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 past two decades have witnessed a rapid expansion in arts audiences, practitioners, and institutions. Simultaneously, the increased cyclical economic uncertainty in both the public and private sectors has resulted 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 place the achievement of their missions ahead of any blind devotion to maximizing revenues. 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.

The MS in Arts Administration program is specifically designed to accommodate the schedules of working adults. Students can complete all coursework on a part-time, evening basis, in approximately two years. Full-time study toward the degree is also possible, although scheduling issues may sometimes arise, as not every course will appear in a one-year cycle.

Admission

All candidates for admission to the degree program must have a bachelor’s degree, and are selected on the basis of undergraduate transcripts, academic and personal references, and related work experiences. We are particularly interested in those applicants who have two or more years of work experience after conferral of their undergraduate degrees. Personal interviews are strongly encouraged, either in person or by telephone.

Standard admission tests, such as the GRE (institution code: 3108) or GMAT, are required for international students and for those students who have received their baccalaureate degree within the past two years.

International students are also required to submit scores from one of the following tests:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-Based Test (iBT), using institution code 9034 and department code 99, with a minimum score of 95 (100 or higher preferred) and at least the designated minimum in each area: Reading, 21; Listening, 18; Speaking, 23; Writing, 22
  • The International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with a minimum score of 7.0

Students are expected to have a demonstrable, discipline-based expertise in one art area (such as visual arts, dance, theatre, or music). Although this requirement may be satisfied in a variety of ways, most applicants have undergraduate degrees in the arts.

The program has a rolling admissions policy with no absolute deadlines. However, students interested in applying for fall admission are encouraged to apply by late March, as the number of applicants is quite high. A student may also complete up to 8 credits as a non-matriculating student prior to admission.

Financial Aid

The program provides a small number of graduate assistantships, which offer matriculating students up to $5,000 in tuition remission per semester in exchange for research and administrative work (10–20 hours per week). There is also, at times, a very limited amount of unrestricted scholarship support available to outstanding students. Information about both of these opportunities is made available to students when they are admitted to the degree program. Boston University Financial Assistance (617-358-4072) can provide additional information about deferred payment and loan programs.

Curriculum

While MET’s MS in Arts Administration is an independent degree program, we also take advantage of some of the resources, faculty, and courses offered by the Art History and Historic Preservation Studies departments (Graduate School of Arts & Sciences) and the Administrative Sciences, Advertising, and Urban Affairs departments (Metropolitan College). General information and policies for Metropolitan College can be found in this bulletin and on our program website.

The MS in Arts Administration degree program emphasizes an interdisciplinary curriculum. MET students benefit from studying alongside performing arts and visual arts students. There is also the opportunity to specialize by taking courses within certain discipline-based areas. The curriculum is largely focused on the nonprofit area, but it is also possible to substitute a limited number of courses with a commercial (for-profit) orientation. Arts administration courses are taught by the program director, assistant director, and adjunct faculty who are working professionals in the Boston area. On average, each faculty member has well over 10 years of high-level professional experience in the arts.

Program Requirements (10 courses/40 credits)

All courses are 4 credits unless otherwise indicated.

Group A: Required courses

  • MET AR 690 The Art World—should be completed within the first two semesters
  • MET AR 750 Financial Management for Nonprofits
  • MET AR 778 Legal Issues in Arts Administration—should be completed within the first two semesters
  • 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

At least five courses from this group, including one or two international travel study courses (indicated by *; optional for international students)

  • MET AH 588 The Arts in Cuba*
  • MET AR 510 Art Leaders Forum
  • MET AR 550 Raising Funds and Grant Writing for Nonprofit Organizations
  • MET AR 650 Writing for the Arts
  • MET AR 700 Leadership and Career Development for the Arts (may not also take AD 733 for credit)
  • 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 Arts and the Internet
  • 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 777 Comparative Cultural Policy and Administration*
  • MET AR 779 Public Art Program Administration
  • MET AR 781 Special Topics in Arts Administration
  • MET AR 787 The Arts in Barcelona*
  • 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

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

  • MET AD 603 Evaluating and Developing Markets for Cultural Tourism
  • MET AD 642 Project Management
  • MET AD 648 Introduction to Electronic Commerce, Systems, and Web Design
  • MET AD 725 Negotiations and Organizational Conflict Resolution
  • MET AD 733 Leadership in Management (may not also take AR 700 for credit)
  • MET CM 708 Principles and Practices of Advertising
  • MET UA 515 History and Theory of Urban Planning
  • MET UA 805 The Boston Urban Symposium
  • CAS AH 520 The Museum and Historical Agency (written advisor approval required)
  • CAS AH 521 Curatorship: Exhibition Development (written advisor approval required)

One additional course from Group B may be substituted in Group C, with advisor’s permission.

International Travel Study Courses

The Arts Administration program is committed to exposing its students to the growing impact of globalization on the art world. As part of the curriculum, arts administration students (with the exception of international students) are required to take an international travel study course. Using the resources of Boston University and its partnerships with other institutions abroad, recent courses have been offered in Barcelona, London, and Cuba. Arts in Barcelona will be offered again in the spring. Comparative Cultural Policy and Administration (London) is offered in the summer. Arts in Cuba is offered between semesters.

Internship

Students matriculating in the Arts Administration program are required to have some 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 four or more years of professional arts organization work experience may waive the internship requirement with their advisor’s written consent. If the internship is waived, the student must enroll in a tenth classroom-based course. Also, with the permission of the advisor, MET AR 804 Advanced Management and Consulting for Arts Organizations may be substituted for the internship requirement if the student has had two years of full-time professional arts administration work experience.