What is the Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration?

This is a three-course, nine-credit credential that prepares you for a career in arts administration in a variety of different areas: leadership, strategic planning, communications, organizational management, presenting in the performing arts and budgeting forecasting and fundraising, to name just some of the opportunities in the realm of arts administration.

What are the prerequisites for the certificate?
  1. An undergraduate degree in an arts, humanities or related discipline.
  2. A bachelor’s degree in any other discipline plus at least three years of professional experience working in an arts organization.

Please see the application page for a full list of requirements.

If I am already pursuing a degree in the College of Music, are these courses available to me? Is there an additional cost to my tuition?

Graduate students already enrolled in the College of Music can elect any of the Certificate courses and are eligible to earn the Certificate. The cost of tuition is determined by all university policies currently in place for degree-earning students.

Undergraduate College of Music students may be admitted to any one of these courses, but only with the permission of the instructor; as with graduate students, tuition rates will apply, just as they do for any electives taken.

Is a GRE required for admission to the certificate?

The GRE is not required.

What is the tuition cost for this program?

The cost of tuition is $700 per credit hour for Colorado state residents and $1,000 per credit hour for non-residents.

How and when do I apply for the certificate?

Please view the application page for information. The deadline to apply is July 31, though the sooner you apply, the better your chances are that we will have space in these classes. Current CU students not in the College of Music, and all those not enrolled at CU, must submit a transcript, a statement about themselves, cover letter and letter of recommendation.

What is the difference between a certificate and a master's degree in this field?

The certificate program is comprised of three, three-credit courses, nine credit hours in all. The goal of the certificate program is to serve as a useful platform for building the skillsets essential for a successful career in arts administration. A typical master’s degree, on the other hand, will take 30 to 45 hours to complete and usually includes a robust set of business and finance courses.

What are the courses that comprise the certificate, and can I take these courses online?

Yes, all three courses are available online; but note these important differences:

MUSC 5938 (Management and Leadership in the Arts), Spring Semester only, is offered exclusively online so that it can be taken from any distance as long as your computer has distance learning capabilities and will be available to you at any time of day to suit your schedule.

MUSC 5948 (Sustainable Arts Organizations), Spring semester only, and MUSC 5978 (Introduction to Arts Administration), Fall Semester only, will be scheduled for a specific time and place but will be available to distance learners for whom travel to campus is inconvenient or not possible. These two courses can only be accessed at the time the classes are offered.

How much space is available for certificate students?

The College of Music expects to create space for every enrolled Certificate student. The intent is to maintain small class sizes (up to 20 students). When a class is filled, our intent is to open an additional section of the same course.

Are assistantships or other forms of merit aid available for students in the certificate program?

The City of Boulder Arts Council offers scholarships for those already working in an arts organization located within Boulder city limits. This can include current CU Boulder employees working in such areas as CU Presents, the CU Arts Museum, Shakespeare Festival, etc. Anyone admitted to this program can apply to the Arts Council for scholarship funding. No other form of merit aid is available through the university.

What is the schedule of courses?

The Certificate can be earned within a single academic year. The faculty encourage students to take these courses in the following order:

MUSC 5978 (Introduction to Arts Administration) is offered in Fall semesters on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4-5:15 p.m. and is available for distance learners, but only at the class times listed above. This course is intended to be a prerequisite for the other two courses.

MUSC 5948 (Sustainable Arts Organizations) is offered in Spring semesters and as noted above, is available at distance, but only during specific class times.

MUSC 5938 (Management and Leadership in the Arts), also offered Spring semesters, is the one course offered asynchronously, so that it can be taken at any time of day. See the CU Boulder class schedule for exact dates and times for all courses. 

Who are the instructors for these courses?

The College of Music is particularly proud of the experiential background, accomplishments and dedication of its instructors:

John Davis, Associate Dean for Administration and Faculty Affairs at the College of Music, holds an earned doctorate in music and an MBA in Managerial Organization. In this role he is responsible for personnel matters and the operations of the College of Music. Prior to that, Davis served for many years as the director of the CU Jazz Studies program. Under his leadership, the college developed new degrees in jazz studies, and the department won 15 national awards in various creative categories. He will teach the course "Management and Leadership in the Arts."

Joan McLean Braun, Assistant Dean for Concerts and Communications, has been executive director of CU Presents for the past 25 years. Under her leadership, the program has grown from oversight of the Artist Series to a comprehensive organization that is now responsible for promoting the entire spectrum of performing arts offered on the Boulder campus, including music, theatre, dance and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Braun, who holds a bachelor’s degree in music and an MBA, both from CU Boulder, has taught the course, "Introduction to Arts Management" on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Center for Music for the past 10 years.

SoYoung Lee serves as the Executive Director of the Rocky Ridge Music Center. Under her leadership, the center’s student participation, operating budget and donor base has more than doubled, and the fundraising committee raised over three million dollars, which was invested in scholarships, and the preservation and modernization of historic buildings. She led the development of a bold strategic plan that includes the expansion of the summer residential program to include year-round, meaningful collaborations with community music schools in Denver and Boulder, and a concert hall sited on a 17-acre campus just steps from the Rocky Mountain National Park.

What is the expected time frame for completing the certificate?

The expectation is that students will complete the certificate program in one academic year, by taking "Introduction to Arts Administration" in the fall semester, and the remaining two courses in the spring semester.

What are the criteria for successful completion?

Students must earn at least a grade of “B” in each of the three courses to be awarded the Certificate.

Will the Certificate be recognized by Arts Organizations?

The College of Music, one of the highest ranked music programs in the country, will provide the successful certificate holders a credential that will prepare them for success in arts administration. Arts organizations will benefit from the insights and understanding of the field that our program graduates will have achieved. In turn, program graduates will access more opportunities from which to choose and the greater likelihood of a satisfying career in the arts.

Is there a graduate advisor for the Certificate?

The faculty advisor is Daniel Sher, Professor and Dean Emeritus of the College of Music; he can be reached for further questions by emailing daniel.sher@colorado.edu.