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.

The certificate is open to qualified applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited college or university in the United States or abroad. All candidates for admission are selected on the basis of undergraduate transcripts, academic and professional references, and related work experience.

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 DeNatale KCB 103 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
C2 IND Aceti EPC 203 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 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 Orlinoff MUG 205 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

"Arts Administration Law" is not a legal field; rather, it is a series of highly specialized legal analyses lying at the intersection of tax, intellectual property, employment, corporate law, and the law of non-profits that defines the legal status and issues of arts organizations. It is an interdisciplinary area, including all aspects of the law connected with art, artists (both performing and visual), performance and objects. Topics include: nonprofits and tax-exemption, contracts, copyright for performing and visual artists and artifacts, artists' moral rights, employment law, cultural heritage and the First Amendment. The course is taught using case studies and the case method applied to legal decisions, to which legal analytic frameworks will be applied.  [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
B1 IND Beasley PSY B51 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 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 Ibrahim CGS 115 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
O2 IND Ibrahim ARR

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
C1 IND Peterson STH B20 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

This course is designed to equip students with the tools and critical thinking skills to identify and apply appropriate methodologies to support the work of their organizations as practitioners and consumers of research. We will review the major approaches to social science research, including a range of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies, and consider the relevance of each research framework to specific questions in the arts. The course will consider the role of arts research in domains such as audience development and marketing; program evaluation and assessment; social and economic impact; decision-making and reflective practice; collaboration and creation; case making and communication with the public.  [ 4 cr. ]

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
D1 IND Weeks SOC B63 T 6:00 pm – 8:45 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. ]

A hands on project-based collaborative class that will conceptualize, plan, and execute a public art project during the semester. You will develop an understanding of the various challenges administrators face in all phases of a project, especially from the creative vantage of the artist. We will explore project funding, case study analysis of public art management, artist selection, and the unforeseen.   [ 4 cr. ]

This course explores the emerging field of cultural entrepreneurship and covers a variety of topics, including: the artist as entrepreneur; new business models for creative entrepreneurs; branding, storytelling and design; the artist and social impact; and the role of entrepreneurs in cultural organizations. Through case studies, guest speakers, readings, and group exercises, students learn about innovative entrepreneurial initiatives that straddle the boundaries between the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Guided exercises enable students to assess and develop their skills as future change agents and entrepreneurs. This class is designed for graduate students in the Arts Administration program.  [ 4 cr. ]

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