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  • Online Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership

    alt="Caitlin Flaherty MS in Arts Administration Drexel Online Graduate"

    As the art and museum world continues to grow in scope and vibrancy, there’s a need for professionals who understand the modern landscape and can ensure that their organization thrives. Drexel University’s online MS in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership combines business knowledge and an entrepreneurial spirit with art and museum industry insight to make you career-ready and give you an edge in a competitive job market. The program is ideal for those looking to stand out in the job market, start their own cultural enterprise or advance to the next stage of their career. 

    What is a Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership?

    A Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership equips you with the management practices, theory and hands-on experience that are essential for leadership positions in the arts or museum sectors. At Drexel, our goal is to help you emerge from the program workforce-ready. You can expect to take courses that are immediately applicable to your work, in areas such as:

    • Management techniques
    • Technology tools
    • Legal and ethical issues
    • Financial accounting
    • Marketing and engagement

    In addition, Drexel’s Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership program provides two concentration options to allow you to take a deeper dive into your area of interest. Your plan of study will be customized around your concentration.

    Arts Administration Concentration:

    Drexel’s Arts Administration program is one of the oldest in the nation. Designed for early and mid-career leaders in arts and culture, this concentration prepares you for work in non-profit and commercial enterprises. Many of our alumni also work in foundations and in government agencies. Courses are taught by professors who have a rich background and years of experience in the arts community. The concentration consists of 12 required courses and three electives, including a sequence that culminates in a research-based original thesis.

    Learn more about the Arts Administration concentration: 


    Museum Leadership Concentration:

    With a nod to the changing face of museums worldwide, Drexel takes a broad view of the field to prepare you for a number of opportunities. This concentration is ideal for those looking to work in museums such as art, science, history and cultural; living collections (zoos, arboreta, and aquariums); and historical sites. The curriculum includes 12 required courses and three electives, including a practicum where students have the opportunity to gain practical, applied experience working at a museum or cultural institution.

    View a recording of our recent MS in Arts Administration and Museum Leadership Online Open House.


    The program admits students in the Fall and Spring terms. Students starting in the fall attend an on-campus residency which lets you meet your classmates, interact with the program director, and experience Philadelphia’s art and museum scene through lectures and group outings. An optional one-day on-campus orientation is available for students starting in the spring. The remaining coursework is all completed online.

    The Spring 2020 in-person orientation will take place on Friday, March 27 from 12 to 5 p.m. ET. It will be followed by a social gathering of students and alumni.


    • The program is designed for working professionals, including those already in the industry as well as those seeking to change careers. 
    • Faculty at the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design are industry professionals who have served in leadership roles for organizations such as the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance and the Barnes Foundation.
    • There are numerous opportunities to build contacts and you will gain access to an expansive network of alumni located throughout the country.

    Archived Webinars

    View recordings of webinars on topics related to arts administration and museum leadership:

    What Can You Do with a Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership?

    Careers in the arts administration and museum leadership fields require a specific set of skills that are unique to these industries. Drexel’s program is designed to explore all aspects of both, preparing you for roles in marketing, collections and general management, development, community outreach, board relations, education and more. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the program will also provide you with the skills to start and run your own enterprise.

    Recent graduates of Drexel’s Arts Administration and Museum Leadership programs have gone on to work in roles such as:

    • President and CEO of the American Theatre Wing
    • Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Vero Beach
    • Senior Director of Cultural Affairs at Montgomery County Community College
    • Program Director at the NJ State Council of the Arts
    • Development Coordinator for Donor Relations at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    • Executive Assistant at Grounds for Sculpture

    Program Alliances

    The Drexel Arts Administration & Museum Leadership Graduate Program is a proud member of various organizations, including the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Arts Administration Educators, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Americans for the Arts. The program regularly participates in national research projects, including the National and Local Profiles of Cultural Support project administered by Americans for the Arts and funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

    In addition, Drexel University's Museum Leadership concentration has close ties with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery and the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection.

    Members of Americans for the ArtsNational Guild for Community Arts Education, and other partner organizations receive a 20% tuition savings on the online MS in Arts Administration and Museum Leadership program.

    Drexel's 10,000 Hours Podcast: The Art of the Podcast

    Drexel professor Derek Gillman’s resume is basically a tour through some of the world’s greatest museums. Here, he tells us about his favorite art in Philly, and how museums are changing to keep up with the times.

    Related Program

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    Course sequencing varies by start term.

    Core Courses  
    AAML 525 Legal and Ethical Issues in Arts and Culture 3.0
    AAML 550 Management Techniques in Arts and Cultural Organizations 3.0
    AAML 560 Marketing & Engagement in Arts and Cultural Orgs. 3.0
    AAML 575 Revenue Development in Arts and Cultural Orgs. 3.0
    AAML 610 Financial Accounting in Arts and Cultural Orgs. 3.0
    AAML 660 Technology Tools for Arts and Cultural Managers 3.0
    AAML 680 Leadership, Strategy, & Planning in Arts and Cult. 3.0
    Concentration (Select One) 15.0
    Arts Administration  
    AADM 505
    Overview of the Arts  
    AADM 520
    Creative Enterprise and Innovation  
    AADM 785
    Research Design in the Arts  
    AADM 798
    Thesis Development *  
    Museum Leadership  
    MUSL 500
    Museum History and Philosophy  
    MUSL 530
    Museum Management  
    MUSL 650
    Governance for Museums and Non-Profit Organizations  
    MUSL 750
    Museum Leadership Practicum I  
    MUSL 755
    Museum Leadership Practicum II  
    Electives (Choose 3) 9.0
    AADM 660
    International Cultural Policy  
    AADM T680
    Special Topics in Arts Administration  
    AADM 720
    Leadership in the Arts  
    AADM 731
    Human Resources Management in the Arts  
    AADM 741
    Arts Entrepreneurship  
    AADM 742
    Advanced Fund Development  
    AADM 745
    Arts in Education  
    AADM 752
    Performing Arts Management  
    AADM 753
    Visual Arts Organization Management  
    AADM 755
    Community Cultural Planning  
    AADM 757
    Political Activism in the Arts  
    AADM 759
    Cultural Organizations in Transition  
    AADM 780
    Applied Research Methods  
    MUSL 630
    Exhibitions and Programming  
    MUSL 640
    The Museum in the Community  
    MUSL 710
    Bricks and Mortar  
    MUSL 720
    Overview of Curatorial Practices  
    Total Credits 45.0

    *AADM 798 is taken two times for a total of 6.0 credits

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (graduate degree GPA's will be considered along with the undergraduate GPA)
    • For the Arts Administration concentration, previous coursework should include at least one course in financial accounting, two courses in the history or literature of an art, and/or two courses in the practical or creative aspects of an art. If you haven't taken these courses, you must complete them during the first two terms in the program.
    • For the Museum Leadership concentration, previous coursework should include two courses in any field related to museum practice, one undergraduate course in financial accounting and two years of experience working or volunteering with a museum.

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two professional letters of recommendation
    • Essay (minimum 800 words) that will give the admissions committee a better understanding of:
      • What led you to the field of arts administration or to the museum sector? 
      • How the program will meet your current and future professional development goals
    • Resume demonstrating a strong affinity for the arts, cultural and creative sector through work, volunteer experiences, education, or special training
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    You may transfer up to 15 credits from previous graduate studies into the program (credits must be approved by the program director and all transfer credits must be at the graduate level).


    The tuition rate for the academic year 2019-2020 is $1056 per credit.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations.
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted. Tuition savings do not apply to hybrid or on-campus courses (excluding residency.)
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.

    Program Director

    Laura-Edythe Coleman

    Laura-Edythe Coleman
    Program Director, MS in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership

    Laura-Edythe Coleman is an American museum researcher and philosopher who studies to further our understanding of cultural institutions in society. She earned her Ph.D. in Information Science with a focus on Museum Informatics from Florida State University. Dr. Coleman is professor and director of the Arts Administration and Museum Leadership Online Graduate Program, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, Department of Arts & Entertainment Enterprise, Drexel University. She previously held posts as lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Museum Studies, and Florida State University, Library & Information Science. Her areas of research and teaching include cultural heritage informatics, museum studies, social justice and inclusion, knowledge management, information architecture, information needs and seeking, research methods, and collections management. Dr. Coleman is a recent addition to the Fulbright Specialist Program for Library and Information Science, and she is the new Associate Editor for Curator: The Museum Journal. She is the author of the book, Understanding and Implementing Inclusion in Museums.

    Academic Calendar

    2019-2020 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2019

    September 23, 2019

    December 7, 2019

    December 9, 2019

    December 14, 2019

    Winter 2020

    January 6, 2020

    March 16, 2020

    March 17, 2020

    March 21, 2020

    Spring 2020

    March 30, 2020

    June 8, 2020

    June 9, 2020

    June 13, 2020

    Summer 2020

    June 22, 2020

    August 30, 2020

    September 2, 2020

    September 5, 2020

    Apply today for the Online Master’s in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership

    Apply now to begin your application for obtaining a Drexel degree online!


    Previously enrolled at Drexel? Learn more about readmission.

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