Courses | Arts Administration | Arts and Humanities

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Curriculum Overview

The Arts Administration Program offers a 60-point Master of Arts degree that requires two years of full-time graduate-level study. 30-33 points taken from the core program offerings; 6 points of coursework is taken through the Columbia Business School; 6-9 points of coursework is taken outside of the Arts Administration Program to fulfill the breadth requirement through Teachers College courses; and 12-18 points of courses are taken as electives at Teachers College or Columbia.  Students are also required to take an internship and complete a formal master's essay.

The core curriculum represents a unique alliance among the faculties of Teachers College, Columbia’s Graduate School of Business, and the School of Law. Included in the core requirements are principles of arts administration, policy, fundraising, theories regarding the historical foundations and socio-cultural context of the arts, accounting, financial planning, marketing, business, policy, labor relations, and copyright law.  

Courses Overview

Courses are sequenced to provide the student with a well-rounded curriculum that builds both knowledge and experience. Courses in business and law are taken in cooperation with the Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School. Electives are chosen both in Teachers College and from the larger Columbia community. Please note: tuition rates may vary for non-TC courses, depending on the offering school. Each student is evaluated in the first year to ensure that satisfactory progress is maintained.


Required Courses

Core curriculum requirements are sequenced throughout both years of the Program in order to provide students with a well-rounded curriculum that builds both knowledge and experience.

A&HG 4170 Principles and Practice in Arts Administration (3 points, Year 1)

  • Basic overview in arts administration covering major areas of concern to small, medium, and large institutions. Specific aspects of arts management, planning, program development, artist relations, marketing, and fundraising.

A&HG 4173 Arts in Context (3 points, Year 1)

  • A seminar and lecture-style course designed to provide a cultural context for discussions of aesthetic, ethical, and political questions that define and challenge the responsible arts administrator's role.

B8635 Marketing the Arts, Culture and Entertainment (3 points, Year 1)

  • Columbia Business School. Marketing the Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE) encompasses a focus on both for and not for profit organizations. ACE covers the diverse fields of commercial entertainment and visual arts, not for profit performing and visual arts as well as service and trade-related organizations in the cultural arts realm.

A&HG 4176 Support Structures: Development and Fundraising in the Arts and Humanities (3 points, Year 1)

  • A practical exploration of fundraising research and proposal writing methods. Proposals are developed for private and public agencies and foundations. Course incorporates aspects of support for the arts, arts education, the humanities, education and artists.

A&HG 5174 Principles and Practice in Arts Administration: Visual Arts (3 points, Year 1)

  • A continuation of A&HG 4170 with special reference to the application of management principles and skills to the visual arts, including museums, commercial and cooperative galleries, artist spaces, public art, corporate and individual collectors and artists.


A&HG 5174 Principles and Practice in Arts Administration: Performing Arts (3 points, Year 1)

  • A continuation of A&HG 4170 with special reference to the management principles and skills of the performing arts, including music, dance, and theater; audience development; unions; and the study of physical facilities.

A&HG 4470 Internship in Arts Administration (0 or 3 points, Year 1 or 2)

  • Internship arranged with host institutions on an individual basis, taking into account the student's needs, interests and capacities, and the host's abilities to integrate those with its operation in an educationally useful manner. Twenty hours per week over four months or the equivalent.

A&HG 4575 Master's Seminar in Arts Administration (3 points, Year 1 or 2)

  • Guided independent work culminating in the development of a master's essay.

B6001 - Accounting I - Financial Accounting (3 points, Year 1 or 2)

  • Columbia Business School. Designed to develop an understanding of accounting principles for users of accounting information. The course looks at how users of financial information interpret accounting reports when making business decisions. The emphasis is on profitability concepts and performance evaluation. Coverage is not restricted to the existing U.S. model but includes a broad discussion of measurement issues and alternative country practices.

A&HG 4174 Law and the Arts I (3 points, Year 2)

  • Principal artistic applications of U.S. law in areas drawn from copyright law, unfair competition and trademark law, misappropriation, First Amendment questions, miscellaneous torts including rights of privacy and publicity, defamation, interference with contract, other problems relating to authenticity of art works.

A&HG 4175 Law and the Arts II (3 points, Year 2)

  • Lectures and seminars on not-for-profit corporations, alternative forms of organization and tax exemption; the role and problems of trustees, directors, and officers; commercial and political activity, administrative regulations concerning arts organizations, and arts-specific contracts.

A&HG 5175 Business Policy and Planning for the Arts Manager (3 points, Year 2)

  • Designed to integrate arts administration course-work from business, law, and the arts. Moves from the financial, cultural, political environment to strategic planning tools to specific arts situations in the creation and implementation of policy and planning objectives.

Elective Courses

Drawing on the resources of Columbia University, students in the Program of Arts Administration may choose to use their elective credits in any of the departments at Teachers College and the other graduate schools at Columbia University. In addition to the four content areas of the Program - arts administration, education, business, and law - many students choose to create an additional area of study through elective coursework in anthropology, technology, museum education, or organizational psychology.

ARAD Program Electives:

A&HG 4013 Cultural Policy

  • Considers core questions across a set of case studies, in light of the history of cultural policy in the U.S. and abroad (and with a focus on federal policy), in light of claims that are made to efficacy, in post-conflict contexts, and in light of various claims to engage in participatory forms of governance, or in a protective posture.

A&HG 4199 Art & Pop

  • Explores the process by which pop transforms into art (and discusses whether and how the reverse is possible), with attention to role of organizations, power, class, race, entrepreneurship, authenticity, and values. Hybrid lecture and discussion-based format.

A&HG 5179 Making Sense of Censorship

  • Uses a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the twin phenomena of censorship and freedom of expression, historically and at present. Censorship will be investigated as a social process, intricately linked with power, knowledge production, group struggles, and social change. Students will explore its causes and consequences and strategies of intervention.

Sample elective courses taken at Teachers College:

A&HA 4079 Exploring cultural diversity: Implications for arts education, Art and Art Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • This course explores a host of issues related to cultural diversity and examines their impact on the practices of art and art education. Teachers reflect about curriculum content, pedagogical approaches and human relations in the diverse art room.

A&HA 4090 Museum education issues I: Culture of art museums, Art and Art Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • An examination of the challenges facing art museums in the twentieth century, with a focus on changing interpretations of objects and how museums respond to public need.

A&HA 5090 Museum education issues II: Missions and standards, Art and Art Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • An examination of the changing purposes of museums, both American and international, as they confront new technologies and expectations for greater participation in education. Issues of ethics and standards for museum education will also be discussed in the context of the section reform movement.

A&HA 5804 Museums as resource: Workshops at the Metropolitan Museum, Art and Art Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • Independent study at Teachers College combined with workshops, lectures and seminars at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students work collaboratively with both Museum and College faculty to develop and carry out individual projects, which may lead in the direction of research and inquiry or into the development of instructional materials for different levels of schooling.

A&HF 4088 Popular culture, Philosophy and Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • Critical examination of mass communication as an informal medium of education: film, TV, comic books, music, dance, advertising, "low" vs. "high" culture and hybrid forms. Enrollees learn to create and promote their own pop-cultural commodity.

A&H 4048 Computing Applications in Education and the Arts, Department of Arts and Humanities

  • This course will examine strategies for developing creativity and problem-solving behaviors employing arts and other educational software. Pedagogical principles underlying the design of the software and instructional applications will be reviewed.

MSTU 4030 Computer applications in education, Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology

  • Hands-on experience learning a variety of computer applications, focusing primarily on word processors, spreadsheets, and database managing. Students create their own educational applications. No computer background assumed.

ORLA 4021 Introduction to Management Systems, Education Leadership, Department of Organization & Leadership

  • An introduction to the fundamental principles and concepts of management information systems. The course examines the management of information systems across several different types of organizations, with an emphasis on the management of education-related information systems in K-12 as well as in institutions of higher education. The course explores both the theoretical as well as practical implications of information systems. Several key themes are addressed, such as: looking at how information systems can increase the problem-solving capabilities within an organization or school; and exploring how information can enable leaders to perform their jobs more effectively.

ORLA 4820 Summer Institute: Management Systems, Education Leadership, Department of Organization & Leadership

  • Broad introduction to the conceptual underpinnings and intensive hands-on application of microcomputer-based techniques for management planning, resource allocation, information systems design, and data-based policy and decision analysis in both public and private organizations.

ORLD 5819 Workplace Learning Institute, Adult Learning and Leadership, Department of Organization & Leadership

  • The Workplace Learning Institute brings together public and private sector training and human resource practitioners, managers, program directors, faculty and students interested in exploring current issues that define the scope and nature of workplace learning. Themes vary each time it is offered.

Sample elective courses taken outside of Teachers College:

AHIS G6644. Structuralism, Poststructuralism, Modernism, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • The discourse on modernism in the visual arts examined in relation to the theoretical positions of structuralism and post-structuralism, specifically the work of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida.

AHIS G4588. Jacques-Louis David: Art, Virtue, and Revolution, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • Exploration of the relationship between art and political engagement through the career of Jacques-Louis David.

B8412 Human Resource Management: Managerial Negotiation, Columbia Business School

  • In managing human resources in an organization, many outcomes and decisions are determined by the process of negotiation. This course involves students in actual negotiating experiences to enhance their skills as negotiators. Concepts developed in the behavioral sciences, economics and game theory are used as guides to improve negotiating. Each fall and spring, one section of the course places emphasis on game-theoretical foundations of the negotiating process.

B8601 Consumer Behavior, Columbia Business School

  • This course covers concepts, methods and aims applicable to the study of consumer behavior. This course includes both quantitative approaches (experiments, surveys, statistical approaches) and interpretive approaches (semiology, qualitative approaches, humanistic studies) applicable at various levels, from the most micro (individual behavior)to the most macro (societal or cultural phenomena at the global level). Each class member is invited to write a term paper and/or to complete a comparable project on a consumer-related topic of relevance to that individual's industry-, product-, brand- or career-related interests. This course is strongly recommended to students planning careers in communications, and it is recommended as an important foundation course to students seeking careers in product management and services.

B9601 Commercial communication in the culture of consumption: media, entertainment, advertising and the arts in the market economy, Columbia Business School

  • This course explores a variety of themes connected with commercial communication (via the media, entertainment, advertising, and the arts) in the contemporary culture of consumption. The course considers communication phenomena that occur for individual consumers (engaged in experiences with various media of arts or entertainment) and for society as a whole (within the so-called "culture of consumption").

B6690 Not-for-profit marketing, Columbia Business School

  • Potentially the most exciting marketing course of its kind in the country, this course covers a range of nonprofit institutions in the fields of education, the arts, government, charities and public broadcasting, among others. The course focuses on applying key marketing principles to the marketing challenges faced by these institutions. Course content is a blend of lectures, guest speakers drawn from the New York metropolitan area's renowned nonprofit institutions, case discussions, relevant readings and individual project work. Students develop a marketing plan for the nonprofit entity of their choice.

L9193 Cultural Property Seminar, Columbia Law School

  • Cultural property involves widely divergent matters, including: relics and remains, indigenous practices, art, and the natural and built environment. These in turn raise numerous issues, including claims of heritage, repatriation and preservation, that affect many and varying interests, including those of archaeologists, anthropologists, art historians, museums, politicians, cultural administrators, nations and local communities. Given this jumble of subject matter, issues and interests, it is not surprising that the law developing to deal with cultural property can be inadequate, controversial, and incoherent,with many affected by it dissatisfied and disaffected. The seminar explores the issues and problems in this developing area, and will consider the relationship between cultures, including a culture and its past, and other aspects of cultural property as a way to understand the legal impasses and shortcomings. After study of the historical and legal background, the seminar will focus on property, intellectual property, moral rights, indigenous claims, cultural appropriation, preservation, repatriation, antiquities, globalization and other topics in an attempt to get beyond more usual approaches to cultural property. The seminar is open to non-law students in areas with cultural property concerns. Attendance and participation, including student lead discussions on weekly topics, is required.

R6529 Theatre Arts: Press, Publicity and Audience Development, Columbia University School of the Arts

  • An introduction to the theatre press, publicity, and audience development process. Projects, including creating public relations timetables and campaigns, press releases, and brochures, are assigned.

R6030 Theatre Arts: Approaches to Production Management-Budgeting and reporting Columbia University School of the Arts

  • An examination, through lectures and exercises, of the budget and reconciliation process as a tool in the effective planning and execution of a single theatrical event and of an entire season.

S4420 Anthropology: Anthropology of Tourism, Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • Tourism is typically associated with relaxation, leisure, and self-indulgence. As a global economic activity, however, embedded within the international tourism trade are cultural end economic processes which shape notions of other as well as articulate state development strategies. Utilizing case studies of tourism, this course will address topics such as tourism, gender, and race, the issue of authenticity in handicraft production and local performances, strategies for the allocation of scarce resources within nations developing a tourism infrastructure, and the potential of tourism for equitable and sustainable development within underdeveloped nations.

B9455-002 - Financing the mission-based business, Columbia Business School

  • The objective of this course is to study the financial structure and mission financing strategies for nonprofit sector 501(c)(3)organizations, with a primary focus on cultural, educational and social service organizations. The course covers a review of the evolution and scope of today's nonprofit sector; the legal structure and formation of a501(c)(3) organization; and a detailed analysis of IRS Form 990 as an analytical tool to assess organizational effectiveness in the utilization of resources for mission advancement. Elements of analysis include: revenue mix, operating and fund-raising efficiency, balance-sheet structure, asset and net asset composition, endowment investment, credit quality, capital financing alternatives, work force issues and mergers. Finally, the course reviews the paid management-volunteer board relationship, including the philosophies, policies and practices that influence NPO financial management.

B9701-084 - Social entrepreneurship: financing and growing social ventures, Columbia Business School

  • This course is designed for students who are interested in management consulting for the nonprofit sector. Through an actual consulting engagement with a nonprofit organization, students will learn the skills required to deliver a successful consulting project. The course is tailored to the specific requirements of nonprofit clients. The course prepares students for a variety of roles, including positions with consulting firms, or as internal consultants in large non-profit organizations. In addition, the course prepares students to manage consultants they may retain at some point in their careers. Working for non-profit organizations in consulting teams, students will complete a 12-week consulting project. As management consulting teams, students will write proposals, prepare hypotheses, analyze data, and present a final "deliverable" to their clients. The course is similar to a practicum in that it calls for students to spend a significant amount of time at client locations. The first-hand experience students will gain from the consulting project will be augmented by classroom work--e.g.,discussions of case studies, analytic methods, and client management--and guest lectures. (Please note that information provided by guest speakers is considered to be proprietary and confidential.)

B9701-058 - Consulting in the public and nonprofit sector, Columbia Business School

  • Social entrepreneurship introduces students to the diverse field of social entrepreneurship, the practice of growing for profit and non-profit ventures that aim to achieve social and financial impact through their products, services and other business practices. This course explores the activities and lessons from some of the nation's leading financiers (including Henry Kravis, George Roberts and John Doerr) in applying entrepreneurial solutions to education, health, environment, energy, work force development, international development, and other important societal issues. Lectures, cases, guests and a final course project cover three themes: financing social ventures, entrepreneurial leadership and strategy, and measurement of social returns. The course aims to build students' skills and networks as well as provide an opportunity to blend venture capital and entrepreneurship skills with personal passions into a satisfying career path.

B8699-007 - Customers and markets: behavioral decision making and economics, Columbia Business School

  • The purpose of this course is to provide future managers and consultants scientific with insights about the psychology underlying customer decision making and to enable these future managers and consultants to incorporate such insights in their business and marketing strategies. Students acquire knowledge of the many factors that influence - often without their awareness - how corporate customers and consumers make decisions. Topics covered include effects of memory on decision making, principles of influence, mental accounting by customers, context effects on choice, influence of affect and emotion, investment psychology, customer self-control, et al. The course is especially relevant for students interested in product, service and brand management; media and communications; and consulting. This is a half-term, 1.5 credit course that is offered in the second half of the term.


Instructions and Resources for Completing the Masters Thesis:

Students are encouraged to explore areas of interest for personal and professional fulfillment throughout their studies. The process of developing a topic, conducting research and drafting your thesis is a time consuming, but rewarding, process. The program has systems in place to support you throughout this process:

Thesis Manual

  • A thesis manual, which contains guidelines, suggestions, and tips will be made available to all students at the end of their first fall semester.

Masters Seminar, Thesis Class

  • The cohort will be divided into two parts to take the seminar; one half will take it in the spring semester of their first year and the other half will take it in the fall semester of the second year. Students must complete the thesis seminar before submitting a thesis draft to their advisor/reader.

Thesis Submission

  • The program will assign an advisor/reader to each student and precise due dates will be announced each year.



As a required part of the M.A. degree, the internship involves a semester-long, 320-hour commitment. You may work with an organization of your choice, selecting the visual or performing arts, or explore other areas within the non-profit or for-profit sectors.

The Internship Coordinator works closely with students, advising on areas of individual interest, navigating the application process, registration, and tracking eventual placements. While the program does not place students in internships, the Internship Coordinator maintains ongoing communication with organizations and alumni to facilitate potential connections and opportunities. 

Please click here for more information on the ARAD internship program.


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