MASTER OF ARTS
ARTS ADMINISTRATION

The University of Akron Arts Administration master's program is designed to prepare students for successful careers in all disciplines of the nonprofit arts. The strength of the program lies in a commitment to balancing theoretical study in the classroom with application through practical experiences and internships.

Arts Administration University of Akron Masters Program

The University of Akron founded its graduate program leading to a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Theatre Arts with an option in Arts Administration in 1980. The program is housed in the School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences. 

The M.A. in Arts Administration is awarded after the successful completion of a minimum of 45 credit hours of graduate course work, the completion of a professional internship experience, and the acceptance of a written thesis.

The curriculum provides students with a philosophical base for decision-making and planning, as well as a comprehensive range of techniques for working effectively in the field. Although core courses are offered by Arts Administration faculty, an essential part of the Arts Administration master's program is the selection of courses in such areas as business, communications, law, computer technology, and public administration.


Arts Administration Curriculum


First Year
Arts Administration Core Courses 

PRINCIPLES OF ARTS ADMINISTRATION - 3 credits

Principles and practices in non-profit arts management, including organizational structure, function of boards, personnel and volunteer management, and public policy for the arts.

RESEARCH AND WRITING TECHNIQUES - 3 credits

Exploration of basic research tools and methods appropriate to the discipline, including utilization of databases. Guidelines for writing thesis.

ARTS ADMINISTRATION POLICIES AND PRACTICES - 3 credits

Financial management of the arts, facilities management, presenting performances, touring, and unique management problems in non-profit theatre companies, dance companies, orchestras, and museums.

LEGAL ASPECTS OF ARTS ADMINISTRATORS - 3 credits

Legal responsibilities and liabilities of an arts organization, contracts, copyright law, insurance, taxation, artists’ rights, personnel law, and labor law.

INTERNSHIP - 3-6 credits

Prerequisite: permission. Faculty supervised work experience in which student participates in an arts management, performance, or technical situation with a selected cultural organization. Most often taken during the summer. 

Second Year
Arts Administration Core Courses

FUND RAISING AND GRANTSMANSHIP IN THE ARTS - 3 credits

Techniques and execution of a development campaign for individuals, corporations, foundations, federal and state grants, and endowment, including research and proposal writing.

AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT - 3 credits

Developing audiences for the arts through arts marketing techniques, including season and single ticket campaigns, promotional strategies, media/public relations, market research, and telemarketing.

COLLOQUIUM ON THE ARTS - 3 credits

A brief exploration of the major visual and performing art forms and organizations examined in relationship to the business management of arts.

MASTER’S THESIS - 1-6 credits

Prerequisite: permission of graduate coordinator of arts administration program. Research related to completion of master’s thesis.

Additional Requirements
Flexible Business Courses and Electives 

3 BUSINESS COURSES - 9 total credits

Arts Administration students select business-style courses in:

  • Management (3 credits)
  • Marketing (3 credits)
  • Finance (3 credits)

Course selections are made according to each student's unique career goal and are most often from the School of Business, School of Communications, and Public Administration and Urban Studies. 

ELECTIVES - 3 - 6 credits

Arts Administration students take any graduate-level course of their choice at The University of Akron. Electives allow students to further tailor their education to fit their professional and personal interests.     


Professionally Connect with an Internship


Each student spends several weeks—often the summer between the first and second years—acquiring practical experience and mentoring in a professional arts organization.

To name a few, recent internship hosts have included:

  • Lincoln Center
  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Cleveland Orchestra
  • Warhol Museum
  • Sante Fe Opera
  • National Youth Orchestra
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Massillon Museum
  • Stagecrafters Youth Theatre
  • Porthhouse Theatre

Create an Arts Administration Thesis


The creation of a thesis is the culminating project of every student graduating from the Arts Administration program at The University of Akron. Thesis topics may be historical, theoretical, analytical, or, in some, cases, project oriented. 

university of akron arts administration


Graduate Bulletin


Read the Graduate Bulletin for detailed courses descriptions (see pages 46 and 122) and additional graduate school information at The University of Akron.

Graduate Bulletin