MS in Arts Administration

The Arts Administration degree program is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in visual arts, performing arts, and arts service organizations in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. The dynamic of the arts world is constantly evolving, resulting in a growing need for highly skilled administrators who can work effectively with elected officials, business and community leaders, and fellow arts professionals.

The Master of Science in Arts Administration program emphasizes excellence, creativity, economic problem solving, internationalism, and a commitment to the new technologies of our age. We are particularly concerned with helping arts organizations successfully achieve their missions. It is toward such an end that we sustain a deep conviction in the centrality of the role of the artist and in the fundamental importance of artistic excellence as issues central to the health of all arts organizations in the twenty-first century.

We offer a flexible schedule to accommodate students who are working or who have other responsibilities that prevent traditional full-time study. All coursework can be completed on a part-time, evening basis in approximately two calendar years. Students may also pursue their degree via full-time study.

Our faculty, comprising both national and international arts practitioners, emphasizes an interdisciplinary curriculum and encourages collaboration between students from both visual and performing arts backgrounds. Students in the program are able to consult and network with a wide range of companies and nonprofit organizations operating within the art world. The program also emphasizes a global perspective through our international travel study courses, which enable students to engage with world-renowned cultural leaders, museums, arts organizations, and artists.

Learning Outcomes

  • Advanced knowledge of the history of arts organizations in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors in the US.
  • Advanced knowledge of the structure and institutional behavior of arts organizations in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors in the US.
  • Understanding of international cultural policy in a global context.
  • Proficiency with a sophisticated skillset emphasizing best practices with regard to fundraising and financial management.
  • Understanding of best practices regarding setting goals in both mission- and revenue-driven organizations.
  • The ability to identify, interpret, and apply relevant legal regulations in nonprofit and for-profit arts organizational settings.
  • The ability to develop, implement, and assess the effectiveness of marketing programs in arts organization settings.
  • The ability to develop, maintain, and leverage funding and constituent relationships to increase community engagement in the arts.
  • The ability to take a strategic approach to their personal development, networking, and self-marketing for professional advancement within the field of arts administration and/or nonprofit management.

Admissions Information

For current admissions information, please visit the Metropolitan College website.

Program Requirements (ten courses/40 credits)

All courses are 4 credits unless otherwise indicated.

Group A: Required courses

  • MET AR 690 The Art World—should be completed in the first semester
  • MET AR 750 Financial Management for Nonprofits
  • MET AR 778 Legal Issues in Arts Administration—should be completed in the second semester
  • MET AR 802 Internship in Arts Administration I (2 cr)—usually taken in the next-to-last semester
  • MET AR 803 Internship in Arts Administration II (2 cr)—usually taken in the final semester; prereq: 24 cr of study

Group B: Electives

A minimum of five courses from this group, including one or two International Travel Study Courses (indicated by *). Students who choose not to take a Group C elective must select six courses from this group:

  • MET AR 510 Art Leaders Forum
  • MET AR 550 Raising Funds and Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations
  • MET AR 577 Comparative Cultural Policy and Administration (Dublin/London)*
  • MET AR 587 The Arts in Barcelona*
  • MET AR 711 Capital Campaigns
  • MET AR 720 Marketing and Audience Development for the Arts (prereq: after or concurrently with AR 690)
  • MET AR 722 Educational Programming in Cultural Institutions
  • MET AR 723 Individual Fundraising
  • MET AR 730 Political and Public Advocacy for the Arts
  • MET AR 740 Technology and Arts Administration
  • MET AR 749 Research and Program Evaluation in Arts Administration
  • MET AR 766 Arts and the Community
  • MET AR 771 Managing Performing Arts Organizations (prereq: AR 690)
  • MET AR 774 Managing Visual Arts Organizations (prereq: AR 690)
  • MET AR 779 Public Art Program Administration
  • MET AR 781 Special Topics in Arts Administration
  • MET AR 789 Cultural Entrepreneurship
  • MET AR 804 Advanced Management and Consulting for Arts Organizations—may be substituted for AR 802/803 with advisor’s permission; prereq: 24 cr of study
  • MET AR 810 Thesis I
  • MET AR 811 Thesis II

Group C: Optional out-of-department electives—no more than one course (4 credits) may be taken from this group

  • CAS AH 520 The Museum and Historical Agency (written advisor approval required)
  • CAS AH 521 Curatorship: Exhibition Development (written advisor approval required)
  • CFA FA 540 Arts and Culture in Mexico: Revolution to the Present
  • COM CM 701 Contemporary Public Relations
  • MET AD 603 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • MET AD 642 Project Management
  • MET AD 648 Ecommerce
  • MET AD 725 Negotiations and Organizational Conflict Resolution
  • MET AD 728 Understanding and Managing Heritage Tourism
  • MET AD 733 Leadership in Management
  • MET AD 780 Ethics in Management
  • MET CM 708 Principles and Practices of Advertising
  • MET UA 515 History, Theory, and Planning Practice
  • MET UA 805 The Boston Urban Symposium

International Travel Study Courses

Students in the Arts Administration program benefit from valuable exposure to the growing impact of
globalization on the art world, and U.S. students enrolled in the master’s program are required to take an international travel study course (international students are encouraged to do so as well). Using the resources of Boston University and partnerships with other universities abroad, courses have been offered in Barcelona, Spain; Dublin, Ireland; Brussels, Belgium; London, England; and Havana, Cuba. MET AR 587 The Arts in Barcelona is offered during spring break and MET AR 577 Comparative Cultural Policy and Administration (Dublin/London) is offered in the summer.


Students matriculating in the Arts Administration program are required to have direct work experience in arts organizations prior to degree conferral. A minimum of 6 of the 10 required courses must be completed before the student undertakes the actual fieldwork, although the planning phase may begin earlier. The program maintains a formal relationship with a core group of potential host organizations that have been selected for their willingness to work with interns, although it is possible to intern with other organizations as well. The student is expected to complete a total of 150 hours of work with the host agency, generally within a single semester.

Internship Waiver

Students with two or more years of professional arts organization work experience may substitute MET AR 804 Advanced Management and Consulting for Arts Organizations for the internship requirement; students with four or more years of professional arts organization work experience waive the internship requirement. Any waiver requires prior written consent from the program director.