Columbia College Chicago

Live and Performing Arts Management, BA

Don’t just get backstage—work there. Are you a natural-born leader with a knack for logistics and planning? Do you like the challenge of thinking on your feet? If you live for the next festival, concert or performance and want to learn what it takes to run successful events, this program is for you.

You’ll take business courses in writing, finance, leadership and accounting tailored to the creative industries. You’ll learn entrepreneurial and strategic leadership skills by working on real events with talented peers from across campus. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a solid grasp of this growing, exciting industry and will be ready to pursue a successful career in live event planning and production.

What to Expect Your First Year

In your first year, you’ll gain foundational knowledge that will be vital to your success in the events industry. You’ll take core business courses in topics such as marketing, management and economics. But these aren’t your average business courses. We tailor them to the arts and media, so each example and scenario will make sense for the unique landscape of the creative industries.

You’ll also take a jam-packed survey course called Business of Live and Performing Arts. This course will give you the lay of the land: current trends, opportunities, threats and themes emerging in the field. You’ll explore how different industries are structured and will meet with guest professionals and Columbia alumni to get a sense of what the work looks like day to day.

What to Expect Your Last Year

By your last year at Columbia, you’ll be honing your skill set and already have built an impressive resume. You’ll put your knowledge to work in courses on topics like booking, touring and talent management.

During your practicum courses, you’ll have the chance to work with a real nightclub; or run a day-long, outdoor festival; or produce and present musical theatre events, depending on the course. You’ll have the opportunity to take on different roles, such as general management, talent buying, logistics, marketing and production. You’ll also have the opportunity to run large portions of Manifest, Columbia’s annual urban arts festival, where we showcase the work of our graduating students.

You may also have had several internships and job opportunities at the city’s top venues, performance spaces, booking agencies, festival production companies and professional sports organizations.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Our campus is fueled by artists, performers and creatives, and you’ll have countless opportunities to help plan and execute events showcasing their work. Whether you’re working backstage at a fellow student’s concert, organizing a student exhibit, or planning and executing Manifest, our annual urban arts festival and graduation event, you’ll gain plenty of experience outside the classroom.

At Columbia, Chicago is our campus. The city buzzes with events every night. From huge annual music festivals and neighborhood street fairs to myriad nightclubs, conferences and art expos, you’ll have many opportunities to attend—or intern at—some of the world’s coolest events.

What are my internship options?

We encourage students to gain as much working experience as possible in this fast-moving and enterprising industry. Our students have interned with the city’s major festivals and conferences, professional sports organizations and big booking agencies like Monterey Artists, Paradigm Talent Agency, and Billions Corporation.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

Looking for an event near you?

If you can’t make it to campus, don’t worry! We have a full schedule of events all across the U.S. and around the world.