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Arts Leadership and Cultural Management

2
Years to Earn Your Masters
95%
CSU Online Grad Students have Plans Related to their Career
93%
Grad Students would choose CSU Online Again
$447M
Investment in research in FY21
Degree Overview Open Accordion

Hear Dr. Michelle Stanley explain how this online master’s program helps you gain the practical skills necessary to become a successful manager or entrepreneur in the arts industry.

Earn your arts management degree online

Use your creative talents and develop new skills to meet the rising demand for arts management professionals, creative entrepreneurs, and leaders in cultural community development. Colorado State University's Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management is offered online in a flexible format designed for busy creatives.

If you are passionate about arts and culture and would like to build a meaningful career while enriching the lives of others, this arts management degree offers the courses, faculty, community, and internship opportunities to help you succeed.

Become a visionary leader in community arts and culture

The value of the arts in our society is immeasurable. Arts and culture enhances our well-being, brings together communities, and tells the stories of our civilization and world. To ensure the arts continue to reach and benefit others, we need leaders who understand what it takes to engage communities and help the arts flourish.

The master's in arts administration is an award-winning program, recognized in the Top 10 for leadership excellence in the U.S. by HR.com. The curriculum trains individuals to be true experts in their field. Students learn, not only what professionals need to know today, but, what it will take to thrive as arts leaders in the future.

A master's degree for creative entrepreneurs and professionals

A master's in arts management can help you gain the foundational skills you need to operate your own business or take on leadership roles that effect meaningful change in an organization. With an emphasis on engaging communities through creative partnerships, students learn how to direct their passion in a sustainable manner that will help maximize their work's reach and impact with audiences.

Topics of study include:

  • Leadership concepts and practices
  • Finance management
  • Media communication
  • Arts policy
  • Project planning and evaluation
  • Community engagement
  • Events management
  • Culturally sustainable entrepreneurship

Courses are designed to be immediately applicable and offer valuable insight to help you make informed decisions throughout your arts administration career.

Study with faculty passionate about arts leadership and cultural management

CSU faculty believe the arts provide a highly practical value in society and look to work with creatives passionate about impacting positive change through the arts in the communities they serve.

Faculty are academic practitioners who, in addition to being highly published scholars and researchers, have also worked for, led, and consulted with many arts agencies. Blending academic and industry knowledge allows students to see how theory can be applied to real-world issues faced by professionals in the industry today.

Faculty strive to help students meet their educational goals through community, creativity, and collaborative strategies that are complemented by a strong mentoring pedagogy throughout the arts administration master's program.

About the LEAP Institute for the Arts at CSU

The Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management is offered by the LEAP Institute for the Arts, a special academic unit of Colorado State University's College of Liberal Arts. To learn more about the institute, visit the LEAP website.

The online master's in arts administration is taught by the same faculty who teach on campus, but with the flexibility you need as a working creative professional.

Requirements and Curriculum Open Accordion

The Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management is a 32-credit program of study that includes a core curriculum focusing on arts leadership, community engagement, policy, and advocacy fundamentals. Students also take a minimum of 9 credits of approved electives that will customize their academic track to focus on their desired field of study, such as entrepreneurship, management, or communications.

Additionally, students must have two separate semester-long internships to round out their practical training. Academic advisors can help students identify an appropriate internship opportunity at a local, regional, national, or international arts organization in their area of specialization.

Program of Study (32 cr.)

First Year

LEAP 500 – Leadership in the Arts (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MALCM program
Theoretical and applied knowledge about concepts of leadership and leadership styles as applied to arts related organizations.

LEAP 600 – Arts Policy and Advocacy (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: Admission to the MALCM program
Discuss of the role of artist as citizen and how we affect public policy.

LEAP 650 – Arts Events Management (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 500 or LEAP 600
Technical aspects of events, season and festival management for arts related organizations.

LEAP 687 – Internship (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600; LEAP 692 or concurrent registration
Field internship at local, regional or national arts organization (45 hours per credit).

LEAP 692 – Internship Seminar (1 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600

Selected Elective Course1 (3 cr.)

Second Year

LEAP 660 – Arts Collaboration and the Community (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600
Research, development and production of outreach projects; team projects for community engagement.

LEAP 670 – Law and the Arts (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600
Examine the legal foundations of artistic creation including copyright, freedom of expression, public domain laws, and contract negotiation.

LEAP 687 – Internship (3 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600; LEAP 692 or concurrent registration
Field internship at local, regional or national arts organization (45 hours per credit).

LEAP 692 – Internship Seminar (1 cr.)

Prerequisite: LEAP 600

Selected Elective Course1 (6 cr.)

Elective Course Listing (9 cr. needed)
  1. Select course(s) from program list of approved courses in consultation with advisor and committee. Additional coursework may be required to fulfill prerequisites.
Course Descriptions Open Accordion
LEAP 500 – Leadership in the Arts

Prerequisite: Admission to the MALCM program
Theoretical and applied knowledge about concepts of leadership and leadership styles as applied to arts related organizations.

LEAP 600 – Arts Policy and Advocacy

Prerequisite: Admission to the MALCM program
Discuss of the role of artist as citizen and how we affect public policy.

LEAP 650 – Arts Events Management

Prerequisite: LEAP 500 or LEAP 600
Technical aspects of events, season and festival management for arts related organizations.

LEAP 660 – Arts Collaboration and the Community

Prerequisite: LEAP 600
Research, development and production of outreach projects; team projects for community engagement.

LEAP 670 – Law and the Arts

Prerequisite: LEAP 600
Examine the legal foundations of artistic creation including copyright, freedom of expression, public domain laws, and contract negotiation.

LEAP 687 – Internship

Prerequisite: LEAP 600; LEAP 692 or concurrent registration
Field internship at local, regional or national arts organization (45 hours per credit).

LEAP 692 – Internship Seminar

Prerequisite: LEAP 600

Selected Elective Courses
Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion

Curious about how to choose an elective course for your arts management degree? This guide is designed to help you start the process and includes frequently asked questions. Please read all the information below before making selections and before contacting your advisor.

M.A.L.C.M. elective courses should provide you with skills in the areas of cultural management, arts leadership, arts entrepreneurship, arts policy, art advocacy, and public engagement. You may elect to take additional courses in these areas, but it is useful to find out what will be covered in your LEAP courses first. Since you pay tuition for each credit you earn, use your available credits wisely to select coursework in topic areas not covered in LEAP courses.

Suggested topic areas for M.A.L.C.M. electives

  • Communications
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Research Methods
  • Human Resources
  • Working with Multicultural Populations
  • Tourism

Other topic areas may also be useful. Given that you are earning a degree that will prepare you for leadership positions, think creatively about what skills and knowledge you may need.

Frequently asked questions

How many electives do I need to take?

To fulfill your degree requirements, you must take 9 credits of electives. Typically, that translates into 3 courses of 3 credits each. Although you can take more courses for fewer credits each (i.e. 1 credit or 2 credit courses), keep in mind that you must take 32 credits of coursework to graduate.

Where can I find electives that I can take?

Both residential and online students have a list of pre-approved courses that can be found on the LEAP website. NOTE: You are not limited to these choices. They are offered as suggestions to you. Selecting one of these requires no action other than enrolling in the course. You may also view a list of suggested course codes for electives based on potential career paths at the end of this guide. Information about courses outside of the pre-approved list is provided below.

What level classes are electives?

Courses are numbered to indicate the level of the course. For example, 300 and 400 level courses are undergraduate courses (sophomore and junior/senior level respectively). You may take only a limited number of undergraduate courses to count toward your degree. It is much preferred that you take only graduate-level courses as electives (500 and 600 level courses). Only take an undergraduate course if there is no comparable graduate course available.

What if I want to take something outside of the pre-approved electives?

If none of the pre-approved elective courses are of interest, you can choose from any CSU course that adheres to the following criteria:

  • Is 500 level or above (except in limited circumstances)
  • Provides learning in one or more of the of the following:
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Arts Policy or Advocacy
    • Public Engagement
  • Does not require a prerequisite from the department offering it.
  • Permits students outside of the major to enroll in the course.

I have found a course that is not pre-approved that I want to take. What do I do next?

If you select a course that is not pre-approved, you must get approval from your academic advisor prior to enrolling in the course. Contact your advisor and provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Whether you are a residential or online/distance student
  • Up to four choices of courses you would like to take

For each course, give the course name, course number, credits, a brief description, and an explanation about why the course would benefit you.

Once you receive approval, you can register for the elective course.

Please note that elective courses offered in other departments are under the jurisdiction of those departments. Contact the relevant department for information on the course, when it is offered, wait lists, and other information.

Still need assistance?

Please contact your academic advisor. If your advisor is not available, please contact the LEAP Institute at leap@colostate.edu or by calling (970) 491-3746.

Suggested course codes for electives:

Marketing & Communications
  • Apparel + Merchandising (AM)
  • Communications Studies (SPCM)
  • Design + Merchandising (DM)
  • Marketing (MKT)
  • Journalism + Tech Communication (JTC)
Fundraising & Development
  • Business - General (BUS)
  • Design + Merchandising (DM)
  • Management (MGT)
  • Education (EDUC)
Community Outreach
  • Art - General (ART)
  • Education (EDUC)
  • Ethnic Studies (ETST)
  • International Studies (INST)
  • Women’s Studies (WS)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
Finance & Operations
  • Business - General (BUS)
  • Accounting (ACT)
  • Management (MGT)
  • Economics (ECON)
  • Finance (FIN)
  • Psychology (PSY)
Planning & Programming
  • Business (BUS)
  • Management (MGT)
  • Design + Merchandising (DM)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Education – Organizational Performance & Change (EDOD)
Human Resources
  • Business - General (BUS)
  • Education – Organizational Performance & Change (EDOD)
  • Management (MGT)
  • Psychology (PSY)
Arts Advocacy
  • Political Science (POLS)
  • Philosophy (PHIL)
  • Management (MGT)
  • Business (BUS)
Why Choose CSU? Open Accordion

As a student in CSU's online Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management program, you will receive the same education, learn from the same faculty, and earn the same regionally accredited degree as students on campus. Additionally, you can expect a program with:

  • An Award-Winning Program: Recognized as a Top 10 leadership program in the U.S. by HR.com, the Master of Arts Leadership and Administration degree received a 2016 Leadership Excellence Award for exceptional leadership development.
    • A Community Focus: We emphasize relationship building between artists and the public to foster passion and appreciation for the arts in our communities, and to ensure investment in arts creation and preservation.
    • A Broad Application: Courses supplement the practical training most arts professionals receive by teaching analytical thinking skills that help you apply what you learn to a broad range of organizations and circumstances.
    • A Customizable Curriculum: You can choose from a wide range of course options and take elective credits specific to your desired career path or personal interests.
    • Practical Training Opportunities: Required internships allow for well-rounded practical training, enabling you to apply what you learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios.
    • A Strong Foundation: This degree is offered through CSU's LEAP Institute for the Arts which guides this program's curriculum with its four basic principles of leadership, entrepreneurship, arts advocacy, and the public.

    Learn more about CSU's rankings and accolades.


    ”I wanted something that intersected business, administration, arts, and leadership. I also wanted an element of service, of giving back. CSU offered the perfect program. I apply a lot of what I learned about leadership and organization in my career, especially budget and timeline creation, law, and goal setting. The ability for artists to advocate for themselves and others is priceless. That was my biggest takeaway.“

    – L. Young, Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management Graduate

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester July 15
Spring semester December 15
Summer semester April 15

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1Review Admission Requirements

Applicants should possess an undergraduate degree, as well as potential for advanced study as evidenced by academic achievement. In cases where an applicant is deficient in background, faculty may consider applicants with significant work history in the field of arts administration. In addition, student selection is based on an individual student's maturity and motivation to succeed in graduate study and in the profession of arts administration.

Minimum admission requirements include:

  • An undergraduate degree in the arts is not required. However, students should have a strong interest in the arts, broadly.
  • Standard CSU graduate school requirements apply.
  • Standard TOEFL or PTE scores are required for international students.
  • No GRE required

2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

  • Three letters of recommendation
    Applicants should provide letters of recommendation from faculty members or individuals who have first-hand knowledge of the applicant's academic or professional capabilities. Three professional recommendations are required. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf.
  • Statement of purpose
    A personal statement of professional goals that addresses the question: What will you anticipate doing with your degree? Your written statement should be approximately 500 words.
  • Resume
  • Financial aid application

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Arts Leadership and Cultural Management (M.A.L.C.M.) - Distance" when choosing the Program of Study.

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or gradadmissions@colostate.edu if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

Information for International Students

Official transcript translation

Ensure official copies include a certified translation into English (only one set of transcripts is required).

Official test scores

Colorado State University requires that proficiency in English language be demonstrated either by the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE academic tests prior to admission. Please submit one of the official scores from the list below. Tests must be taken within two years prior to admission and submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075).

  • The minimum TOEFL score for admission without condition is 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based).
  • The minimum IELTS score for admission without condition is 6.5.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score for admission without condition is 58.

All applicants who are citizens of countries in which English is not the official language, and who do not have an undergraduate degree from the U.S. must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.

Questions?

We love learning about your goals and answering any questions to help you on your journey.

Conor McLean
Arts Leadership and Cultural Management
Student Success Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

Courses
Credits
32
Tuition
$642 per credit
Degree Awarded
Master of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management (M.A.L.C.M.)
Time Frame
Can be completed in 2 years

Application Deadlines

Fall semester
July 15
Spring semester
December 15
Summer semester
April 15

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