Master of Arts Management (MAM)
Time to degree: two years (48 credits)
Columbia College Chicago's full-time, two-year Master of Arts Management program is specifically designed for arts and entertainment professionals who know their professional success requires them to refine or deepen their knowledge of for-profit and nonprofit management. Students will bolster their financial, legal, and, organizational skills, as well as strategic concepts within an arts and entertainment context. Graduates of the program go on to lead organizations in fields such as live performance, music business, theatre, marketing, visual arts, public engagement, and community service.
In this selective arts administration graduate program, you'll study in a team environment with colleagues from around the world, building relationships that will set the foundation for your professional network. You'll receive individual attention from our renowned faculty of successful arts administrators and working artists. You'll gain real-life experience in project-based classes centering on artistic disciplines including: gallery management; the business of music recording, publishing, and distribution; live events management; fundraising; and artist management.
In the Classroom
- You will immerse yourself in business theory your first year, with courses like accounting, economics, and marketing. All business administration courses will be taught within the context of the creative industries.
- Your core courses in your second semester will focus on financial management, leadership, and law.
- We leave a lot of the decisions up to you the second year of the program. In addition to required courses in new media strategies and strategic planning, you’ll take six electives during your second year. Elective courses cover topics tailored to your interests. Topics include fundraising, sponsorship, cultural policy, negotiation, and project management.
- You can choose to work on a graduate thesis or an independent project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
- If you’re interested in launching your own business or organization, we offer a course dedicated to new business creation in the context of the arts, with a special focus on arts consulting as a potential entrepreneurial pursuit. If you’re specifically interested in launching an entrepreneurial endeavor, we encourage you to look at our Entrepreneurship for Creatives MA.
You’ll take on a leadership role in one of several practicum courses. These courses give you opportunities to launch real-world projects. Our student-run record labels sign artists and promote their work, and our gallery management practicum launches exhibitions and programming in downtown Chicago. We also offer practicum courses that allow you to manage a nightclub, plan and execute events, and manage design and marketing projects for actual clients.
All practicum courses are taught by faculty members who have extensive experience in their fields. For example, the hip-hop label course is run by one of Chicago’s leading label owners, and the curatorial practicum is led by a professional with a years-long background in the New York and Chicago art communities.
Visit the Business and Entrepreneurship blog to read more about the current work of our students, faculty, and recent alumni.
Assistantships and Scholarships
Through assistantships, graduate students have many opportunities to gain experience in administration and leadership. For example, Arts Management graduate students can plan and coordinate the department’s spring trip to the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film, and Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas, conduct research in collaboration with a faculty member for academic publication, or serve as a teaching assistant for our undergraduate courses.
Scholarships are also available to incoming and current students. For a full list, visit our scholarships page.
Chicago: An Arts Hub
At Columbia, Chicago is our campus. We expect you to explore all the city has to offer: iconic museums and concert venues, artist collectives, prominent theatres, a booming tech industry, and more. You’ll have the opportunity to interact with Columbia’s collaborative organizations, such as TEDx and Google for Entrepreneurs as well as many local theaters, music venues, and museums. Our faculty members will help you foster connections in Chicago’s creative industries in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
Internships and Networking
Working closely with a faculty mentor, many students find internship opportunities in their chosen field.
Our students have interned at venues like Lookingglass Theatre and The Metro, media companies like MTV and Pitchfork, record labels like Warner Music Group, galleries and museums like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Hyde Park Art Center, and events companies like Riot Fest and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Columbia faculty members bring their experience into the classroom every day. They not only study how management works, they lead teams and execute projects on the ground. Many are active entrepreneurs, producers, agents, lawyers, board members, and administrators. They know what you need to learn to get ahead and will shape your understanding of what’s next in the creative industries.
Master of Arts Management alum Alissa Kraus uses the skills gained at Columbia on a day to day basis as Director of the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College of Louisiana.
Our Master of Arts Management alumni are on the forefront of rapidly changing creative industries. They work at marketing firms and talent agencies as well as world-class museums, galleries, and concert venues. They produce music festivals and curate theatre productions. They’re shaping not only the future of their fields but the very role of art in society. And they’re always looking for Columbia grads to join their teams.
Alumni Success Stories
Tyler Bradley MAM ‘18, Senior Analyst Corporate Brand Management, Walt Disney Company
Tyler Bradley MAM ‘18 serves as an internal DEI consultant for all creatives lines at Disney, and collaborates on Disney brand management. Her role focuses on inclusive storytelling and training content creators on the importance of inclusive content. The MAM program helped her prepare for her role at Disney in many ways, Bradley says, by giving her basic knowledge of the creative industries, connecting her to organizations that helped grow her skillset, independent studies that helped her start her own production company, and developing mentor/mentee relationships.
Justin Kamps MAM ’09, Music Supervisor, Chop Shop
Justin Kamps MAM ’09 spends a lot of his day watching TV and listening to music. But being a music supervisor is about way more than binge-watching or binge-listening. “For me, it’s the perfect combination of left-brain/right-brain skills,” Kamps says. He gets to use his creativity to find the perfect song to make a scene, but also has to negotiate licensing of the music. “I’ve been lucky to work with several great artists … for film and TV projects like Lucifer, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, and more,” he says. “My favorite part is getting to tell an independent artist I love that their song is going to be airing on TV in the coming weeks.”
Crispin Torres MAM ‘20, Founder, Better World Collaborative
“If there's something that excites you, go find it, or set up appointments and talk to people. Use office hours and just drop in and have conversations with folks, because it's just like that–no one is going to wait for you.” Crispin Torres, MAM ‘20, says of his time at Columbia. “To me–the individual connections–that was worth its weight in gold in my program.” Torres’ consultancy work through Better World Collaborative has led him to work with clients like Estee Lauder and Tom Ford.
Crissy Nordin, MAM ‘20, Director of Educaiton and Outreach, STAGES St Louis
Of her role at STAGES, Crissy Nordin, MAM ‘20, says “There is great opportunity to grow programming, enhance the quality of the academy’s productions, and create new partnerships with the many phenomenal non-profits, arts organizations, and academic institutions that exist in the St. Louis-area so that together, we can bring musical theater into underutilized spaces in neighborhoods that are ready and waiting for improved access to the arts.” Nordin notes that the hands-on “learning by doing” approach was the most useful in building the next steps of her career.