Whether you want a short course focusing on a particular area of event management or a postgraduate degree giving a more general overview, there's a host of options for those wanting to become event managers
It is your job to plan events, ensuring they run smoothly and evaluating their success once they're over. To learn what the role involves, how much you'll earn and the skills you need, see the event manager job profile.
Employers place a lot of emphasis on work experience and will expect you to be able to demonstrate what you have done - this could be through formal placements or running events for a university club or society. To boost your experience, search for hospitality and event management work experience.
However, event management courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level are available and gaining a qualification will give you the best chance of getting a job. Some courses include a year in industry, giving you the best of both worlds in terms of knowledge and experience.
Event management degrees
Studying an undergraduate course in event management will give you the general overview and practical experience you need to start a career in events as diverse as business conferences, weddings, trade fairs and music festivals.
One example is the University of Derby's BA Event Management, which provides you with all-round managerial skills, the chance to deliver events for the university and its partners, and experience field trips throughout the UK and overseas. You need to complete at least 30 hours of work experience in your second year and then between years two and three, you can take an optional placement year or a summer internship.
This type of general event management degree is available at many UK universities. However, others have a more specific focus if you already know what type of events you want to be involved in.
For instance, the BA Festival and Entertainment Management at Sheffield Hallam is perfect if you want to specialise in managing large outdoor events. During your first and second year you'll either deliver your own festival or live entertainment experience. Then in the final year you will work on a consultancy project alongside an external partner.
Many courses are available that combine event management with tourism. The BA Event Management and Tourism at the University of Hertfordshire, for example, gives you the opportunity to study the travel and tourism industry alongside the practicalities of managing events. You'll get to study real world case studies and have the opportunity to visit an overseas destination. Learn more about travel and tourism courses.
Assessment of these programmes tends to be heavily weighted towards practical projects and coursework rather than written exams, and they are often available with a placement year included, so check with your chosen university.
Postgraduate courses in events
If you want to study event management at postgraduate level, Masters degrees typically last for 12 months if studied full time or two years if you opt to take the course part time.
Entry requirements vary between universities, so always check with the institution. You may need to have a good degree in a related discipline, but in some cases any subject is acceptable. It's also possible to gain entry without a degree if you have extensive industry experience.
One example is the MSc International Events Management at the University of Surrey. You'll study business skills including finance, marketing and project management alongside specialist modules such as event design and production. In addition to this, you'll get the chance to run your own live event as part of a small management team.
Masters courses in event management are assessed in a variety of ways. For example, the University of Greenwich's MA International Events Management includes:
- class presentations
- tests and exams
- problem-solving tasks
- and a dissertation.
Look for courses that most closely match your interests. The MA Events & Experience Management at Goldsmiths, University of London, for instance, has especially close links with the creative and cultural industries and offers modules across three departments. Optional modules on the course include 'Culture, tourism and regeneration', 'Tourism in Asia' and 'Cultural and creative tourism'. Tuition fees for the 2022/23 academic year were £11,200 for UK students.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth University's MSc Events Management offers an optional 30-week placement and the chance to study a semester abroad at a partner institution. Accredited by the Association for Project Management (APM) you can expect tuition fees of £9,250 for UK students starting in September 2023 and January 2024.
To see what other event management courses are available, search for postgraduate courses in event management.
Event management short courses
If you want to gain a qualification without spending thousands of pounds on tuition fees, many short courses are available, ranging from a day to several weeks in length. Some are recognised by professional industry bodies.
These won't go into the same depth as undergraduate or postgraduate study, but they'll still give you a strong grounding in the theory and practice. If you're already working in the sector, your employer may pay for your training.
As an example, Event Academy's Foundation Certificate lasts five days and costs £1,255. Attending all day Monday to Friday, you'll be introduced to the events industry and assessed through a group project and an exam. Meanwhile, the intensive Diploma involves one week in London and one week delivered virtually, costs £1,795 and is assessed through a group project based on a live client brief and an exam.
There are also postgraduate and degree alternative options. These courses can be taken online or in the classroom in London, and they are globally recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). Find out more about Event Academy.