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  • Online MS in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership

    collage featuring a woman taking photo of a mural, a woman on stage dancing, and two women looking at specimens in jars on shelves

    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 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.

    Non-Matriculatd Option

    Interested in applying as a non-matriculated student? Select "Non-Matriculated – College of Media Arts & Design (Online)" as your program of interest on the online application. Official transcripts are required. Non-matriculated students are not eligible for financial aid.

    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.

    Arts Administration Concentration

    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
    Arts Administration Courses
    AADM 505
    Overview of the Arts 3.0
    AADM 520
    Creative Enterprise and Innovation 3.0
    AADM 785
    Research Design in the Arts 3.0
    AADM 798
    Thesis Development 6.0
    Electives 9.0
    Sample Elective Offerings:  
    AADM 752
    Performance Arts Management  
    AADM 753
    Visual Arts Organization Management  
    AADM 755
    Community Cultural Planning  
    Total Credits 45.0

    Museum Leadership Concentration

    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
    Museum Leadership Courses
    MUSL 500
    Museum History and Philosophy 3.0
    MUSL 530
    Museum Management 3.0
    MUSL 650
    Governance in Museums and Non-Profit Organizations 3.0
    MUSL 750
    Museum Leadership Practicum I 3.0
    Electives 9.0
    Sample Elective Offerings:  
    MUSL 630
    Exhibitions and Programming  
    MUSL 710
    Bricks and Mortar  
    MUSL 720
    Overview of Cultural Practices  
    Total Credits 45.0

    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)
    • Preparation must include at least one undergraduate level course in financial accounting, two courses in any field related to arts and culture or museum practice, and/or two years’ professional or board level experience with an arts and cultural enterprise. If you haven't taken the required accounting course, you must complete it during the first two terms of the program.

    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 500 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 2022-2023 is $1121 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

    2022-2023 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2022

    September 19, 2022

    December 3, 2022

    December 5, 2022

    December 10, 2022

    Winter 2023

    January 9, 2023

    March 18, 2023

    March 20, 2023

    March 25, 2023

    Spring 2023

    April 3, 2023

    June 10, 2023

    June 12, 2023

    June 17, 2023

    Summer 2023

    June 26, 2023

    September 2, 2023

    September 4, 2023

    September 9, 2023


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