Programs - Performing Arts Administration

Performing Arts Administration Master's

Photo:Jiyang Chen
NYU Students at Young Patrons Event at NYC Opera


The master of arts in Performing Arts Administration is designed to prepare students to become astute leaders in national and international arts organizations. Our students receive interdisciplinary preparation in business, management and the arts through classes, practice, mentorship and internships.

Our program in performing arts administration, established in 1971 and one of the oldest and most prominent in the world, has graduated arts administrators from over 26 countries. Alumni have held positions at all levels of responsibility in diverse arts organizations, including, president of the Philadelphia Orchestra, marketing and planning director of the Metropolitan Opera Association, finance director of WNET/13, associate development director of Merce Cunningham Dance, and chief arts officer of the Hewlett Packard Foundation. Many others serve as faculty and administrators in higher education in Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Our students come with a solid background in at least one of the performing arts forms: dance, theatre, music, opera, or film. Their performing arts backgrounds act as foundations for our program’s intensive and systematic studies in performing arts management, which is combined with course work in related disciplines such as economics, statistics, marketing, accounting, finance, planning, law, cultural policy, and philanthropic development.

The program offers unparalleled training within a university that is acclaimed for its preparation of leaders in business, management, and the arts. Our faculty and students frequently collaborate with Steinhardt’s programs in music business and visual arts administration, the Stern School of Business, and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Equipped with outstanding practica as well as international and interdisciplinary experiences during their studies, our graduates enjoy high demand in the field. They are frequently recruited by our own alumni who hold positions of responsibility and are eager to fill staff openings with our graduates. 

Degree Requirements

Completion of the now 48-point program on a full-time basis takes two academic years. Students are required to take 18 credits in management studies either at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business or the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. At the same time, students must fulfill their major requirements by taking seminars in the Environment of Arts Administration, Principles and Practices of Arts Administration, Development for the Performing Arts, Marketing the Performing Arts, Planning and Finance for the Performing Arts, and Governance, as well as six credits of internship. In addition, electives are required in Management, Arts Administration, and/or Art with advice of the program director. Prerequisites to study include a course in microeconomics and statistics or quantitative methods prior to coming into the program. Alternatively, the economics and statistics requirements may be fulfilled while in the program. Up to nine credits may be satisfied by taking courses in the Arts Administration Study Abroad Program.

Major Paper Requirement

A major paper, project, or case study is required in the Seminar on Cultural Policy: Issues in Arts Administration.


Students are required to take six credits of internship. These may be fulfilled in the form of two 20-hours-per-week internships for three credits each or one 35-40-hours-per-week internship for a semester’s credit of six points. See more information about interships. 

In addition, the program offers a study abroad program in the late spring/early summer, which provides study in comparative issues and practice in arts administration in the United States of America and Europe.

Student Learning Objectives
  • Students will demonstrate knowledge of and apply fundamental tenets of business and management (i.e., marketing, law, audience development, fundraising, board development and board relations, economics, and statistics) to the administration of performing arts organizations.
  • Students will identify and demonstrate leadership skills applicable to performing arts administration.
  • Students will apply an interdisciplinary perspective and integrate the following disciplines: economics, statistics, marketing, accounting, finance, planning, law, cultural policy, and philanthropic development in their course work and internship.
  • Students will identify and evaluate important issues such as cultural policy, public funding, sponsorship, and marketing in varied international locations. 
Examples of Positions Held by Some Graduates of the Program

The McCarter Theater

Director of Development

Lincoln Center Theatre

Associate Director of Development

Lincoln Center

Associate Fiscal Director

Metropolitan Opera Association

Director of Marketing

Orange County Arts Center

Director of Marketing

Philadelphia Orchestra


Cunningham Dance Foundation

Chief Financial Officer


Business Manager

Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation

Program Officer

SoHo Rep

Executive Director

Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Director of Development

U.C.L.A. Department of Music


Drexel University

Director of Arts Administration Program