University of Minnesota

Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership

Ruttan Hall, Suite 20
1994 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108
United States



Tom Borrup

Program Goals and Objectives

The Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program is a program at the University of Minnesota serving the needs of professionals in the arts and cultural communities. The ACL program develops students’ leadership capacity by utilizing their work, advocacy, and volunteer experience in the arts and cultural sectors. The program features faculty who are practitioners and leaders in the field that present coursework and projects that provide hands-on, practical experience. Required curricula blended with flexible electives allow students to build a program focused around their strengths, experiences, and professional goals.

Options for specialization include Museum Leadership; Organizational Leadership; and Culture, Place and Community Leadership; or students can curate their own area of focus drawing on exemplary resources across the University in areas such as urban planning, public policy, art history, architecture & design, nonprofit management, geography, or arts education.

Minnesota's arts, culture, and philanthropic communities are among the most highly regarded in the U.S. Support for artists is unparalleled. Nationally and internationally recognized and innovative nonprofits of all sizes and genres, as well as community based organizations representing a wide spectrum of interests, are abundant. The backdrop for learning and engaging is exceptional.

ACL students and graduates are leaders. They’re entrepreneurs, changemakers, thought-leaders, and innovators within organizations and communities. They are the forefront and next generation of arts and cultural leaders.


Students complete 18 credits of required Arts & Cultural Leadership core coursework and 12 credits of electives.

The Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program prepares you to lead, whether you aim to be at the helm of an arts, cultural, or nonprofit organization, a voice in cultural advocacy, or a creative force in your community. 

Courses and program experiences are designed to enhance essential skills in:

  • Professional communication
  • Creative problem solving
  • Fundraising and budgeting
  • Collaboration
  • Relationship building 
  • Cultural competency

In the ACL program, you have the flexibility to pursue 12 credits of elective coursework leading to potential self-curated specializations, including Culture, Place, and Community Leadership; Museum Leadership; Organizational Leadership, among others. You have up to five years to complete this master's degree.


Apply online or contact an advisor for more information. Annual application deadlines are March 1st for fall admission and October 1st for spring admission. 


Application requirements include:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA. If GPA is below 3.0, applicants are encouraged to consult with the ACL adviser.

  • Three years of professional, advocacy, or volunteer experience in arts or cultural organizations.

  • Online application form and application fee.

  • Transcripts.

  • Statement of Purpose (3-4 pages).

  • Two letters of reference.

  • Current resume.

  • Academic or professional writing sample (approximately 10 pages).

Note: The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is NOT required.