Rob Shay, Yo-Yo Ma and Joan Braun

The College of Music's professional Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration provides students with the managerial skills and knowledge to work in the performing arts industry. Students will gain knowledge and insights into the opportunities and challenges facing today’s arts administration professionals through unique class sessions bringing Boulder students and distance learners together in a boardroom setting.

The goal of the certificate is to provide students with a valuable credential to supplement existing graduate degrees and an attainable and cost-effective credential for practicing professionals. The program is open to working professionals and any CU Boulder students already enrolled in a graduate degree in music, theater or dance.

Apply for the Arts Administration certificate

Demand for arts administrators

The arts industry, taken as a whole, is a vast enterprise in the United States. Data collected by “Americans for the Arts” (from 2015), a non-profit arts advocacy organization located in the nation’s capital, provides the following picture: Among all arts industries in the U.S., there are a total of 703,000 entities employing 2,900,000 workers. When considering just the performing arts sector, including music, theatre, dance, presenting facilities and organizations, etc., as of 2015, there are 117,140 organizations, and 523,687 employees in this area.

In the state of Colorado, for example, there are more than 2,300 performing arts organizations with more than 8,000 employees. Looking even closer to home, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, which includes seven counties in the Boulder/Denver vicinity, reports more than 300 recipient arts and cultural organizations, which employ 2,700 full-time staff and 4,700 part-time. 

These data demonstrate the robust nature of the performing arts industry as a whole, and we take these numbers to assume that there is strong demand for qualified, educated arts administrators.

What we're hearing from our graduates

Voice Performance graduate Mary Kettlewell (MM ’18) applauds the certificate for opening doors to her new position as program administrator at the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), a small state government commission in Austin dedicated to funding arts organizations in Texas. “It’s the reason I was hired,” she says. “And now, I have the satisfaction of going to work every day knowing that I’m part of the reason that arts organizations in my area receive funding and are able to commission new works, create new outreach programs and provide artistic opportunities to underserved populations in Texas.” Learn more.

"I wouldn't have been able to get this job without the arts administration certificate from the University of Colorado Boulder,” says Luis Granda (MM ’20), recently named assistant director of donor and patron relations for the Boulder Philharmonic. In addition to a master’s degree in double bass performance from the College of Music, Granda earned a Certificate in Arts Administration to position himself for a career building funding support for the arts. Learn more.