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Culture, Policy and Management  MA


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The Culture, Policy and Management MA is for graduates who want to start or develop their career in cultural policy, arts management, and the creative economy. You will develop the knowledge, skills and values to enable you to inform policy and practice as an independent, self-determining and critical individual.

The programme has been developed in close consultation with key cultural institutions and professionals to shape a curriculum that responds to the demands of the sector. You can also undertake a six-week placement to practise skills acquired during the course.

Through your choice of modules and assignments you can shape the course around your interests, professional aspirations and choice of cultural sector.

EEA nationals have the opportunity to spend three months of the course abroad studying culture, policy and management at one of our European partner universities.

MA Culture, Policy and Management at City University London

Alumni Soraia Salvador talks about her time studying Culture, Policy and Management at City University London and what she is doing now that she has graduated.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for organisations in the UK and abroad such as:

  • Theatre Royal Stratford East
  • Southbank Centre
  • Secret Cinema
  • Museum of London
  • Artichoke
  • the Radio and Television of Slovakia
  • Accenture (consultancy)
  • Unesco
  • Qatar Museums Authority
  • Lincoln Centre for the Performing Arts
  • Hellenic History Foundation
  • the China Copyright Exchange.

Frequently asked questions

Course Fees:

  • Full-time EU: £9,500
  • Part-time EU: £5,250 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,500
  • Part-time Non EU: £8,250 per year

Start Date:

September 2016

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

You will need, as a minimum:

  • a lower second class honours degree or equivalent
  • an understanding of your country's cultural policy and have some relevant experience - this could be as a volunteer.

Other Suitable Qualifications

We understand that many of you will have experience of subsequent professional practice. Special consideration is given to applications from mature students without the required formal qualifications and those wishing to make a career change.

Postgraduate Preparatory Courses for International Students

If you do not qualify for direct entry, our partner INTO City University London offers an academic preparation programme - the Graduate Diploma in Business, Law and Social Science. The course offers a route to City University London through an excellent teaching and learning experience, located in purpose built study facilities. Successful completion of the Graduate Diploma at INTO City University London to the standard required provides guaranteed progression to this Masters degree.

English Requirements

If your first language is not English, you will need to achieve one of the following English language test scores:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (with 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in the other sub-categories).
  • Cambridge Proficiency grade C or above.
  • Evidence that the medium of instruction for their first degree was in English

Your English test should have been taken in the last two years.

Please note that due to changes in the UKVI's list of SELTs we are no longer able to accept TOEFL as evidence of English language for students who require a CAS as of April 2014.

INTO English Language Programmes

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner, INTO City University London offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Please click the links below for more information.

Visa Requirements

If you are not from the European Economic Area / Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.  

The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course; there are different rules for:

  • Students on courses of more than 6 months
  • Students on courses of less than 6 months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English Language course

Please note: If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you cannot undertake any City University London courses on a part-time basis.

For more information see our main Visa page.

When and Where

Start Date:
September 2016
One year full-time, two years part-time, or over a maximum of four years by arrangement. You can also take individual modules for continuing professional development.

Course Content

The MA in Culture, Policy and Management begins with three core modules during the autumn term. You will then choose four electives to study during the spring term. The MA culminates with a 15,000 word dissertation (spring and summer terms) handed in by the end of August.

The curriculum is supported by an advisory group that includes senior figures from Arts Council England, the Barbican, the Independent Theatre Council, the Museums Association, Shakespeare's Globe and the V&A.

Course Structure

Core modules

You take four core modules, which runs in terms 1 and 2.



Managing organisations

The module aims to develop managers who will perform competently, if not competitively, in a changing environment. Given the risks that they face, crucial issues for anyone managing a cultural organisation today include sustainability, the ability to foster solid management systems and ensure the delivery of high quality and successful cultural product. These affect all aspects of the organization and its management. Strategic management requires that these are addressed through new forms of decision making, effective planning and ways of working.

Cultural policy

This module defines and engages the meanings, practices, and interrelation of culture to cultural policy, management, and work. It focuses on culture, the state, capital, and labour; identifies key texts that are central to current debates; and introduces students to analytical and critical skills that are fundamental to working in the cultural sector. The contemporary context is set within a historical overview of the development of cultural theory and policy practice.

Introduction to research

Cultural Managers are increasingly required to evaluate and justify the work that they do through the use of sophisticated research strategies. This module will equip students with a range of methodologies with which to carry out research and reflect on their own and others' practice. It will enable them to critique the claims made for the work of culture, and to design robust and effective research strategies. This module fulfils the University's commitment to provide opportunities for students to develop research skills, aptitudes and abilities.


This module helps you bring together your own research and learning from the core and elective modules. It not only consolidates your knowledge and understanding but enables you to undertake your own independent investigation into an area of culture, policy or management. This is intended to deepen your understanding of the sector as well as refine and further develop your own research and study skills. The dissertation offers the opportunity to reflect on and communicate knowledge gained through research, allowing you to complement your module work by writing on a topic relevant to your interest (15,000 words). You will be encouraged to select a topic of your choice and will be allocated a supervisor with expertise on the chosen topic.  Your Dissertation and research work is supported by the Introduction to Research/Research Workshop module which introduces you to the main research methods that are relevant to the substantive areas covered in the MA CPM and will help you relate these to your chosen topic.

Elective modules

You take four electives from the following list (Elective modules run in terms 1 and 2):

Audiences and marketing

This module introduces you to the knowledge and skills needed to consider the function of marketing in a creative and cultural organisation from a strategic perspective. In this module we explore the factors that influence arts/cultural consumption in its diverse forms and examine appropriate ways in which cultural and creative organisations market themselves effectively and productively.

Digital cultures

Digital media are fundamentally re-scripting the relationship between cultural institutions and their users. Notions of producer and consumer, authorship and authenticity are being re-evaluated and explored in ways that are creative, experimental and infinite. This not only opens up new avenues of opportunity for audience development, but simultaneously calls into question the many practices of cultural consumption. This module explores the claims being made for so-called 'new' media in culture. Are they representative of a shift toward more democratic and participatory engagement? What happens to the when and where of this engagement? How is policy changing in order to reflect this paradigm shift? What are the implications for cultural managers?

Evaluation, politics and advocacy

No previous manifestation of cultural policy, particularly UK cultural policy, has been so resolute about the importance of outcomes and accountability. Funders in both the private and public sectors now look for what difference - or impact - projects and organisations are making, and they expect evaluations to evidence effective project delivery. However, 'evidence' will also be called upon to play a role of justification and persuasion in the development of policy/programmes; which often explains the political use of evaluation results (by players from all sides) for advocacy purposes. This module critically examines the context within which impact and evaluation develop and explores the design of evaluation and impact assessments and any relevant methodological issues.

This module critically examines the context within which impact, evaluation and monitoring form different perspectives. The module also explores the design and specification of impact assessments and evaluation and any relevant methodological issues as well as the constructive use of the results of evaluation.

Fundraising in and for the cultural sector

This module considers the full range of revenue sources available and explores effective approaches to making the case for support in different funding contexts. Students are encouraged to analyse different constituencies, and to develop a typology of communication approaches, including strategies directed at local, national and international government funds, trusts and foundations, the business sector and wider influential stakeholders.

Global Cultural Industries, Ethics and Social Responsibility

In recent years increasing emphasis has been put on the economic importance of cultural industries. This module explores how this economic significance relates to the social role of the cultural sector. It deals with ethical implications and the social impact of the production of culture and resulting challenges for global cultural industries.

During the last decade it has become increasingly important for multinational companies in the cultural sector to justify the cultural, social, and environmental impact of their business practices, to design Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and to publish CSR reports - some have engaged in the sponsorship of cultural activity. It is therefore essential for cultural managers both in the non-profit and for-profit sector to reflect about the role of cultural organisations within society; to understand ethics and social responsibility policies; and to communicate the social impact of their activities to civil society, private investors, public funding bodies, consumers, or potentials partners and employees.

This module will focus on questions of inclusion/exclusion, inequality, power, ideology, work and environmental impacts that shape the globalised cultural industries in the 21st century.

Professional placement

The Professional Placement module gives students the opportunity to work in the cultural sector in order to practice skills acquired earlier in the programme. With guidance from the module leader, each student draws up their objectives for the placement and identifies potential placement hosts. This helps the student find an appropriate host organisation which fulfils their aims. Students carry out a programme of work supervised by a host at the organisation. The majority of work placements are based in London and embrace all cultural forms.

This module gives you the opportunity to work alongside professionals in the cultural sector in order to practice competences acquired earlier in the programme. The module comprises of two parts: part one is the preparation for the placement; part two is the placement itself.

Public culture: the politics of participation

This module considers how politics, policy and practices have worked together to shape Public culture. The concept of 'public culture' refers to a government-funded cultural sector, but also to urban space, corporate-funded mass media and general 'shared meanings' in cultural circulation. We will discuss how exclusions have been made in these domains on a variety of grounds in overt and covert ways. We will analyse challenges to such exclusions through a range of actions: from alternative cultural constructions to educational outreach programmes. We consider the strategies and impact of such initiatives in depth, alongside the changing boundaries of 'public culture' itself, and the contemporary cultural moment.

Understanding financial accounts and entrepreneurship

All arts managers need the capacity to understand the financial management of their organisations, to inform business planning and improve their capacity to deliver effectively. In a climate in which cultural organisations increasingly depend on income from a number of sources, including self-generated income, they also need to be able to draw on entrepreneurial skills.

Celebrity (Sociology)

The module examines ascribed, achieved and celetoid forms of celebrity.  It will relate these forms of historical, social and economic conditions.  In Celebrity Studies Alexander the Great is often referred to as the first global celebrity.  He had his own public relations specialists dedicated to boosting his image. However, his celebrity is very different from that of Tom Cruise, Beyoncé or Angelina Jolie today.

Celebrity study raises interesting methodological questions; for what the official culture values as trivial or insignificant is often pivotal and inspiring in people's lives. For example, the media are often condescending about celebrity, but research indicates that celebrities are key role models.

The module will introduce the main approaches to the study of celebrity. It will guide students through key concepts; the demand and supply side factors that have elevated celebrity in popular culture; the demand of transferable 'people skills' in a labour market dominated by service sector jobs; the multiplication of satellite and internet communication which have used celebrities as a form of 'honeymoon attraction'; and the consequences of the inflation of celebrity for celebrities and audiences.

Communication, culture and development (Sociology)

This module provides a focus on development issues and communication studies. It provides a theoretical framework on the role of communication for and in development. It also introduces students to specific themes and case studies to assess development programmes in different countries. It considers conceptual frameworks for understanding and critically assessing the role of communication for and in development projects; development within the context of globalization; and critically assesses development programmes introduced in different regions.

Popular music and society (Music)

This module examines aspects of popular music in relation to the societies in which, and for which, it was created, as well as probing social responses to popular music. You will investigate the many complex relationships between popular music and society and the ways in which the two are inextricably linked, departing from the premise that understanding the social context is an integral part of understanding the phenomenon of popular music.

International Organisations in Global Politics (International Politics)

This module provides you with an introduction to the politics of policy making in the main international organisations. The traditional distinction between intergovernmental organisations and international non-governmental organisations will be made, but you will also focus on the legal and theoretical significance of hybrids. While the aim is to cover a broad range of the diverse types of globally significant organisations, you will pay particular attention to the human rights aspects of these organisations' work.

Read the full 2015 programme specification.

Teaching and Assessment

Teaching and learning are delivered through lectures, seminars, group work, tutorials, visits, workshops, verbal and written feedback, plus personal research from a wide range of resources.

Read the full 2015 programme specification.

Study Abroad

If you are a national of an European Economic Area member state or associated country you can choose to spend three months of the course studying culture, policy and management at one of our partner universities:

  • Arhus University, Arhus, Denmark
  • Hochschule fur Musik, Hamburg, Germany
  • Groningen University, Netherlands
  • University of Barcelona, Spain

This is a wonderful opportunity to experience and compare the cultural life and culture, policy and management issues of a second country, enabling you to establish European links that can offer you social and professional advantages in future years. All the students who have taken part in this scheme have reported on the value of the experience. They have made friends, have studied a different subject or the same subject from a different perspective, or have undertaken research for their course work at City. Above all, they have gained an alternative perspective, an enlarged set of contacts and a better knowledge of working across borders and boundaries. Many eventually work with funding agencies, with international agencies, with the British Council or with arts organisations that want to develop international links.

Funds from the European Union's SOCRATES scheme are available to assist with the additional costs of study in another country, and City University London's Centre for Language Studies provides short courses in some European languages to help prepare you for your time away.

If you would like to spend your three months studying in a different country or at a different institution to those listed above, we have an extensive network of partners in countries as diverse as the US and Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland and western Russia. These partners are outside the SOCRATES/ERASMUS scheme and are not part of a funded programme, but provide the opportunity for you to experience exactly the country or course of your choice.

Sample Course Materials

  • Lewis, J. and T. Miller (2003) Critical Cultural Policy Studies: A Reader. Blackwell
  • Anheier, H. K., Yudhishthir R. and Cunningham, S. (eds.) (2008) The Cultural Economy, Sage
  • O'Brien, D (2013) Cultural Policy: Management, Value and Modernity in the Creative Industries, Routledge
  • McKinlay, A and Smith, C. (2009) Creative Labour: Working in the Creative Industries, Palgrave McMillan
  • Lampel, J., Shamsie, J. and  Lant, T. K. (eds) (2006) The Business of Culture: Strategic Perspectives on Entertainment and Media, Lawrence Erlbaum
  • Hewison, R. and Holden, J. (2011) The cultural leadership handbook: how to run a creative organization, Gower
  • Colbert, F. (2005) Marketing culture and the arts, HEC Montreal


  • Full-time EU: £9,500
  • Part-time EU: £5,250 per year
  • Full-time Non EU: £16,500
  • Part-time Non EU: £8,250 per year


For up-to-date information about tuition fees, living costs and financial support, visit Postgraduate Fees and Finance.

Take a look potential sources of funding for postgraduate study.

Students applying from the US can find out more about the loans available.

Student applying from Canada can find out more about the loans available.

Future Finance Loans

Future Finance offers students loans of between £2,500 and £40,000 to help cover tuition fees and living expenses. All students and courses are considered. All loans are subject to credit checks and approval for further details please visit the City Finance website.


Find out more about British Council scholarships and financial support

Find out more about scholarships for Turkish students wishing to study in the UK

Find out more about scholarships for Malaysian students wishing to study in the UK

Find out more about scholarships for German students wishing to study in the UK

Find out more about the International directory of scholarships.


Find out more about the Postgraduate Solutions Study Bursary

Graduate Loyalty Discount: The School of Arts & Social Sciences offer a 10% discount on tuition fees for all City graduates.


The Professional work placement (elective) module gives you the opportunity to work in the cultural sector in order to practice skills acquired earlier in the programme. With guidance from the module leader, you draw up your objectives for the placement and identify potential placement hosts. This helps you find an appropriate host organisation which fulfils your aims.

You carry out a programme of work supervised by a host at the organisation. The majority of work placements are based in London and embrace all cultural forms.  Past placement hosts have included, for example, the Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, IMG Artists, LIFT, Business of Culture (consultancy), Motiroti, British Museum, Unicorn Theatre, Jerwood Space, London Fashion Week, The Philharmonia, Arts Council England, British Film Institute, Artichoke, Craft Central, Barbican, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Flow gallery, Vortex Jazz Club, Secret Cinema.

Past placement hosts said the following:

  • The Theatre Royal Stratford East said of the placement student: "Her background in terms of her course was incredibly valuable when thinking about how an engagement project like Open Stage would work, and could relate the aims of the project to cultural policy."
  • The Akram Khan Company said the placement student "has been so helpful and initiated such important projects for us, such as a sponsorship leaflet and the renewal of our website, that we have decided to employ her until October 2010 to give her time to see these projects through."
  • The Poetry Society said the CPM student "really got us to think about the way in which we plan and manage projects, encouraging us to take a step back from what we are doing and take more time with our planning. We also talked a great deal about the overall vision of the Poetry Society and about ways in which we can convey this to the public. It has been incredibly helpful having her here."
  • The British Library said their placement student was "certainly one of the best interns we have ever had in our team. We are eternally grateful for the hard work and dedication she put into her work and for making her stay in our team a very pleasant one on all fronts. We were sad to see her go!"

Career Prospects

City's Culture, Policy and Management MA graduates find employment across all sub-sectors and occupational areas of the creative and cultural sector (UK and international), from orchestras to the art market, from film to event management, museums, fashion or consultancy; and from marketing to policy, management, outreach/education, production or fundraising.

Recent graduates went on to work in

  • Barbican Centre (London)
  • UNESCO (Paris)
  • Ullens Contemporary Art Centre (Beijing)
  • Royal Opera House (London)
  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza (South Korea)
  • National Art Gallery ‘Astana’ (Kazakhstan)
  • Culture Ministry (Turkey)
  • Qatar Museums Authority (Qatar)
  • Christian Dior (Paris)
  • Arts Streaming TV (London)
  • Arts Council of Singapore

Over the years many of City's Culture, Policy and Management graduates have gone on to create and run cultural management courses in Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, New York and the UK. You will be encouraged to form networks amongst your peers at City University London, which will support you throughout your career.

More information on careers support is available on our Career and Skills Development Service web pages.

Application Deadline

Places are limited and we strongly recommend that you apply as early as possible, as applications will close when the course is full.

MA Culture, Policy and Management

You can apply either in hard copy by post or online. Please follow the instructions below carefully.

  1. One application form
  2. Degree certificate and transcript (translated into English where necessary)
  3. Evidence of English proficiency, if English is not your first language.

Admissions criteria

The MA Programme attracts a very high number and standard of applications. To ensure that you have the best opportunity to gain a place please ensure that you apply as early as possible. When making an application you should note the following:

  • Each application is carefully assessed against the entry requirements and so it is important that you include all the required information with your application (for example, degree certificates, certificates of language proficiency levels etc). The processing of your application may be delayed if you do not include these.
  • As a part of your application you are asked to provide a personal statement. It is important that you use this opportunity to demonstrate clearly why you wish to undertake the MA in Culture, Policy and Management at City University and, importantly, that you have an understanding of the Cultural sector of your own country.
  • Our expectation is that all applicants will have a passion for the arts, and to provide details of their experience in the arts either as a performer, audience member, or organizer.
  • Academic references are not required when you submit your application. However, the admissions tutor may request them at a later date to help make a decision on your application.


Please note that on occasion we will arrange to interview an applicant either in person, or for overseas students, via Skype. The interview would be led by an academic member of staff and the purpose of the interview is to provide you with an opportunity to discuss your application in further detail and for the tutor to obtain further clarification or information. Those wishing to undertake the Placement or Leadership Mode should note that it is our policy to interview all candidates.

Application forms

Apply online:

Return address

Please return all application material, marked "Applications 2016", to:


Cultural Policy and Management

City University

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB