Our Program

The UB Arts Management Program balances theory and practice based courses in arts management, business, and law. The curriculum creates effective arts managers and researchers who create and work from a thorough and critical understanding of the field, its diversity, and its complexities.

Core Requirements (27 credits)

AAP 502: Arts Management & Society

Instructor: Franck Bauchard

Arts Management and Society is an introductory course of the program and will provide the context for inquiry into the study of Arts Management. It is designed to provide an overview of the essential questions and topics that arts managers need to pose in order to effectively enter and analyze the field. The course is historical and analytical in nature providing students with some of the key sociological concepts and a historical understanding of the functions of the arts in society over time and in the present day. It will cover basic questions of anthropology, sociology, political economy and law in order to assist students to understand the connections between these fields and the arts.

The course will proceed by lecture, seminar and discussion and will encourage students to apply the analysis to societies that they know well by drawing from contemporary examples. This course will analyze arts in society based on the premise that the arts manager needs to be as fully aware of the complexities posed by the arts in society as he or she is aware of state policies or government legislation.

AAP 507: Special Topics: Cultural Production

Instructor: Franck Bauchard

Cultural Production is a final course of the Program which aims to give a cultural production perspective to future arts managers.

Cultural production is a world of verbs rather than nouns, relations rather than substance.  To produce is to design, to plan, to organize, to negotiate, to network, to promote. In that way, the pathway that leads to cultural production can be seen as a series of steps or processes akin to operations management.  But more importantly it is also a way to understand how culture is shaped by a circuit of production which encompasses architecture, cultural policy, cultural practices, social media, technologies, legal and economic issues, etc.  The course will invite the students to think about the contexts and environing conditions of art all along the different phases of the implementation of a cultural project.

The question in the course becomes “How is art? and not “What is art?”. Art is reframed through the infrastructure modeling the production and the reception of art. As technologies are becoming a part of the infrastructure of art, the courses will address the changing media ecology of cultural production.

Cultural production is a project-based course raising theoretical issues which have been addressed by authors such as Bourdieu, Latour, Baker, Jenkins, Bolter and others. The students will be involved in the implementation of Techne events such as residencies, exhibitions, performances, symposia, etc.  On the basis of call for projects, students could be also involved on the organization of art events abroad.

AAP 508: Arts & Cultural Policy and Diplomacy

Instructor: Dr. Katja Praznik

The course is designed to introduce the subject of cultural policy as well as theoretical concepts and approaches to the policy dimensions of arts & culture. The theoretical perspectives on culture, on cultural policy and on the study of policy will be presented, emphasizing the tension between states/governments and the arts. The course will focus on several relevant notions that will put cultural policy in the perspective of a specific social practice, such as instrumentality, ideology and governmentality. The main objective of the course is to gain critical insights into the key theoretical discussions on cultural policy and its ramifications. It is designed to enrich student's independent work with the self-reflexive and critical dimension and to develop the ability for dialogic thinking and inter-discursive practice of theory. The course requires the development of a critical understanding of the relationships between states, public policies and artistic expression in order to successfully negotiate its objectives. Students are encouraged to consider alternative theoretical perspectives on cultural policy and to compare their ramifications for the artistic practices in the context of nation states.

The course will provide an overview of critical factors which affect the development of cultural policy. It will investigate the nature of cultural policy by looking and contesting the intentions and interests of governments and other stakeholders that shape cultural policies. The course will also provide an overview of institutions and instruments that have been put in place to promote policies in order to provide understanding of how the machinery of policy-making works and how the state and culture interact to produce cultural policy.

AAP 509: Research in Arts Management

Instructor: Dr. Katja Praznik

This seminar guides students through the steps necessary to frame their final thesis project and prepares them for the spring semester’s writing process. Core tasks are: developing a research question, engaging sources, creating a syllabus of readings and assessing their functionality for a project, setting up field research, formulating an abstract, and creating an outline. By the end of the semester students are expected to have determined their research question, outline, research methodologies, and bibliography in order to start writing up their project.
The Seminar has four primary objectives:

  • To allow students to begin the Master’s Thesis or Project process in a structured environment, with the benefit of faculty review and the input of other students.
  • To instruct students in how to create a research trail using library resources.
  • To help students develop skills in critical writing, research, and an analysis of problems in the field.
  • To be equipped with the necessary tools to start the writing process.

AAP 511: Fieldwork in Arts Management

Instructor: Tina Dillman

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the professional environment and to bring together the theory and practice of arts management. It is intended to prepare students for their future careers as arts managers.  Students will be teamed with a professional arts, cultural, or advocacy organization on a specific project. These projects are designed in consultation between the Program, the course instructor and the participating organization. The projects selected will have clearly defined objectives and goals.

MGG 620: Special Topics in Management: Nonprofit Management

Instructor: Dan Liebel

Special Topics in Management – Non Profit Management is an introductory course for Masters level study. The course will cover a broad discussion of the general business aspects of a non-profit organization, including areas such as accounting and financial reporting, human resources, marketing, management information systems, operating systems, revenue generation (grants, development, foundations, etc.) and ethics. In addition, we will also cover effective dealings with board of directors, volunteers and committee members. No prior business knowledge or experience is required.

The course will provide you with:

  • A general knowledge base surrounding business management in the not-for-profit environment.
  • The opportunity to research, analyze and respond to different general business and organizational situations.
  • The opportunity to discuss current events in the “real world” as they apply to course learnings.

MGG 660:Entrepreneurship

Instructor: Thomas R. Ulrich, MBA

MGG 660: Entrepreneurship, is a foundation course intended to introduce and instruct students with little or no background on entrepreneurship. This course will expose students to entrepreneurship in the context of the individual entrepreneur as well as taking the idea of entrepreneurial thinking into the environment of larger corporations. Using actual entrepreneurs as examples; students will examine the entrepreneur as an individual and observe the traits and mindset that these entrepreneurs hold as a group. We will then look at what it takes to create a start-up; briefly examining the process real-life entrepreneurs have used to move from having the "big idea" to the eventual company launch.

AAP 585: Legal Issues in Arts Management

Instructors: Emily Kimmel, Andy Finch

This course introduces students to arts and entertainment-related legal issues and trains them to recognize where legal problems might arise. This course will provide an overview of Corporation Law, Arts Advocacy, Contract Law, Employment Law and Tort Law as it relates to insurance and volunteers. Students will attend Museums Advocacy Day as a part of the advocacy training in this course.

AAP 586: Law, Policy, and Intellectual Property: Arts Management

Instructor: Emily Kimmel

This course enables students to gain a better understanding of arts and entertainment-related legal issues. Topics covered include First Amendment Law for Artists and Arts Managers, Copyright Law & Licensing Agreements, Privacy Law, Personal Property and Labor Law.

More advanced management and law courses are available for students with business and management backgrounds through our partnerships with the UB School of Management and Law School. 

Electives (9 credits)

Electives can be chosen from graduate courses across the University, giving you an opportunity to specialize your degree. The Program advises students and crafts a unique course of study for each student to position you to achieve your future goals. We offer the following core electives:

AAP 507: Special Topics: Cultural Data

Instructor: Nikolaus Wasmoen

This course explores how data can be created, captured, mined, and applied in the context of cultural collections, institutions, events, and performances. The course will be structured around three units: (1) Mapping; (2) Graphing; (3) Socializing. In each of these units, students will explore data as an element of a public performance or art event through a series of workshops, readings, class discussions, and writings. Readings will address a broad set of approaches to data in the arts and humanities including thick mapping, text and data visualization, social media analysis, text analysis, cultural analytics, and hybrid frameworks such as Alexander Galloway’s “interface effect” and Johanna Drucker’s “performative materiality.” Students from all disciplines welcome. No technical experience or background required. 

AAP 507: Special Topics: Curating Context: Contemporary Approaches to Exhibition Making

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Paeslack (Fall 2016)

Museums and art institutions today face many challenges. One such challenge is closely linked to their situatedness within networked societies, which offer possibilities of information, communication, mobility and flexibility. Such challenges are shaped by increasing economic pressures a well as shifting audience expectations and responses. This current reality runs counter to the one that defined such institutions for the last century: well-established (Western) traditions and values, cultural canons, and historic profundity. Such institutional challenges go hand in hand with the need for a new understanding of curatorial practice and exhibition conceptualization.

This course explores these challenges and their historical and political contexts by looking at ground breaking exhibition projects and new curatorial approaches in a wide range of museum types around the globe. Course readings cover historical / theory-based aspects of these developments, exhibition concepts and curatorial approaches, as well as suggestions for their concrete implementation into curatorial and exhibition practice.

In-class discussions, expert-presentations, and the conceptualization of a public art project on Buffalo’s East Side are the cornerstones of this course, which encourages students to critically assess and discuss both context and content of contemporary exhibition culture.

AAP 510: Issues in Music Management

Instructor: Philip Rehard

This seminar course will focus upon issues in the area of music management with which students should be familiar. Particular emphasis is placed upon the ability to design a fiscally responsible program which incorporates the various elements of program design such as contract, marketing, artistic management, venue management and audience development.

Students will attain a working knowledge of the fundamentals of music management and education through lecture/seminars, case studies, group and individual research.  The elective management topic is designed for students who are interested in elements specific to the area of Music Management.

AAP 518: Issues In Museum Management

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Paeslack

This course investigates the nature and functions of museums. It is based on a broad understanding of the museum as a not-for-profit, participatory and inclusive phenomenon, which commonly evolves around, stewards and engages a collection of artifacts. It critically assesses the museum as culturally and socially determined institution that established itself firmly in Western societies during the 19th century and discusses the different functions and mechanisms of museums today. Museum professionals generate culture and memory in their dealings with different publics, and are crucial in shaping and re-shaping popular, artistic, and scholarly perceptions of the present and the past.

The goal of this course is to familiarize students with some fundamental strategies, mechanisms and approaches in museums and to give them a sense of the forces that produce and impact them. Students acquire an understanding of the workings and dynamics of museum management and learn to assess and apply their knowledge effectively and creatively within individual cultural, political, legal, and socio-economic contexts.

The sessions of this course include introductions to the topic by the professor; guest speakers who are specialists for a particular topic; group-work; student presentations; and in-class discussions.

AAP 519: Contextualizing the Museum: Site, Memory, Publics

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Paeslack

Museums have long ceased to understand themselves and to be perceived as solitary temples for the muses. Today, most museums and Kunsthalles find themselves constantly negotiating their institutional identity as educator, community platform, and site of entertainment and consumption. Discussing their place in society today therefore requires addressing their interconnections with societal, cultural, and economical questions.

This course addresses the museum as a phenomenon that is embedded into three complexes of inquiry: site, memory, and the public. By investigating different exemplary cases of spatial (site), historical (memory) and social (public) nature, this course raises broader issues that impact museums today. Weekly topics examine the urban and spatial interrelation between museums and the city (Guggenheim Bilbao, the Parthenon Museum in Athens, Beaubourg, Paris, Humboldtforum and the Jewish Museum, Berlin), questions of commemoration, archiving, and cultural identity (the archive in Aby Warburg’s, Gerhard Richter’s, Fred Wilson’s work; exhibitions addressing urban redefinitions; and art retribution), and instances of socio-cultural tension due to censorship and the increasing popularization and commercialization of museums (Culture Wars; the Blockbuster exhibition).  

Course sessions consist of the instructor’s introductions to the topic; students’ case-study research; group-work and discussion; student presentations; and occasional film screenings. As future arts managers students are expected to always carefully prepare discussions and to make conscious efforts to engage and participate in topic discussions.

AAP 517: International Issues in Arts Management

Instructor: As assigned

This seminar course will focus upon current issues in the arena of international arts management and will take the form of a study abroad summer school program. It will draw from issues such as international models of art funding, public policy making as well as institutional designs in various arts disciplines (performing arts, visual arts, music etc.). The aim of the course is to enhance students’ experience in the international sector of arts management.

It is important for arts management students to be knowledgeable about major international trends in the field. In order for tomorrow’s arts managers to be effective in their work, they should grasp significant aspects of international arts management. Models and approaches differ outside United States, and managers are increasingly called upon to be cognizant of these approaches and to work with artists, venues and management companies versed in very different systems of subventions, legislations, policies and practices. Students of arts management should be able to use their conventional skills and knowledge that they have developed in formal courses and be able to apply them to current topics using a range of analytical and methodological tools. This course intends to provide an active experience and relevant theory critically needed in order to become an effective arts manager.

Previous summer schools have taken place in Vienna, Singapore, Venice, Stockholm, and Gattieres (France).  

Final Project/Thesis (3 credits)

AAP 512/513: Final Project or Thesis Guidance

Final Project Guidance

Advisor: As assigned

A Final project consists of a paper on an arts management problem/issue that may be of a practical or theoretical nature and/or an analysis of a case study connected with a relevant arts management issue. In either case the student introduces, analyzes, and contextualizes the practical/theoretical problem or analysis of a case (study) that demonstrates the student's familiarity with the relevant literature of the field. Final project is a form of an essay that relies on existing methodologies and theoretical concepts and is not considered to be an original contribution to the field, but it manifests the student’s analytical skills.

Each student is assigned an individual advisor by the faculty after submitting preliminary research on their topic.

Final Thesis Guidance

Advisor: As assigned

A final thesis is an extended research essay which explores through different methodological forms of analysis a significant question in the field of arts management. Students will develop a research oriented project and will develop a hypothesis as well as methodology, and analytical and theoretical underpinnings to the problem they are studying in a way that it will bring an original contribution to the field.

Each student is assigned an individual advisor by the faculty after submitting preliminary research on their topic.


The Program offers Fieldwork in Arts Management, but we encourage students to find additional internships and practical experiences outside of the Program. Consult with the Program to find an internship placement that is right for you.

For international students, US law stipulates that to engage in internships you must be on CPT or OPT. UB's International Student and Scholar Services has more information on the process. A requirement for CPT is being registered in coursework.  For you, we offer additional internship credits through AAP 598: Practicum Support.