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Degree Requirements

The M.A. in Arts Leadership will provide advanced study in the management and promotion of arts organizations across artistic disciplines. The degree requires 36 semester credit hours of coursework and internship. It consists of:

Practicum Requirements

All students will be required to complete a Practicum within an established, professional arts organization in in the greater Houston area. The Practicum provides the student with a meaningful, intensive on-the-job training experience in preparation for a leadership position while maintaining a student role, and provides the host organization with the opportunity to train and utilize future professionals in the non-profit and for-profit arts sectors.

During the Practicum, the student is expected work 300 hours on the identified project in total. Time spent on the project should be divided however it works best for the student and the organization. Practicum projects can be completed at any time during the academic semesters of the M.A. program or during the summer/winter breaks. A minimum of 15 core credit hours must be completed within the M.A. in Arts Leadership Program before the student undertakes the actual fieldwork, although the planning phase may begin earlier.


In order to accommodate working professionals, all classes are held in the evenings, Monday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Please note course codes and titles are subject to change. Please refer to the Graduate Course Catalogue for schedule details. For further information on the Practicum program please see the Practicum Overview.

15 credit hours must be chosen from the following:

PUBL 6310 – Administrative Theory (3 credit hours)
The course establishes the theory base for the field of public administration by introducing students to a comprehensive set of historical and current theories, concepts, and approaches in public administration. The course will focus on theory in readings, and it will incorporate the application of theory in class discussions about current events and class papers. In the end, students should have a greater understanding of administrative theory and be able to apply it to the practice of public administration.

ARLD 6310 – Fundraising for the Arts (3 credit hours)
The course serves as an introduction to fundraising strategies for leaders of the arts and provides a comprehensive overview of the fundraising process for non-profit organizations. Students are introduced to basic terminology and concepts in the field; relationship building, the solicitation process, the grants process, major gifts process, the annual campaign, corporate giving and the role of planned giving within an organization’s overall fundraising efforts.

PUBL 6349 – Non-Profit Management (3 credit hours)
This course is designed to facilitate an understanding of non-governmental service/advocacy organizations, or “nonprofit organizations”, and the management and leadership skills required to effectively organize, maintain, and grow them. The class will explore the day-to-day management practices required of nonprofit leaders, as well as the leadership qualities required to keep the organization relevant and thriving.

ARLD 6315 – Public Relations and Marketing in the Arts (3 credit hours)
Introduction to public relations and marketing for leaders of arts organizations, this introductory course surveys a variety of techniques, from audience research and campaign development to advertising and branding, and emerging online tools. Basic strategies of public relations will be explored along with methods for making the most of social media platforms to develop and deepen customer relationships. The course will cover marketing principles as they relate to building, maintaining and developing audiences for performing and visual arts organizations

ARLD 6300 – Fundamentals and Strategic Planning for the Arts (3 credit hours)
The course will serve as an introduction to strategic planning for leaders of arts organizations encouraging students to determine the importance of planning and decision making, creation of mission, vision and value statements; and the development of a complete strategic plan. The course will address the importance of strategic thinking, change management and leadership.

ARLD 6320 – Financial Management for the Arts (3 credit hours)
Course investigates fundamental concepts of financial theory and applies to the management of Arts Organizations; concepts include financial statement analysis, profit planning, sources and forms of financing, budgeting and business valuation.

ARLD 6340 – Law and the Arts (3 credit hours)
Overview of legal issues in the arts subjects including copyright, fair use and appropriation of images/sounds. Students examine moral rights of artists, freedom of speech, privacy cultural and intellectual property.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership-Leading Change
Effectively leading change within arts organizations requires a keen understanding of what it means to truly influence both people and outcomes, and how to best assert one’s own unique leadership stance for the biggest positive impact.  This course will examine various leadership and change approaches, explore each student’s unique leadership stance, and bring those concepts to bear on the particular challenges and changes facing today’s visual and performing arts institutions.

15 credit hours may be chosen from the following and are highly recommended but not required. Students may select elective course from departments outside of the Arts Leadership Program:

PUBL 6342 – Budgeting for Public Agencies (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of public budgeting ideas, concepts and techniques. The purpose is to provide an understanding of public budgeting and a foundation for submitting and reviewing public budget proposals.

PUBL 6350 – Public Management (3 credit hours)
Students learn to apply management theory as taught in the Business School while addressing democratic values such as equity, inclusiveness, individual rights, and representation in the decision making process as executed in the public sector. This course focuses on managing a public organization effectively and efficiently within the constraints of democracy and federalism. This course combines practice and theory in case studies, readings, class discussions, and papers. At conclusion of course, students will be better prepared to manage a public organization.

ARLD 6350 – Entrepreneurship and Alternative Business Models in the Arts (3 credit hours)
Course explores new business models in arts and culture and the skills necessary to start an arts-related venture, build a business plan, and identify funding to get ventures off the ground.

ARLD 6330 – Technology and the Arts (3 credit hours)
Course explores intersections of art and technology across interdisciplinary practices. Through readings, viewings, projects, critiques, and guest presentations, students examine technologically mediated art as well as new media and research.

ARLD 6360 – The Arts and Community Engagement (3 credit hours)
Course explores connecting the arts with community need in an effort to learn about issues of common concern including arts education, activism, public art and community development.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership - Career Development for the Individual Artist/Entrepreneur (3 credit hours)
This course will guide students through the process of cultivating a personal artistic brand and developing an individualized business model created for long-term viability. We will also investigate various methods of translating artistic worth into product pricing, brand messaging for authenticity and building in brand consistency across platforms. Course will also explore working with presenters, agents and managers, and what to individual artists should be mindful of as they develop their work and their careers.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership – Introduction to Arts in Health (3 credit hours)
This course will serve as an introduction to the emerging field of Arts in Health in America. This experiential course will be held in part at Houston Methodist Hospital and consist of lectures by established professionals in the field, tours to programs in session and hands-on activities. In completion of this course students will demonstrate a broad understanding of how the arts are used to improve health and well-being in America in the healthcare environment, the patient experience, clinical services, caring for caregivers, health sciences education, and community health and well-being.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership – Introduction to Museum and Gallery Management (3 credit hours)
This course provides an overview of key aspects for managing nonprofit museums and commercial galleries and introduces students to the practical skills required in these fields, including: exhibition planning, promotion, and publicity; development of educational materials and programs; exhibition design and installation; and the proper handling and treatment of art objects. Students will be exposed to professionals currently working in the field though guest lectures and site visits.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership - Museum Education and Community Engagement (3 credit hours)
Students address the issues regarding the development and implementation of museum education and community engagement in current museum practices through readings, discussions, and multiple visits to local institutions.

ARLD 6395 – Selected Topics in Arts Leadership - Museum Programming (3 credit hours)
This course will serve as an overview to the current trajectory of curation, the history of galleries and museums, methodologies, politics of display, and the art market, allowing students to explore the history, theory and practice of museums as well as the current and emerging trends in the field. Though guest lectures and site visits, students will also have the opportunity to meet with Houston area museum professionals to learn the process of museum programming including curatorial work, registration, education and public programming, marketing, public relations and collection management.

ARLD 6398 – Independent Study (3 credit hours)

Fall 2019

All classes are from 5:30 - 8:30 pm unless otherwise listed. 
  • ARLD 6320 – Financial Management for the Arts
  • ARLD 6395 – Introduction to Arts in Health (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership)   
  • ARLD 6395 – Leading Change in the Arts (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership) 
  • PUBL 6310 – Administrative Theory
  • ARLD 6310 – Fundraising for the Arts
  • ARLD 6395 – Introduction to Museum and Gallery Management (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership) *
  • PUBL 6342 – Budgeting for Public Agencies 
  • ARLD 6395 –  Museum Education (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership) *
  • ARLD 6330 – Technology and the Arts
  • ARLD 6350 – Entrepreneurship and Alternative Business Models in the Arts
    Fridays from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • ARLD 6691 – Practicum Placement 
    By director’s permission
  • ARLD 6398 – Independent Study
    By director’s permission 

Spring 2020

  • ARLD 6300 – Fundamentals and Strategic Planning for the Arts
  • ARLD 6330 – Art and Technology
  • ARLD 6340 – Law and the Arts
  • ARLD 6395 – Museum Programming (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership)
  • ARLD 6315 – Marketing and Communications in the Arts
  • PUBL 6349 – Non-Profit Management
  • ARLD 6395 – Career Development for the Individual Artist/Entrepreneur (Selected Topics in Arts Leadership)
    Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • ARLD 6398 – Independent Study
    By director's permission
  • ARLD 6360 – The Arts and Community Engagement
    Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • ARLD 6691 – Practicum Placement 
    By director's permission
*These classes can be taken as Arts Leadership electives or as part of the new Museum and Gallery Management certificate program. More information to come.