MA Cultural Policy & Arts Management

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

The MA Cultural Policy and Arts Management is aimed at graduate students and experienced cultural sector practitioners seeking the skills to be effective managers and leaders in the arts and heritage fields. Lectures are carried out in small seminar rooms where active participation in debate with lecturers and guest lecturers is encouraged. 

The critical and practical content of the programme challenges students to analyse the conceptual frameworks and cultural contexts that generate cultural policies, while acquiring the skills to be effective leaders and managers in the cultural field. The competencies acquired provide graduates with an excellent multi-disciplinary qualification that is highly regarded among sectoral employers, in Ireland and internationally.

  • A dynamic learning environment in which a diverse group of fellow-students (from different countries and with different cultural and art form backgrounds) pursue their shared goal of being effective managers and thinkers in the cultural field
  • Access to a wide range of top cultural sector managers in Ireland who contribute to the course as guest lecturers
  • A rich mix of theoretical approaches to culture, combined with the practical skills to be an effective manager

Careers & Employability

The programme’s emphasis on vocational skills, practitioner input,  and networking (through work placements), provides those coming from arts and humanities backgrounds with the kind of transferable business skills that will enhance their employability. Graduates will have the capacity to negotiate, research and think strategically about policy issues, and to apply practical management skills (acquired primarily through modules in marketing, management, finance, law and strategic planning), in running arts or heritage organisations on both a strategic and day-to-day basis.

Curricular information is subject to change

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The programme aims to equip those wishing to pursue a career in the professional arts and cultural sector with the skills and competencies to be effective managers, and with the confidence and competency to lead and influence change in cultural policies at national and local levels. Our educational mission is to produce ‘reflexive practitioners’: people capable of thinking deeply and philosophically about the role of the arts and culture in society, while acquiring a set of technical skills in the fields of management, marketing, research, finance, and law to perform effectively as managers and leaders in their field. Additionally, the strong vocational nature of the programme provides students with a realistic pathway towards employment, career, and further research opportunities in the cultural field. To this end, we continually adapt the programme in response to evolving policy and technological and professional changes in the field of cultural management, both domestically and internationally.  Students will emerge from this programme with the strategic vision and leadership skills to ensure that the civic and societal value of arts and culture is widely appreciated, reflected in the mission of cultural institutions, and at the heart of government policies for culture.


  • Be committed to ethical practices in management and research
  • Have a comparative understanding of national and international policies for culture and the arts
  • Have a sound grasp of cultural theory, cultural policy theory, relevant sociological theory and theories of management
  • Have the ability, through written and spoken discourse, to deal with the conceptual and theoretical complexity of culture and its management
  • Possess a range of practical and reflective management skills to be effective cultural entrepreneurs and leaders of cultural organisations.
  • Possess a range of practical and reflective management skills to be effective cultural entrepreneurs and leaders of cultural organisations
  • Possess the analytical and research skills to bring about informed, constructive change in cultural policies at national and local levels
  • Understand their individual style, strengths and weaknesses as managers so that they can be better leaders of cultural organisations

MA Cultural Policy & Arts Management (Z041) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 10250
nonEU    fee per year - € 21520

***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website. Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see International Scholarships.

A placement opportunity with an organisation or institution of your choice will allow you to build networks in your chosen field and to implement the skills and insights acquired on the course.

  • A primary degree at 2.1 level (Second Class Honours, Grade One) is normally required.  However, all applicants will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and relevant or extensive work experience will be taken into account. 
  • Transcripts should accompany an application, including grades for each subject taken in the primary degree.
  • Some experience working in a cultural organisation in whatever capacity.
  • Name and contact details of two referees.
  • Admission is subject to interview either in person, by video skype, or telephone.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

These are the minimum entry requirements – additional criteria may be requested for some programmes 

Jeff Poulin, USA
Arts Education Coordinator with Americans for the Arts

Doing the MA in Arts Management and Cultural Policy (2012/2013) was the single best academic choice I have made for my career. Balancing the robust course offerings to expand my knowledge of the arts and cultural field with the international networking opportunity through classmates and lecturers, gave me with the right combination of theoretical and practical tools to succeed at any job I might apply for. Working in both Ireland and the United States, the international and comparative scope to the way arts and cultural policy were taught made me a credible candidate in every interview that I took. I have now landed in my dream job, and it is due to the foundation that the MA course laid for me that I am able to see the impact on my career, and my prospects in the arts and cultural field.


Muireann O’Sullivan
Operations Manager at The Little Museum of Dublin
MA 2018 

Coming from a background in Chinese and economics, the MA provided me with the right mix of theoretical and practical skills to become a credible candidate entering the arts and cultural sector. Its structure appealed to me as it provided ample opportunities to network with industry professionals. Students of the MA come from a variety of backgrounds, which enhances the learning experience and makes for a very interesting and challenging year. Before I submitted my thesis, I secured a managerial role in one of Dublin’s most vibrant cultural institutions, the founders of which I was introduced to when they guest lectured on the course. For me, the MA was both a wise choice and a launch pad for my career.

The following entry routes are available:

MA Cultural Policy & Arts Management FT (Z041)
1 Years
Full Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised