Career-Focused Arts Administration Training for all the Art Disciplines

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

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. Today, the program is housed in the School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, welcoming students from a variety of artistic, educational, and professional backgrounds. 

The M.A. in Arts Administration is awarded after the successful completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate coursework including the completion of a professional internship experience, and the acceptance of a written thesis or project. 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 management, marketing and finance.

Arts Administration Curriculum

View the complete Arts Administration Curriculum Guide by clicking the button below.

Arts Administration Curriculum Guide

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 and guidelines for writing master's 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 dance and theatre companies, orchestras, and museums.

Fundraising 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.

Internship - 3-6 credits

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

Legal Aspects of Arts Administration - 3 credits

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

Audience Development - 3 credits

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

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/Project - 3-6 credits

Research related to completion of master’s thesis or project.

Note: (If the student chooses to write a thesis, its 6 credits; a project can range from 3-6 credits)

Additional Requirements
Flexible Business Courses  

Business Courses - (6-9) total credits

Arts Administration students select business-style courses in:

  • Management - 3 credits
  • Marketing - 3 credits and/or
  • Finance - 3 credits

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


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
  • The Joffrey Ballet School
  • Cleveland Orchestra
  • Warhol Museum
  • Sante Fe Opera
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • GroundWorks DanceTheatre
  • Summit Artspace
  • Akron Civic Theatre
  • National Youth Orchestra
  • Neos Dance Theatre
  • Ballet in the City
  • Canton Symphony Orchestra
  • Canton and Massillon Museums
  • Stagecrafters Youth Theatre
  • Porthouse Theatre

Create an Arts Administration Thesis or Project

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

Graduate Bulletin

Read the Graduate Bulletin for detailed courses descriptions and additional graduate school information at The University of Akron.

Graduate Bulletin 

Arts Administration Curriculum Guide 

Internationally Affiliation

The University of Akron Arts Administration