Arts Management, BA

Arts Management, BA

This isn’t your average business degree. You’ll take management courses that are tailored to the arts industries on topics like talent management, entertainment law and digital marketing. But learning extends well beyond the classroom. You’ll visit Chicago’s cultural institutions and explore many of the arts and entertainment venues the city has to offer. And you’ll have opportunities to join teams at music festivals, galleries and digital startups throughout the city.

Whether you’re an artist or a leader who wants to guide the work of others, our program will hone your vision and put your skills to work. You’ll produce real events, partner with real companies and pitch for real investments. And you’ll graduate with real experience that will empower you to make waves in your chosen field from day one.

What to Expect Your First Year

Your first year provides a strong foundation in the latest business theory, practices and technology. While taking your core courses on topics such as marketing, management and economics, you’ll get the chance to put your skills to work as you plan and execute projects on campus.

You’ll choose from a variety of “Business of…” courses, which provide an overview of vocabulary, news and trends of industries such as music, sports, film, and live and performing arts. Your professors will plan guest speakers and tours of cultural institutions so you can learn about current trends, challenges and opportunities in various fields.

You’ll also join a cohort of students to form a team that will work together on a variety of projects both in and out of the classroom. We encourage you to connect with the Creative Industry Collective, our undergraduate student organization that leads events in departments across campus.

What to Expect Your Last Year

The arts management industry is all about teamwork, and in your last year you’ll put your collaborative skills to work. Through a practicum course you’ll be part of a student team that manages and leads a professional project in music, live performances, visual arts, design or media. You’ll make a formal pitch for funding, craft a marketing strategy, oversee logistics and track revenue as a real, active business venture, depending on the practicum.

You’ll also likely intern at an organization or company in Chicago. You’ll graduate with multidisciplinary experience and a broad understanding of how the art and entertainment world works. As you begin to search for your first job, our faculty will help you capitalize on your strengths and hone in on the career track where you can make a difference.

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?

At Columbia, Chicago is our campus. We expect you to explore and engage with all the city has to offer: iconic museums and concert venues, artist collectives, theatres, a booming tech industry and so much more. As a Columbia student, you’ll study, interact and work with talented, energetic student writers, artists, dancers, actors, filmmakers and designers. There’s never a shortage of opportunity to help shape what’s next at Columbia and beyond.

What are my internship options?

We encourage juniors and seniors to take advantage of Chicago’s arts, entertainment and cultural institutions through an internship. Gaining a behind-the-scenes perspective will help you know what to expect as you seek a job post-graduation. The hands-on experience you gain through internships will give you a decided edge as you enter the marketplace.

Our students have interned at theaters and music venues like Lookingglass Theatre and Lincoln Hall; media companies like MTV and Pitchfork; record labels like Warner Music Group and Saddle Creek Records; sports organizations like the Chicago Cubs, Bulls and Bears; galleries and museums like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Hyde Park Art Center; and events companies like Riot Fest and React Presents.


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.