What to Know About Getting a Master’s in Arts Administration

Posted: July 27, 2023 | Author: Elliani Bailey | Read Time: 4 minutes

Master's students speaking around a tableWhen considering different graduate programs it’s easy to become lost in the vocabulary and terminology. Graduate? Terminal degree? Arts administration? Management? Advocacy? Knowing what these words meant separately, and understanding them in terms of arts administration are two different things.

If you are interested in helping the arts grow and thrive in your community, then this degree was built for you! So here is what you need to know before applying for a master’s degree in arts administration at Southern Utah University.

5 Things You Should Know About SUU’s Arts Administration Master’s Programs Before Applying: 


1. What is Arts Administration?

Arts administration is the business and advocacy side of the arts. It includes how to lead, market, direct, manage and even finance any arts organization: museums, theaters, dance companies, symphonies, galleries and more.

Assistant director for SUU’s arts administration program, Rachel Parker, says that SUU’s Arts Administration curriculum is like a language program - students will emerge with the skill fluency needed to competently contribute in the world of arts administration. This curriculum gives students an overview of many different administrative areas in the arts, including finance, marketing, education, and leadership, teaching them the language for each area and how they function. 

So, even if you are not directly involved in the financial department of your orchestra, you will know how to work with them to achieve common goals. This lingo side of the program will give you the skills necessary to be an effective leader in all aspects of an arts organization. 

At its core, arts administration is the operational side of the arts, and its goal is to make sure the show goes on, no matter what. Thanks to effective arts administrators, the arts not only are sustained, but thrive. If you’re interested in building, sustaining and advocating for the arts, then SUU has two tracks (MFA and MA described below) to choose from that will help you gain the necessary skills.


2. What potential careers are available?

Another common question students have about this degree is, “What will this get me?” Through either degree track, you will walk away with knowledge of how to work in the business side of the arts. Of course, career planning is what motivates many people to seek a graduate degree. There are numerous career paths graduates can take after obtaining a graduate degree in Arts Administration: marketing director, development director, education director, executive director, events manager, project manager, grant writer and arts advocate. 

SUU has alumni who are in each of these career paths. Remember, these are not the only options available. 


3. What are the demographics of the program?

SUU’s program includes a variety of people with a passion for the arts. It includes both students who just graduated with their bachelor’s degree and are looking to build a career in the arts, as well as students who have been working for decades in the field but want to expand their knowledge on how to better manage and lead. There are students from all across the country participating in SUU’s program, all with different backgrounds in the arts, including theater, dance, visual art, music and literature. 


4. Why graduate degrees in arts administration?

Arts Administration is a great way for people to stay connected to the arts while sharing their passion with others (and avoiding the “starving artist” stereotype). More generally, getting a graduate degree opens up the opportunity for career advancement. According to the Education Data Initiative, 37.3% more bachelor degrees were conferred over the last decade. This means that having a graduate degree makes a person even more competitive in the job market. 


5. What is the difference between the MFA and MA tracks?

SUU offers two degree tracks in the Arts Administration Program: a resident MFA and an online MA. 

The Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration from SUU is a terminal degree, meaning it is the highest degree in the field - besides a couple of Ph.D. programs, which are mostly research-based. It is a two-year intensive track that requires students to live in Cedar City and provides real-world experience through graduate assistantships. 

Our Master of Arts in Arts Administration is a 100% online track that gives students the chance to blend their professional and academic careers through meaningful projects. Both tracks are affordable and have financial support available. On both tracks, class-sizes are small, enabling professors to connect with students more effectively and provide the support needed. 

The Arts Administration Master’s Program at SUU is a proud member of the Association of Arts Administration Educators, a professional organization representing the world's leading arts administration programs, all training and equipping students in arts leadership, management, entrepreneurship, cultural policy and more. Learn more about the SUU Arts Administration.

Tags: Arts Administration College of Performing and Visual Arts

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