Arts Administration

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University of Kentucky

The MA in Arts Administration teaches students the concepts, technologies and skills necessary to successfully direct an arts organization in a competitive and changing environment. The program advocates a devotion to the arts, an interest in community development and integrations, a focus on contemporary and relevant arts trends, and the belief that we can create positive change.

The 36-hour completely online degree program is designed to support your career objectives and fit your demanding lifestyle.

Goals and Objectives

The 21st century has shown a significant increase in the nonprofit arts and culture industry. According to the Americans for the Arts most recent economic impact study, the nonprofit arts sector generates $166.2 billion in economic activity each year and according to the National Endowment for the Art's 2008 Public Participation in the Arts survey, about 35 percent of all US adults - or 78 million Americans - attended a museum, gallery or performing arts event in the past year. Thus, arts and cultural organizations are increasingly seeking trained professionals to provide vision and leadership. The University of Kentucky prepares the next generation of arts leaders through its innovative online M.A. in Arts Administration.

Ideal candidates for the M.A. include individuals who have experience in the arts or arts management and have the desire to supplement this experience with more in-depth training in the form of an advanced business and nonprofit arts-focused degree. These include persons who have graduated with a bachelor's degree in Arts Administration or a related field and professionals with experience in the arts or arts management.

UK offers its M.A. in Arts Administration as a completely online program. This provides several benefits to UK graduate students:
Flexibility - For working professionals, an online program is ideal to provide the flexibility needed to balance work, school and personal obligations. Thanks to asynchronous communication, students complete assignments and engage with their peers without the conventional restrictions of time and place.

Time and location - There is no residency requirement. The program is designed for students to have equal access no matter where they are located. There is no advantage to living close to campus unless a student has a personal preference. We have had students come to campus to meet faculty in person but it is certainly not necessary. The majority of our students are out-of-state.

Affordability - All students accepted into the Arts Administration M.A. program pay the in-state tuition rate regardless of residential location. Additionally, there are a number of financial aid options available to students who meet the requirements.

Quality instruction - Students who attend online classes will receive the same quality instruction as those who would attend class on-campus. The Arts Administration Program has dedicated considerable time and effort to ensuring that our online courses are functional and understandable to both the student and instructor, regularly updated and aesthetically pleasing.


The M.A. program consists of 36 credit hours. Students taking courses full-time (three courses per semester) will complete their degree in two academic years. Students taking two courses per semester including summer can complete their degree in two calendar years. The program is flexible and some students opt to take courses part-time or a varied number of courses per semester depending on other commitments. In this case, completion time is variable.

Students in the program take the following courses:

AAD 500 - The Arts and Artists in Society (3 credit hours)
AAD 600 - Arts Administration Technologies (3 credit hours)
AAD 620 - Management and Leadership in the Arts (3 credit hours)
AAD 625 - Financial Management for Arts Organizations (3 credit hours)
AAD 630 - Marketing Research and Planning for Arts Organizations (3 credit hours)
AAD 640 - Principles of Fundraising (3 credit hours)
AAD 650 - Arts and the Law (3 credit hours)
AAD 690 - Creating and Evaluating New Arts Programs (3 credit hours)
AAD 699 - Arts Administration Internship** (3 credit hours)
AAD 730 - Marketing Strategies and Applications for Arts Organizations (3 credit hours)
AAD 740 - Fundraising Techniques (3 credit hours)
AAD Electives* (3 credit hours)
Graduate Exam - Required for completion of the MA in Arts Administration
Degree Options
*Students must complete 3 credits of electives.
**Students are required to take AAD 699 (unless they are exempt) in which case they will take a 3-credit elective course to be determined in consultation with a faculty advisor.

Course descriptions can be found at


The MA Program is open to qualified applicants who have earned a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or abroad. All candidates for admission are selected on the basis of undergraduate transcripts, academic and personal references, and related work experience. Applicants are expected to have a demonstrable commitment to the arts in at least one art form. This requirement can be satisfied in several ways including an undergraduate degree in an art form or arts-related field; professional experience in the arts; or extra-curricular activity in the arts.

All applicants whose native language is not English will be required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 550 (paper-based) 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based). The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. Submitted scores must be no more than two years old.

Application Process and Deadlines

Applications for admission to the M.A. in Arts Administration program are reviewed by the department's Graduate Admissions Committee. The criteria for admission and the materials evaluated in making admission decisions are listed below. Please keep in mind that applicants are evaluated individually and also in terms of the overall quality of the pool of applications. To apply for admission to the M.A. in Arts Administration program, applications must be submitted to the UK Graduate School. Applications will be accepted for the following academic terms:

SPRING 2020 ADMISSION (Classes begin in January)
Deadline – December 9, 2019

FALL 2020 ADMISSION (Classes begin in August)
Deadline – July 17, 2020

Applicants will receive a decision letter within two weeks of all materials being submitted.
Applications received after the deadlines will be accepted and reviewed on a space availability basis only.
Application Procedures
Applications for admission to the M.A. in Arts Administration program are reviewed by the department's Graduate Admissions Committee. The criteria for admission and the materials evaluated in making admission decisions are listed below. Please keep in mind that applicants are evaluated individually and also in terms of the overall quality of the pool of applications.

To apply for admission to the program, your application should include the following items:
• Official transcripts
• A resume (no more than two pages in length) indicating your education, professional and volunteer experience, accomplishments and qualifications for graduate study.
• A statement of purpose (one page, single-spaced) indicating the reasons for your interest in graduate study in Arts Administration at UK and what they hope to accomplish with their degree. Please also discuss your personal or professional skills that will aid you in successfully completing classes online.
• A portfolio of writing samples (10-15 pages) that preferably would include at least one sample of research writing (college-level or above) but may also include professional writing samples that demonstrate critical and analytical thinking. Professional writing samples may include researched essays, marketing or fundraising materials, planning documents or journalistic work. If you do not have an academic or professional writing sample that you wish to submit, you may opt to write a new paper. The research paper should address one of the following topics and should include appropriate citation and references:
o Discuss an issue in the arts or arts administration that you believe is of particular concern locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
o Select a person who has had a significant influence in an artistic field. Describe and analyze the person's contributions to the arts.
o Write an essay responding to and providing compelling examples of this quote: “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish." –Lyndon Johnson, on signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts
o Any arts-related topic of your choosing
• Two letters of recommendation addressing the applicant's qualifications for graduate work and proclivity for the field of arts administration. Preferably one letter should come from an academic reference and one from a professional reference. When completing your online application, you will be asked to enter in the contact information of your references including their email addresses. Your references will then receive a notification email asking them to complete a recommendation on your behalf. You can check on the status of your online recommendations by logging in to your online application.

The graduate application and materials, including transcripts, should be submitted online to the University of Kentucky Graduate School.