Arts Management

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American University

When creative people and projects find their voice, thrill their audiences, transform their communities, and grow their resources, they’ve been #ArtsManaged. For more than 45 years, American University’s master’s and certificate programs in Arts Management have been finding and fostering the extraordinary people who forge these connections. Learning and leading at the intersection of theory and action, strategy and tactics, our faculty, students, alumni, and professional network are committed to inclusive and innovative practice — animated by the dynamic, global cultural city of Washington, DC.

Goals and Objectives

Our graduates are business-savvy arts leaders in a full spectrum of disciplines -- performing arts, visual arts, media, community, philanthropy, policy, government, and beyond. At American University, you will become part of a vibrant network of global professionals and benefit from our local and global connections with major foundations and arts institutions.

Our intensive curriculum is informed by research and professional practice, and we incorporate both into your program. You will get hands-on experience working with leading organizations in the DC area or travel to London to work with the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. You will receive a first-rate education and gain professional experience while continuing to practice your chosen art discipline.


In this 39-credit program, you will take courses in arts management, marketing, fundraising, financial management, governance and leadership, and cultural policy. To fit your course of study to your career goals, you will complete 12 credits of electives from a broad array of course offerings -- most addressing cultural management across all disciplines, some focusing on specific issues facing the visual, performing, media, or community arts. All students are required to complete at least one practicum -- a hands-on management experience of significant scope and responsibility. And your five-credit capstone experience is another opportunity to tailor the program to fit your needs. Students interested in pursuing a doctorate or work in a research field can write a traditional master’s thesis. The directed research project option involves research with practical analysis or application. With the master’s portfolio, you will complete an internship or work experience, develop a professional portfolio, and conduct a complex financial and managerial analysis of the organization.

With the study abroad option, you will study for three semesters in DC and one semester with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, focusing your studies either on art and business or on art museums, galleries, and curating.

Full-time students complete the MA program in two years. Part-time study is available, and all classes meet in the evenings, making this program a perfect fit for career switchers and working professionals. See the complete MA Admissions & Course Requirements.
In addition to the MA, we offer a 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Arts Management, which is designed for professionals seeking a career change. The 18-credit Graduate Certificate in International Arts Management, offered in conjunction with the School of International Service, provides instruction that is balanced between arts management and international communication.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with fall priority admissions due by February 1, and Spring priority admissions due by November 1.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, the successful applicant will have a demonstrated record of connection and commitment to one or more creative disciplines. One or more years of full-time, post-undergraduate work experience is strongly favored, but leadership or creative work during undergraduate study is also considered.

Application requires a completed application form, a statement of purpose, a current resume, academic transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Neither the GRE nor GMAT is required. Interviews are strongly encouraged — in person, by video, or by phone. For international students whose native language is not English and who do not possess an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, results from a TOEFL test within the past two years is also required.