Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership

← Back to All Programs

University of Minnesota

The Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program prepares you to lead, whether you aim to be at the helm of an arts, cultural, or nonprofit organization, a voice in cultural advocacy, or a creative force in your community.

Goals and Objectives

Our Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) master's is a flexible, personalized program. It will prepare you to become an equitable and inclusive leader in your community, advance the arts, or pursue your own creative endeavors.

Our program is designed to give you a broad, career-boosting experience. You will enhance your skills in:
-Equitable and inclusive leadership
-Leading system change in the arts and culture sector
-Creative placemaking
-Navigating ethical dilemmas
-Fundraising and budgeting
-Collaboration and relationship building
-Cultural competency


The ACL degree consists of 30 total credits (18 required and 12 elective).

-Trends and Impacts in Arts and Cultural Leadership and Management | ACL 5211 | 3 credits
-Creative Entrepreneurship and Resource Development | ACL 5221 | 3 credits
-Ethical Dilemmas and Legal Issues for Cultural Leaders | ACL 5231 | 3 credits
-A Multiplicity of Ways: Epistemologies in the 21st Century | ACL 6001 | 1 credit
-Reimagining Cultural Leadership | ACL 6201 | 3 credits
-Experiential Leadership Plan | ACL 6203 | 1 credit
-Experiential Leadership Practicum | ACL 6204 | 1 credit
-Capstone 1: Applied Research Project | ACL 6002 | 1 credit
-Capstone 2: Reflections and Presentation | ACL 6003 | 2 credits

Working with an advisor, you'll select elective courses from academic departments across the University of Minnesota, forming a specialization in an area of interest. Courses must be taken at the graduate level, approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, and should relate to the professional tasks required of arts and cultural leaders or enhance your understanding of the arts and culture within a broader cultural context.

Electives may include, but are not limited to, the following colleges and departments, such as:
-Civic Engagement (CIVE)
-Design (DES)
-Public Affairs (PA), which includes urban and regional planning, human rights, nonprofit management
-Heritage Studies and Public History (HSPH)
-Landscape Architecture (LA)
-Museum Studies (MST)
-Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD)
-Journalism and Mass Communication (JOUR)
-Geography (GEOG)


Fall Semester Application Deadline: April 15
Spring Semester Application Deadline: October 15

We strive to be fair in the admissions process. Our program thrives when we have students from different backgrounds and cultural experiences. The admissions committee completes a holistic review of all required application materials to ensure that you will be successful in the program. We do not require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

You will receive an admission decision four to six weeks after the application deadline. If you have questions about the admission requirements, would like advice on how to put together application materials, or missed the application deadline, please contact Steve Wicks.

Admission Requirements
We welcome applications from students who have:
-a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution or its international equivalent.
an undergraduate GPA of 3.0*.
-professional, volunteer, and/or advocacy work in the arts and cultural fields.
* If you have a GPA below 3.0, please include an explanation in the extenuating circumstances part of your professional statement.

Application Checklist
Your complete application will include:
-An online application
-A professional statement (see website for specifics)
-Two letters of recommendation (now optional: see FAQ below for guidance)
-College transcripts
-A resume or curriculum vitae
-English proficiency test scores (if applicable)
-An application fee