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MA in International Cultural Policy and Management

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PLEASE NOTE -- THIS COURSE IS NOT RUNNING FOR THE YEAR 2023-24 or 2024-25. For another cultural policy and management-based course, see the MA in Arts Enterprise and Development

Degree Overview

This course invites you to engage with the theory and practice of cultural policy in different international, political, cultural, social and economic contexts and to develop your own specialist knowledge and skills within the field of cultural policy and management. You will think strategically and conceptually about the policy challenges facing cultural policy-makers from around the world. You will examine current practice in the management of cultural organisations through case studies and insights from professionals in the field. The inter-disciplinary and international approach to the study of cultural policy and management will equip you with the knowledge, the critical thinking and research skills you will need to adapt to specific situations in your future career.

This course will enable you to:

  • Acquire a critical perspective on cultural policy and management in the public, private and voluntary sectors within an international context.
  • Deepen your understanding of the fundamental policy theories, concepts and frameworks which underpin the creation, implementation and evaluation of cultural policies, and of the philosophical and managerial principles which lie behind them.
  • Explore the historical development of British cultural policies, with particular emphasis on developments since 1945, and to encourage students to compare these with equivalent developments taking place internationally.
  • Analyse key contemporary cultural policy issues within a European and international context.
  • Reflect critically upon the tensions between top-down and bottom-up policy practices, and the underlying assumptions and theories that inform these, identifying connections between them and using these to build your understanding of how cultural policy functions.
  • Develop your own specialist knowledge as well as the strategic management, leadership and communications skills necessary to manage a cultural project or organisation.

What is the relationship between culture and politics...?

As culture becomes a key term in a range of policy-contexts, and the concept of ‘culturally led policy’ acquires an even more important position in the public, private and non-governmental sectors, a range of new career opportunities have arisen in the cultural sector. This course engages with these developments and will prepare you for the diverse managerial challenges of careers in the cultural sector.

Cultivate your critical thinking skills...

As well as engaging with the practical realities of cultural and managerial practice, the course equally creates a space for reflection and criticism. You will be invited to question many of the assumptions, including your own, on which cultural policies are based, trace the ideological roots of our attitude to arts and culture, and examine cultural policy from a range of political and theoretical perspectives.

Develop your managerial and leadership skills...

You will develop the professional skills needed to take on managerial and policy-making roles within both the public and private sectors through the investigation of cultural organisations and the policy contexts within which they operate.

Explore ideas in a global context...

The course takes the international dimension of cultural policy and management as its starting point, drawing on experiences and examples from around the world. If you come to Warwick, you will become part of a diverse and international group of staff and students whose own unique viewpoints make up a stimulating and exciting learning environment.


You will learn in an international environment through interaction with academic experts, guest speakers and industry practitioners. The core modules are taught through a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars, and student-led presentations. The course is designed to facilitate participation and critical self-reflection. You will be engaging in discussions and debates about contemporary cultural policy issues with members of the teaching staff and your fellow students and examining current practice in the management of cultural organisations through case studies and insights from professionals in the field. By participating in group work and through individual research and reading you will develop your understanding of the contexts which frame cultural policies and learn how management methods and strategies are adapted to meet changing demands and changing political and managerial ideologies.

The course will enhance your research, writing and communication skills through guided and autonomous reading, group and solo projects, presentations, reports and essays. Depending upon your selection of option modules you will also have the opportunity to apply your learning in a professional context.Throughout the degree, you will also be guided and supported through personal tutorials so that your postgraduate study at the Centre will equip you with the professional skills you need for your chosen career path.

    Contact Hours:

    Typical contact hours range between 6 to 10 hours each week for core teaching – this excludes additional workshops, research seminars and guest speaker sessions.

    Class Sizes:

    There are between 15 - 30 students on each of the four taught Master's courses.


    • All coursework.
    • Written assignments come in a variety of forms: essays, case studies, evaluations, reports, proposals, portfolios and business plans.
    • Group presentations and tasks, team building exercises, and creative and practical projects
    • Major Project represents a significant body of research and writing on a topic of your choice supervised by an experienced researcher

    Core Modules:

    The core modules from the foundation of the MA programme which examines the concept of cultural policy, the context and practices of cultural production and the intellectual history and framework of ideas relating to culture and policy.

    As a student on the MA in International Cultural Policy and Management you will complete four core modules:

    International Cultural PolicyLink opens in a new window

    examines the relationship between government, the public cultural sector and the cultural industries and how these actors shape cultural policy

    Cultural TheoryLink opens in a new window

    engages with the work of a variety of commentators on the subject of the nature and function of the arts and culture and explores how their ideas inform cultural policy debates.

    Placement and Case Study 
    This module gives you the opportunity to apply your learning in situ or in practice related contexts, as it is one of the Centre's Applied Management Modules that take place during the Summer term.

    Research Design

    This module is a common Centre core module and aims to prepare you for your Major Project (see below.) It will equip you with a broad understanding of relevant research methods from which to select an appropriate approach for your own project. It will introduce you to ethical dimensions of research. It will equip you to write an effective proposal (including research questions, rationale, explanation and justification of research methods, identifying relevant literature and data sources). By the end of the module you should be ready to submit your proposal and equipped with a broad understanding of research methods in the cultural, creative and media industries field.

    The final part of this Masters course is the Major Project, a substantial piece of independent research and writing on a topic of your choice which allows you to develop and critically reflect upon your ideas through further research in the field of cultural policy and management. To find out more details please visit this page.

    Optional Modules:

    In addition to your four core modules you will be able to determine the appropriate balance between applied and theoretical work by completing one optional module from a list available to all taught Masters students within the Centre.

    Previously these modules have included:

    • Developing Audiences for Cultural Organisations
    • Managing Cultural Organisations
    • Sustainable Creativity for the Cultural Industries
    • The Global Audience
    • Understanding Cultural Work

    To view the full list of optional modules available in greater detail, please visit this page. * Link opens in a new window 

    * The modules mentioned above and on our optional modules page may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.

    Whether your ambition is a career in the arts or cultural policy making, whether you are new to the cultural sector or an experienced professional, this course will help you to develop and take advantage of a range of career opportunities available to you. The course is designed for students seeking or developing careers in arts and cultural management either in the UK or abroad. The course is popular amongst UK and European graduates as well as students from all over the world such as China, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Azerbaijan, the USA, Mexico, and Turkey. Non-European students may be particularly interested in the study of alternative models of cultural policy.

    Past students have taken up managerial roles in the creative industries and subsidised arts sector, work as policy makers and lobbyists in both governmental and non-governmental organisations and as arts and cultural planning consultants.

    The course is also an excellent platform for PhD study if you are considering a research career in academia or industry.To find out more about PhD study at the Centre, please visit this page.

    We maintain close links with Centre alumni who regularly notify us of job opportunities and work closely with advisors in the University Careers Centre who also offer specialist workshops and advice sessions.

    Essential information

    How to apply

    Course Code



    Full-time: 1 year

    Part-time: 2 years

    Entry Requirements

    2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject

    English Language Requirements

    Band B

    IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

    Location of Study

    University of Warwick

    Course Fees

    See Student Finance


    The University is part of a number of prestigious government Scholarship schemes, including Chevening, Fulbright,
    Commonwealth and Marshall. For more information click here.

    Additional Course Costs

    For all MA courses, the cost of two bound copies of the major project will amount to £25 and field trips or off-campus assignments are estimated to cost between £100-£200, although this will depend on which option module has been chosen or the nature of a project or placement undertaken for an applied management module.

    Find out more about fees and funding on the University website.

    Useful Links

    The Graduate School

    Visas: Immigration Advice

    The International Office

    Warwick Accommodation


    Banner image: architectural projection mapping on Birmingham Town Hall by seeper; photo by Tim Cross.