The University of Akron

Arts Administration

School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration
Guzzetta Hall
Akron, Ohio 44325-1005
United States



James Slowiak

Program Goals and Objectives

The University of Akron Arts Administration Program is designed to prepare graduate students for successful careers in the business of non-profit arts within the wide spectrum of artistic and professional fields – dance, theatre, music, and visual arts; non-profit arts organizations, foundations, and beyond. 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, and welcomes students from a variety of artistic, educational, and professional backgrounds


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.

First Year 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.

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.

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 Core Courses

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.

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.

Additional Requirements – Flexible Business Courses and Electives

3 Business Courses – 9 total credits

Arts Administration students select business-style courses in:

  • Management – 3 credits
  • Marketing – 3 credits
  • Finance – 3 credits

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

Electives – 3-6 credits

Arts Administration students take any graduate-level course of their choice at The University of Akron. Electives allow students to further tailor their education to fit their professional and personal interests. Commonly, students will select courses from Myers School of Art, Music School, and/or special topic courses at The University of Akron.     



It would be difficult to describe a “typical” Arts Administration student at The University of Akron. Classes are made up of diverse people of all ages, from countries all over the world, and with a wide variety of cultural, educational, and practical backgrounds – both early and mid-career. The following are general requirements for admission to the Master of Arts in Arts Administration program: 

  • Bachelor degree from an accredited institution of higher education
  • Undergraduate GPA above 2.7
  • Write and submit a 300-word statement of intent, summarizing your background and outlining your career goal(s).
  • The Coordinator of Arts Administration Program, will contact applicants to schedule a finalist interview to be completed either in person or by phone. 
  • GRE is NOT required