This MA is designed as a conversion degree and we welcome applicants from non-business related subjects. It is suitable for both graduates who wish to add a vocational management emphasis to their first degree and those with equivalent professional qualifications or experience. It is likely to be of interest to those who studied the arts and humanities at undergraduate level or those with significant workplace experience who would like to gain a formal qualification in a flexible manner.

This is the course entry for the academic year 2018/19.

You will find case studies on students and graduates of this course at the foot of this page.

Course Overview

Within a rapidly changing domestic and international environment, the work of arts and cultural managers is becoming more complex and significant. The creative industries are growing rapidly and patterns of cultural work are changing. Cultural organisations and festivals are in a period of fundamental, pervasive and long-term change; managers must deal with a host of dramatic, often contradictory demands and challenges. This leads to a situation where there is a need for graduates with more holistic and integrated perspectives regarding the management of cultural organisations and the political, economic, social and environmental conditions in which they function. This course has been developed in response to this need and is rooted in a belief that great leaders in the cultural sector will recognise the value of management while acknowledging that approaches may need to be adapted to meet the particularities of cultural organisations and festivals. Through encouraging you to become critically reflective, the course will develop your knowledge of the contemporary issues affecting the management of arts organisations and festivals while equipping you with the practical management skills that are essential for developing a career in the field. Mindful of the need for students to develop vocational skills, a number of assignments are orientated towards developing the knowledge and skills required to become an effective practitioner in the field. In addition, students are required to arrange and undertake practical experience within cultural organisations to complement their studies.


Exit Awards

MA (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Teaching comprises a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, case studies, simulation exercises, field trips and projects. You will also be required to arrange a period of industry based learning. Your performance on the course will be assessed by essays, reports, exams, presentations and a dissertation or project (MA only). Normally, there are around 30 to 35 students enrolling on the course each year.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

Each module will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Most modules consist of two to three hours of class time each week of the semester. Where possible, all teaching takes place over two days per week. Your specific timetable will depend on whether you study full or part time. Flexible study options and a diverse curriculum mean that this course is suited to both those already working in the arts and those who are looking to start a career in the sector.

Links with Industry / Professional Bodies

Part of our strength comes from our location; being based in Edinburgh means that the course has been developed over time in cooperation with key national cultural agencies and other bodies with a strategic interest in the development of arts organisations and festivals. Our location in the ‘festival city’ also allows for strong practical links between the course and the many arts, festival and cultural organisations based in and around Edinburgh, across Scotland and the UK.


15 credits:

  • Critical Issues in Cultural Management and Policy
  • Managing Cultural Projects and Festivals
  • Marketing Cultural Organisations and Festivals
  • Strategic Management and Finance
  • Fundraising and Development in Cultural Organisations and Festivals
  • People Management, Governance and Law
  • Arts Management in Practice (subject to validation)
  • Understanding Research

Dissertation or project (60 credits) (MA only)

This course is due for revalidation in January 2018. It is likely that this will result in some changes to the content. Please check our website for updates.

Single Modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact David Stevenson for more information.


You will be qualified for a broad range of management positions within a wide spectrum of cultural organisations and festivals. Previous graduates have gone on to work in theatres, performing arts organisations, galleries, local government, and cultural agencies. In addition, many now work in festivals within the UK, Europe and internationally. Potential careers might include producing, fundraising, marketing, programming, or audience development, as well as many other roles across the cultural industries.

Quick Facts

  • International cohort of students working closely and collaboratively with staff.
  • Range of guest lecturers and field trips to key cultural organisations and festivals.
  • The only postgraduate course of its kind in Scotland.

Entry Requirements

A UK honours degree or equivalent OR significant work experience in cultural organisations or festivals.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Application Deadline


More Information and Contacts

Admissions or David Stevenson on tel: +44(0)131 474 0000.


A limited number of funded places are available for 2018 entry. For more information, please contact Admissions.

Block taught PgCert Arts, Festival and Cultural Management

We offer a PgCert Arts, Festival and Cultural management delivered via a block-taught route. This route is ideal for those currently working in the sector, keen to develop new skills and knowledge but unable to commit to full-time weekly study. This route is delivered on campus in four blocks of four days spread across the year. These intensive blocks of teaching are planned to be delivered at the end of September, the beginning of November, the end of January and the beginning of March.

The course will stimulate your understanding and develop your knowledge of contemporary issues affecting the management of arts organisations and festivals. It balances practice with theory to enable students to develop a broader and deeper understanding of the processes of arts management and is designed to support your career development.

Students undertaking the block-taught PgCert complete three modules, each picked for their practical and immediate relevance to those working in a cultural organisation:

  • Managing and Marketing Cultural Projects and Festivals
  • Strategic Management and Finance
  • Fundraising and Development for Cultural Organisations and Festivals

There is also an option to replace one module with a period of personal reflective learning in the workplace. After completion of the block taught PgCert, students have the option to complete the remainder of the MA course on a part-time basis the following year through a combination of block taught teaching, work-based learning and a dissertation.

This course is due for revalidation in January 2018. It is likely that this will result in some changes to the content.


Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2018/19 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).


Course Overview

At QMU with some industry-based learning
Full-time: 1 year; Part-time: 2 years.
Start Date
September 2018
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Subject Area
Fees & Funding

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