Master of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership

At a Glance

Level | Graduate/Master's
Credits | Minimum of 32
Degree Requirements | Courses and Electives
Schedule | Evenings/Saturdays/Online/Daytime
Admission | October 1 (for spring), March 1 (for fall and summer)

Noteworthy | Listen to ACL's co-sponsored panel of four powerhouse artistic directors about the future of theater in Minnesota on Minnesota Public Radio.

The Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program is designed for professionals who have been working in the arts and culture industry for three or more years, and can show proven leadership capacity through work-related and/or volunteer experiences. Required curriculum, blended with flexible course work, allows you to build a program around your current strengths, experiences, and career direction. Courses in leadership and nonprofit management, along with seminars and directed studies in arts and cultural studies, provide working adults a degree with a clear, career-related focus.

The ACL program is designed to help students:

  • Gain insight and develop approaches to creating and stewarding the relationships and interdependencies necessary for sustaining a vibrant arts community
  • Refine strategic planning and communications skills in order to better lead organizations in complex environments
  • Advocate for the arts and culture sector by promoting better understanding and integrating the economic, political, ethical, technological, and diverse social environments in which it functions
  • Understand and convey the international context for the arts and the impact of the global economy
  • Appreciate and nurture the creative process, recognizing how art and the artist function in society

An Applied Approach

The ACL program uses a foundation of 17 credits (out of 32 that are required for the degree), with latitude built in to pursue elective course work in support areas such as nonprofit management, leadership, education, public affairs/policy, urban planning, strategic planning, etc. Using an applied learning approach, you'll receive a high-quality education that draws on the expertise of University faculty and community-based faculty.

Learning Goals

By the end of the program, students will be knowledgeable in:

  • critical and strategic thinking, and effective communication
  • the intersection, navigation, and impact of cultural and creative practices within local and global dynamics
  • policy formation, implementation, and application relevant to culture, creativity, and the arts
  • leadership practices in a variety of contexts
  • how to implement expertise, improve relationships, and optimize resources

Designed for Flexibility

Take course work as your schedule permits. ACL seminars and workshops are offered days, evenings, and Saturdays. You can study part time or full time. A part-time student can complete the degree in about three-and-one-half years by taking one three-credit offering per semester, including summer. 

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