Students speak with Michael Wimmer at EDUCULT in Vienna, Austria.


Core Requirements (24 credits)

AAP 501: Why Manage the Arts?

Instructor: Dr. Katja Praznik

This course asks the question “Why Manage the Arts?” by looking at the complex relations between arts and management and by drawing upon arts management theory and practice. It aims to show why the interactions between artists, various types of audiences, governments and businesses necessitated and created different styles of arts management and contributed to complex issues. The course investigates the origins of art, sociological, management and economic theories and their divergent applications to the arts in capitalist societies. It is a participatory course which examines a variety of international models of arts management and which contrasts theoretical issues of arts management by a case study approach in order to search for creative solutions.

The arts manager today requires a good understanding of laterally connected areas of study. It no longer suffices to simply be able to list what needs to be done to ‘manage’ any given entities in the arts. The subject Why Manage the Arts? is intended to provide a case study approach to the investigation of complex managerial problems in the field of arts management. It rests on the premise that in order to work in or create a successful arts organization, students need to have a good working knowledge of variegated cultural, political, economic and legal aspects that affect arts management, and an ability to compare and contrast divergent arts management models. This course aims to these outcomes, creating a well-rounded understanding of the ways in which the arts have been managed in order to find solutions for today and the future.

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

The central aim of the course is to demonstrate how research informs arts manager’s daily practice, and to train students to recognize, apply and utilize appropriate research methods that inform arts management daily practice and are used in solving complex arts management issues. The seminar prepares students for conducting research, and utilization of available data in the field of arts management by discussing various methodologies, e.g. quantitative vs. qualitative, distinct types of research, e.g. basic and applied research, and various disciplinary theories and approaches that are used in arts management research. Class discussion and workshops introduce students to the importance of a good research question, critical evaluation and necessary tools to conduct research (annotated bibliography, text analysis, summarizing, use of citation). Through diverse set of writing and research exercises, workshops, oral presentations, and analysis of actual examples of arts management studies, students explore central steps of research design with an emphasis on the ways in which divergent methods and approaches inform arts management practice. Considering the controversial effects of big data for predictive analytics, user behavior analytics for the extraction of value in the era of social media and platform economy, the course familiarizes students with ethical aspects of research, issues of privacy and surveillance, but it also trains students in basic principles of market research, audience development and digital content management.

AAP 511: Fieldwork in Arts Management

Instructor: Kevin Leary

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.

AAP 551: Arts Business and Finance

Instructor: Barb Gasiewicz

This course prepares students for practice in arts business. Students will investigate accounting principles for arts environments; leverage this knowledge to analyze and assess financial reports intended for internal and external audiences; identify revenue and expenses to build budgets; organize and analyze financial strategies based on short and long term goals; and identify and leverage factors that influence financial forecasting. At the conclusion of the course, students will have built the necessary conceptual skills for making business decisions and plans; and have enhanced their organizational behavior and personal interaction skills as needed for a business environment.

AAP 552: Introduction to Nonprofit Management II

Instructor: TBA

AAP 551-552 – Introduction to Nonprofit Business – is a foundation sequence of two courses intended to prepare students with little business experience for practice in the nonprofit management field.  At the end of the two semesters, students will: understand the general environment of doing business in the nonprofit environment and its influencing factors; have built the necessary conceptual skills for making business decisions and plans; have enhanced their organizational behavior skills and personal interaction skills as needed in a business environment; and have attained basic technical knowledge of the different types of nonprofit business.

In AAP 551, students will investigate marketing principles for the nonprofit environment; including how to leverage market research and competitive analysis to create marketing mixes and branding strategies that create sustainable revenues for an organization.  In addition to marketing, the course will delve into capacity building and leadership.

AAP 585: Legal Issues in Arts Management

Instructors: Tom Hyde & Mateo Tico Taussig-Rubbo

This course introduces students to arts and entertainment-related legal issues and trains them to recognize where legal problems might arise. The course will provide an overview of statutes and laws that govern nonprofit institutions in the U.S. and the unique relationships that develop between boards, donors, and organizations, including effective governance, conflicts of interest, and charitable giving.  In addition, the course will focus on applicable issues in contract law, restricted gifts, and labor and employment for U.S. arts organizations. 

AAP 560: Managing Arts Spaces

Instructor: Kevin Leary

This course will position students as mediators between art and audience and designers of sustainable arts environments.  In experiential arts management situations, students will apply research methods, critical analysis, and acquire arts management skills. Students will conceive, implement, and assess organizational strategy, financial strategy, venue and event management, logistics, branding, marketing and advertising, audience development, advocacy efforts, fundraising (as appropriate), programming, and other arts management expertise areas as they manage cohesive, mission driven, multi-faceted arts programming for a public.  The result of these combined efforts will be the sustainable operation of an arts space.

Each student will be assigned a specific role and tasks, creating a de facto senior management team of an arts organization.  The students will be mentored by faculty and report to a board comprised of Arts Management Program stakeholders. 

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 (12 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 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).  

AAP 525: Grantwriting

Instructor: Dr. Cristanne Miller

This course will cover all areas of grantwriting - from research for possible sources of funding, to writing (and rewriting) proposals to fit the interests and requirements of a potential funder, to budgets, and conversations with foundation staff and directors and community organizations.  It will cover both writing for individual research projects (with special but not exclusive attention to arts and humanities) and writing for community, program, and institutional grants - large and small.  This course will require that enrolled students identify and prepare materials for at least one kind of grant, with the expectation that the proposal be submitted at the end of the semester or soon thereafter.  Students may work individually or with community or institutional partners in designing the project for which they seek funding, but the proposal work must be their own.

This course will include presentations by or workshops with successful grant-writing faculty and professional research support services staff, with specialties in identifying funding sources, writing, and budget construction.  Appropriate for MA and PhD students.

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 (CPT and OPT). A requirement for CPT is being registered in coursework.  For you, we offer additional internship credits through AAP 598: Practicum Support.