- Level: Graduate
- Credits: 30
- Cost: Tuition $995.00/credit (resident/nonresident) plus fees
- Schedule: Attend part-time or full-time
The Arts and Cultural Leadership (ACL) program prepares you to lead, whether you aim to be at the helm of an arts or cultural organization, a voice in cultural advocacy, or a creative force in your community.
Courses and program experiences are designed to enhance essential skills in:
- Professional communication
- Creative problem solving
- Fundraising and budgeting
- Relationship building
Fall Semester Application Deadline: March 1
Spring Semester Application Deadline: October 1
Admission to the ACL program is competitive and all applications are reviewed holistically by committee to ensure a good fit for academic success. Notification of admission decisions is made within four to six weeks after the application deadline.
We encourage you to talk with an adviser prior to submitting an application. They can help you decide how the ACL program might fit with your background, professional goals, and schedule.
The following items are required for admission:
- bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution, or its foreign equivalent
- an undergraduate GPA of 3.0*
- at least three years of professional, volunteer, and/or advocacy work in the arts and cultural field
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.
* In exceptional circumstances, promising applicants with lower GPA may be considered for the program. Explanation for GPA, and evidence that academic success at the graduate level is achievable, must be addressed in the application (extenuating circumstances).
You may be allowed to transfer up to 12 credits of previous graduate-level coursework from other institutions or 12 credits of graduate-level non-degree coursework taken at the University of Minnesota, as determined by the Director of Graduate Studies. In both instances, coursework must be listed on a graduate transcript.
- First, access the online application.
- For the question, “What is your proposed major and degree objective?”, choose: Arts and Cultural Leadership MPS under “Twin Cities Campus Programs.”
- All required application materials must be attached electronically to your application.
- Statement 1: Your personal statement (two to three pages, double-spaced) should describe your personal and/or professional goals, why you think the ACL program will help you achieve them, and how you plan to focus your program, including the particular issues and nuances of leadership you would like to explore.
- Statement 2: This statement is optional.
- Extenuating Circumstances: If your undergraduate GPA is below 3.0, please provide an explanation.
Two Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation should be solicited from individuals who can provide a candid assessment of your abilities (including strengths and weaknesses), personality, character, and potential for graduate-level academic success and professional achievement.
Include a writing sample (10 pages) on any topic or genre that demonstrates critical thinking and analysis. If possible, include one sample of academic writing and one sample of written work from relevant work or volunteer experience.
Unofficial transcripts or academic records for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. If possible, make sure the institution has put your name on the transcript/record.
Resume or CV
Submit a current resume or CV.
The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.
A nonrefundable application fee of $75 is due on submission.
If your native language is not English, please submit scores from the TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS English proficiency examination. Read more about required scores.
- Required TOEFL scores are 84 or above, with section scores of at least 21 on writing and at least 19 on reading
- Required IELTS score is 6.5 overall with 6.5 section scores for both writing and reading
- Required MELAB score is 84.
For information on visa status, contact the International Student and Scholar Services office.
Credit courses taken before admission may be applied toward this degree. You can take a graduate-level course before being admitted if:
- The course is graduate-level (4xxx-level or above) and
- You register for credit as a non-admitted graduate student and pay graduate-level tuition.
Follow These Steps to Register:
- Download and submit a Registration Request for Graduate Credit for Non-degree Students Form. Registration for non-admitted students is not available online.
- Send the form to the department offering the courses for authorization. Use this form each term until you are admitted to a program.
- Upon authorization, the department offering the graduate course will forward the form to the registrar or provide you with further instructions.
- Check your email for confirmation and payment instructions.
In the ACL program, you have the flexibility to pursue 12 credits of elective coursework leading to potential self-curated specializations, including Culture, Place, and Community Leadership; Museum Leadership; Organizational Leadership; among others. You have up to five years to complete this master's degree.
|Introduction to Critical and Cultural Inquiry||ACL 8001||2|
|Trends and Impacts in Arts and Cultural Leadership and Management||ACL 5201||3|
|Creative Entrepreneurship and Resource Development||ACL 5221||3|
|Ethics, Law, and Leadership||ACL 5231||3|
|Leadership Skills and Practice||ACL 8201||2|
|Service Leadership and Board Practicum||ACL 8202||2|
|Capstone Research and Proposal||ACL 8002||1|
|Capstone Paper||ACL 8003||2|
For course descriptions, visit the University Catalog.
For course details (date, time, instructor, etc.), visit the Class Search.
Working with an adviser, you'll select courses from academic departments across the University of Minnesota, forming a specialization in an area of interest. Courses must be taken at the graduate level and should relate to the professional tasks required of arts and cultural leaders or enhance your understanding of the arts and culture within a broader cultural context.
Electives may include, but are not limited to, the following:
|Financial Management for Arts Nonprofits||ACL 5241||2|
|Art and Public Policy||ACL 5251||2|
|Special Topics||ACL 5950||1-4|
|Workshop in Art||ARTS 5490||3|
|Design and Globalization||DES 5165||3|
|Grand Challenge: Global Venture Design—What Impact Will You Make?||GCC 5005||3|
|Seminar: Social and Cultural Geography||GEOG 8106||3|
|Strategic Communication Campaigns||JOUR 4263||3|
|Strategic Communication Theory||JOUR 5251||3|
|Introduction to Landscape Architectural History||LA 5413||3|
|Museum History and Philosophy||MST 5011||3|
|Museum Practices||MST 5012||3|
|Topics in Music||MUS 5950||1-4|
|Leading Organizational Change: Theory and Practice||OLPD 5011||3|
|Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership||OLPD 5048||3|
|Special Topics: Organizational Leadership, Policy, & Development||OLPD 5080||1-3|
|Management of Organizations||PA 5011||3|
|Management and Governance of Nonprofit Organizations||PA 5101||3|
|Organization Performance and Change||PA 5102||3|
|Leadership and Change in an Innovation Society||PA 5103||3|
|Strategic Human Resource Management||PA 5104||3|
|Financing Public and Nonprofit Organizations||PA 5111||3|
|Topics in Public and Nonprofit Leadership and Management||PA 5190||1-3|
|Urban Spatial and Social Dynamics||PA 5204||3|
|Land Use Planning||PA 5211||3|
|Strategic Planning and Management||PA 5251||3|
|Designing Planning and Participation Processes||PA 5253||3|
|Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies and Theories||PA 8203||4|
The following specializations are just samples of a course of study you can pursue in the ACL program. You will work closely with your adviser to craft a curriculum that fits your professional goals.
Culture, Place, and Community Leadership
Arts and cultural organizations, as well as artists, increasingly are taking leadership roles impacting the physical, social, and economic well-being of people, neighborhoods, and cities. Known as creative placemaking, arts-led regeneration, and other names, leaders are needed with an understanding of complex systems that help communities thrive.
Students seeking meaningful roles in the institutional, interpretive, educational, or public engagement practices in the museum field can take advantage of the U’s Museum Studies Minor by completing it as a focus area within the ACL degree, and seek ways to serve as a leader among the wide spectrum of artistic, cultural, historical, scientific, and other topical fields addressed by museums.
Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of all sizes require capable, innovative leaders who can navigate increasingly complex environments while appreciating the unique role such organizations play in making a difference in their communities. This focus area puts the student in direct contact with current leaders and prepares them with a range of essential technical skills and policy information.
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