Education

Best Arts Administration Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Arts Administration programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Arts administration is the process of running an arts organization. It includes all of the activities that are necessary to keep an arts organization running, such as planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling. Arts administration degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the arts, including arts management, arts marketing, and arts education.

Arts administration degrees offer a broad overview of the arts, covering topics such as art history, studio art, and design. Students in arts administration degree programs learn about the different aspects of running an arts organization, and how to promote and market the arts. They also learn about the legal and regulatory environment in which arts organizations operate.

How to Choose the Right Arts Administration Program

When it comes to choosing the right arts administration bachelor’s degree program, there are many factors to consider. Cost, location, and time to degree are all important factors to keep in mind. Additionally, students should research the specializations offered at each program to find the best fit for their interests and career goals.

The cost of an arts administration degree varies depending on the institution. When considering costs, students need to research tuition, fees, and associated expenses such as housing, commuting, and parking. Public schools offer a lower tuition rate for in-state residents. Location can also affect the ability to gain internship opportunities and network for jobs after graduation. Finally, the time to degree may make an expensive program less costly if students can transfer in college credits.

In addition to these factors, prospective arts administration students also need to consider the specializations available at each program. Students interested in arts management, for example, may only wish to consider programs that offer a track in arts management. Students can also research the graduation requirements to learn how many general arts classes they must take versus the specialized courses in their track.

Best Bachelor’s in Arts Administration Programs

The best programs for Arts Administration ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Millikin University
Decatur, IL

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration from Millikin University is a degree that allows students to grow in their artistic field while simultaneously developing business skills. Students can choose to earn either a B.A. or B.S. degree and can choose an area of concentration from performance, design, marketing, or entrepreneurship. Students participate in student-run ventures, arts organizations and events that nurture creativity and culture for themselves and the communities they serve.

Rank 2
Baldwin Wallace University
Berea, OH

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management & Entrepreneurship from Baldwin Wallace University is a unique program that combines business and the arts to prepare students for leadership roles in the arts. The program includes coursework in marketing, public relations, development, management, and fundraising, as well as internships and a senior capstone project. Students also have the opportunity to minor or double major in an arts-related field. The faculty are experienced practitioners in the field who can help students develop a career-ready resume and portfolio.

Rank 3
Schreiner University
Kerrville, TX

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management from Schreiner University is a degree that will prepare students for a career in the arts and entertainment industry. The program combines the tools of business with the tools of community-building to make thriving and vital spaces for arts and culture. The upper level courses in the program will teach students about financial accounting, marketing, negotiation, and more.

Rank 4
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Management from Ohio State University is designed for students planning a career in arts and cultural institutions, arts councils and agencies, or in for-profit arts organizations. The program prepares students professionally through several areas of study: cultural policy, arts administration, and arts entrepreneurship.

The Arts Management major emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary study blending concepts and skills from multiple arts disciplines, public policy environments and management operations.

Rank 5
Catawba College
Salisbury, NC

The Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts Administration from Catawba College is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with a foundation in theatre arts, as well as an understanding of business operations as they relate to theatre arts management or arts administration. The degree is designed for students who want to pursue a career in theatre arts administration or management, and provides them with the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in the field. The program is flexible, allowing students to tailor the degree to their specific goals and interests.

Rank 6
Wagner College
Staten Island, NY

The Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration from Wagner College is a multi-disciplinary program that offers four concentrations: Art, Music, Theatre, and Cross Cultural. The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level leadership and management positions in arts-related organizations. Students complete a set of foundation courses in their concentration, a series of business courses, Arts Administration professional courses, and a full-time, semester-long internship. In addition to the major requirements, students must also complete the full range of general education requirements.

Rank 7
Seton Hill University
Greensburg, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration from Seton Hill University is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in the management of arts and culture organizations. The program integrates technology into the learning experience and provides a MacBook Air laptop to all incoming full-time freshmen. Students gain practical experience through Professional Practice courses and apprenticeships in both nonprofit organizations and for-profit arts organizations. The program is also unique in that it is based in an award-winning Arts Center, providing students with on-site experience in managing arts organizations.

Rank 8
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration from Pennsylvania State University is an interdisciplinary program that combines a broad exposure to the arts with significant training in management, marketing, event planning, strategic planning, writing, development, and digital communication. The program is intended for students with an interest in the arts and a desire to pursue careers in the administration or management of arts organizations such as museums, theatre companies, orchestras and choruses.

Rank 9
Indiana University-Bloomington
Bloomington, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Arts Management degree from Indiana University-Bloomington is a great choice for students interested in a career in the arts. The program provides a solid foundation in arts marketing, finance, nonprofit management, and law. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in a specific arts area and complete an internship in their chosen field.

Rank 10
The City University of New York
New York, NY

The Bachelor of Arts in Arts Administration from CUNY is an interdisciplinary degree that prepares students for careers in management and administration in the performing or fine arts. The curriculum consists of the Pathways general education curriculum, the major, and elective credits for a total of 120 credits.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Arts Administration Program

Students in a bachelor’s in arts administration program can expect to learn about the business side of the arts, including topics such as marketing, fundraising, and event planning. The degree typically takes four years to complete and may require an internship.

Arts administration programs often offer concentrations, such as arts management, museum studies, or performing arts administration. These areas of focus allow students to tailor their degree to their specific career goals.

Most arts administration programs require students to take courses in the liberal arts, such as English, history, and philosophy. This broad-based education helps students develop critical thinking and communication skills, which are essential in any arts administration career.

Common Arts Administration Courses

A degree in arts administration typically encompasses a broad range of liberal arts courses, as well as classes in business and management. The list below represents a sampling of courses that might be found in a typical arts administration program.

Financial Management in Arts Organizations

This course covers financial management principles and practices as they relate to arts organizations. Topics include financial statements, cash flow, break-even analysis, capital budgeting, risk and return, financial markets and institutions, and financial planning and control. Upon completion, students should be able to apply financial management principles and practices to arts organizations, and analyze and interpret financial statements and other financial data.

Strategic Planning in Arts Organizations

This course covers the principles and practices of strategic planning as applied to arts organizations. Topics include the role of the board of directors, developing a mission statement, environmental scanning, stakeholder analysis, goal setting, and implementation and evaluation. Emphasis is placed on the application of strategic planning principles to the arts. Upon completion, students should be able to develop a strategic plan for an arts organization.

Legal Aspects of Art

This course covers legal principles and their application to the visual arts, including intellectual property, artist’s rights, contracts, liability, and risk management. Topics include copyright, trademark, and patent law; licensing; moral rights; art as collateral; artist-gallery contracts; art authentication; and risk management. Upon completion, students should be able to apply legal principles to common problems and issues faced by artists, galleries, museums, and other arts organizations.

Arts Entrepreneurship

This course covers the development of arts-based businesses, with an emphasis on the application of entrepreneurial principles to the arts. Topics include identifying business opportunities, developing a business plan, raising capital, managing finances, marketing, and legal and regulatory issues. Upon completion, students should be able to develop a business plan for an arts-based business and apply entrepreneurial principles to the arts.

Marketing and Audience Development

This course covers the basic concepts, strategies, and practices of marketing and audience development for arts organizations. Emphasis is placed on planning and implementing marketing campaigns, using market research to segment audiences and target marketing efforts, using various marketing channels to reach target audiences, and evaluating marketing campaigns. Upon completion, students should be able to develop marketing plans and campaigns, segment audiences, choose appropriate marketing channels, and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Career Options for Arts Administration Graduates

Graduates of arts administration programs work in a variety of industries, including the arts, education, and business. They may also work in fields such as marketing, event planning, and public relations.

Arts Program Director

Arts program directors develop, implement, and oversee arts education programs, which can include everything from after-school theater clubs to in-school visual arts classes to citywide public art initiatives. They collaborate with artists, educators, administrators, and other stakeholders to design programs, secure funding, and assess outcomes. Arts program directors typically work for arts organizations, schools, or government agencies.

Art Gallery Curator

Curators are responsible for the care and display of collections of art and other objects in museums and galleries. They work with artists, collectors, and other stakeholders to develop and implement exhibitions and educational programs. Curators also conduct research, write catalogs and other publications, and give lectures and tours.

Arts Marketing Manager

Arts marketing managers develop and oversee marketing and communications strategies for their organization, which can include anything from print collateral like brochures and posters to digital content like website copy and social media posts. They also work with a variety of other departments—such as ticketing, development, and programming—to ensure that the organization’s marketing efforts are aligned with its overall goals. In order to be successful, arts marketing managers must have a deep understanding of both the arts and marketing, as well as the ability to manage a team and juggle multiple projects at once.

Fundraising Manager

Fundraising managers work for nonprofits, educational institutions, and other organizations to secure funding from individuals, foundations, and corporations. They develop and implement fundraising strategies, write grant proposals, manage donor relationships, and oversee fundraising events. Fundraising managers must be able to think creatively, write persuasively, manage people and projects, and meet deadlines. They also need to be familiar with the organization’s mission and programs in order to articulate its needs to potential donors.

Arts Administrator

Arts administrators are the people who keep the wheels turning at arts organizations. They might work in the business office, handling the budget and bookkeeping; in the marketing department, developing and executing marketing and PR plans; in human resources, managing staff and volunteers; in the development office, writing grants and fundraising; or in the education department, developing and teaching classes or organizing educational events. Many arts administrators wear many hats, and the job can be both creative and administrative.

Insights From an Arts Administration Graduate

Jan Stevens is the Director of Development at the American Repertory Theater. She has a bachelor’s degree in arts administration from Boston University. Jan has over 20 years of experience in arts administration and fundraising.

ClimbtheLadder: What were the biggest takeaway(s) you got from your Arts Administration program that you may not have gotten otherwise?

Jan Stevens: The biggest takeaway from my arts administration program was the importance of networking. In the arts, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The arts are a small community, and it’s important to build relationships with the people in it.

The best way to do that is to get involved in as many different aspects of the arts as possible. That could mean working at a theater, being a part of a dance company, or volunteering at a museum. The more people you know, the better your chances of finding a job in the arts.

ClimbtheLadder: What should students interested in Arts Administration be good at?

Jan Stevens: Students interested in arts administration should have a passion for the arts, be good at multitasking, be able to think creatively, and be able to work well with others.

ClimbtheLadder: What misconception(s) do people have about an Arts Administration degree, and what would you tell them?

Jan Stevens: The biggest misconception about an arts administration degree is that it is not a “real” degree. I have found that my degree has been extremely helpful in my career. It has given me the skills and knowledge to be successful in the arts industry.

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