Arts Administration Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration serves the many practicing and aspiring arts professionals who do not have the time or resources to commit to a full program of graduate study, or may already possess a graduate degree in another field. This certificate may be of particular interest to experienced professionals in related fields who are considering a career change.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration will be able to demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of the history, structure, and institutional behavior of arts organizations in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors in the U.S.
  • Proficiency in financial management and an understanding of the important legal issues inherent in managing performing and/or visual arts organizations.
  • Competence sufficient to confidently approach arts organizations in order to obtain at least an entry-level position in the field, serve more effectively as a board member or volunteer; or begin the process of effectuating a career change.

Certificate students will have access to all the resources of the department and the University, including the extensive network of visual and performing arts organizations that has employed Boston University graduates, and internship and job placement services.

Upon completion, interested students may apply for admission to the Master of Science in Arts Administration degree program. If accepted, all credits earned toward the graduate certificate will be applied to the degree program.

Arts Administration Graduate Certificate students take the same classes as graduate students in the Master of Science in Arts Administration degree program. A student may take up to two courses before admission to the Arts Administration Certificate, but must apply and be accepted to the program prior to the completion of the second course.


(Four courses/16 credits)

An examination of the arts institutions, issues, and forces that shape the contemporary art world. Topics include government, cultural policy, National Endowment for the Arts, museums, symphonies, curators, critics, artists' rights, public art, corporate support, censorship, and feminism and multiculturalism. Usually taken as a first course. Non-Arts Administration students contact the Arts Admin Dept, 808 Commonwealth Ave.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS B25A W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
C2 IND CAS 229 W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Analyzes issues of accounting, finance, and economics in the context of the not-for-profit organization. Stresses understanding financial statements, budget planning and control, cash flow analysis, and long term planning.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND CAS B06B M 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Analysis of legal implications of managing an arts institution. Topics include nonprofits and tax-exempt structure, contracts, copyright for performing and visual artists, artists' moral rights legislation, royalties and artists' economic rights, international movement of art (duties/immigration restrictions) and artists, nonprofit incorporation, and tax-exempt status for organizations.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND CAS 326 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Plus one selected from the following:

An introductory course that examines ways to raise funds from government, foundation, corporate, and individual sources. The following topics will be addressed through lectures and case analysis: the history of philanthropy, the planning and research process, proposal and grant preparation, program evaluation, and the role of the board and staff in developing effective fundraising strategies.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND CAS 325 T 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course is designed to provide fundamental background in the theory and principles of arts marketing and audience development used by nonprofit performing and visual arts organizations. Case analysis will be employed to review strategies and practices currently used in the cultural sector. Students will be expected to develop their own marketing plans for an arts organization.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
D1 IND COM 217 R 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

An analysis of issues that involve the engagement of cultural institutions with their immediate community. Includes examination of local arts centers, local arts councils, arts service organizations, agency/government relations, urban issues, multiculturalism, and festivals.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND CAS B06A W 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A review of topics essential for successful management of performing arts organizations.Examination of both facilities management and company management. Studies include organizational structure, trustee/staff relations, marketing, audience building, fund-raising, tour management, box office management, budgeting, mailing list and membership management, human resource management and contract negotiation, performance measurement, and strategic planning.   [ 4 cr. ]

Emphasizes museums, but also includes a review of alternative spaces, commercial galleries, and auction houses. Topics include the changing role of the museum, exhibition planning, fund-raising, crisis management, audience development, and strategic planning.   [ 4 cr. ]

An overview of public art programs in the United States and of related management issues. Includes government-sponsored funds for art and other funding systems; and working with federal, state, and local governments, artists, architects, and community groups in artist selection, site preparation and long-term maintenance.  [ 4 cr. ]

Topic for Summer 2016: Research and Program Evaluation in Arts Administration. Given changing audience demographics, altered economic realities, the effects of globalization, and the increased demand for accountability, professional arts administrators must possess a solid understanding of arts research techniques and methodologies. This course reviews the major approaches to social science research, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies, and how to apply these approaches to investigate questions regarding audience development and marketing; program evaluation and assessment; social and economic impact; decision-making and reflective practice; collaboration and creation; and case-making and communication with the public. In addition, students receive a practical introduction to analytic and data visualization tools such as NVivo, Qualtrics, and online GIS.  [ 4 cr. ]

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View all Arts Administration graduate courses.