisciplinary culture led by world-renowned scholars with a diversity of expertise, from analysts to creative artists, from historians of ideas to cultural theorists. We work particularly closely with staff from the highly-rated departments of Music and Drama.

Coursework and assessment

All students take two core modules (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 modules) are taken from a range of options including:

  • Work Placement in an arts organisation
  • Business Strategies for the Arts (Marketing, Finance and Business Planning)
  • Creative Learning: Arts, Heritage and Education
  • Professional Practice Live Project
  • Subject to availability, modules may also be selected from the MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies or from elsewhere in the school.

All modules include a programme of guest lectures and/or practical seminars by experienced professionals based in cultural institutions in and around Manchester. The programme also features visits to a selection of key sites and venues in the North West.

Disability support

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

Career opportunities

This programme prepares graduates for a diverse range of career opportunities as managers, administrators, policy-makers or practitioners in various branches of the arts and cultural and creative industries. Opportunities exist in the public, private, and voluntary sectors; in theatres, opera houses, concert halls, arts centres, museums and galleries, and the media; with orchestras, theatre companies, dance companies, etc.; or with the Arts Council, British Council, Local Authority, Tourist Board and various funding bodies. Discrete posts include: programming manager; marketing director; education director; development or outreach officer; tour organiser; promoter, agent or artist's manager; website, database or IT manager; producer; consultant or market researcher; fundraiser; community artist; freelance workshop leader. Graduates may also find work in related areas such as teaching, social and educational work. Some students go on to pursue further study and research at doctoral level.

Visit the Arts Management, Policy and Practice (MA) page on the University of Manchester website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Manchester

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