Arts Management is about the business side of art; the behind-the-scenes work required to run nonprofit organizations, accelerate an independent artist career, and stay tuned in to the ever-changing trends in a highly diverse sector. Arts Managers work for performing arts centers, museums, festivals, galleries, theatres, design and architecture firms, municipal offices, chambers of commerce, and so much more. They manage artists, they teach, and they encourage the world to see the value of the arts in constantly evolving ways. 


UMass Amherst’s Arts Management Program is designed for working individuals who want to build their nonprofit management skills to advance or pivot their careers. We are a national leader in continuing professional education for aspiring and established arts professionals, with a broad range of courses to support your particular stage of professional development. The multi modal online coursework hones arts-based management techniques, innovative approaches to sector challenges, and socially current best practices for the workplace.

Our expert instructors lead interactive discussions and offer multimedia content that explores the current national and international trends in the arts field. Our online courses provide the unique opportunity to learn alongside seasoned and rising professionals embedded in national and international arts institutions, with space cultivated for robust conversation and shared work.

Though conducted online, our programs are anything but isolating. You are part of the greater community of arts professionals, building relationships with one another in the virtual classroom and accessing alumni and AES partners both during and after your time in the program. Instructors stimulate discussions, provide feedback on assignments, and hold space for creative problem solving. 

Course topics include marketing, programming, cultural equity, arts policy and advocacy, fundraising, financial management, strategic planning, program evaluation, and board development. Students can take courses a la carte, or elect to complete one of three Certificate Programs.

The Core and Professional Certificates are designed for emerging artists and arts managers, offering a mix of fundamentals and electives. Four and eight courses, respectively, these two Certificate options allow you to choose the depth and time you are able to devote to your program.

The Leadership Certificate is intended for established artists and managers, with two compulsory courses in Cultural Equity and Cultural Policy & Advocacy, and two electives – all from our selection of advanced courses. This is a competitive program, requiring a letter of interest to be submitted and approved prior to enrollment. Learn more here.

Course work is shaped around case studies that have you working with arts organizations in real-time to craft action plans they can implement. The work is based on the course, i.e. Marketing, Programming, Fundraising, etc. and gives you the opportunity to build your skill set and portfolio simultaneously. While the plan ultimately belongs to the case study organization, the knowledge and results can be leveraged to move you ahead in your current position or used in interviews for the position that you aspire to. There is nothing like real field experience and you will get that in our courses. 

Our Arts Management Certificates are 100% online and have NO residency or travel requirement, saving you travel, time, and money, and making it possible for you to take our classes anywhere that you have internet access.

Program Highlights:

  • Courses designed to be relevant, innovative, and easily accessible to working professionals and busy students.
  • Nationally-recognized faculty with diverse arts backgrounds, able to speak to the history and future of the sector.
  • An affordable, accessible program that may be completed in as little as six months.
  • Small class size gives the opportunity to work closely with faculty and peers.
  • Creation of actionable plans for the case study organization (either your workplace or a local arts organization) detailing your suggested next steps in marketing, fundraising, programming, and more.
  • Access to UMass Amherst’s world-class online library AND the National Arts Policy Archive and Library which hosts 50+ years of documents from the NEA, AES, NASAA, and TAAC.
  • A lifelong connection with the Arts Extension Service (AES), a national arts service organization founded in 1973, and our vast partner network.
  • Courses can be taken for credit or as noncredit, depending on your needs. Courses taken for credit can be used to earn CEU’s, complete a future degree, etc. Courses taken for noncredit are a lower cost, but do not culminate in a grade; they are pass/fail.
  • Use of just one affordable textbook for the majority of classes – the Fundamentals of Arts Management, 6th edition.
  • Option to waive the Intro to Arts Management course, based on experience.
  • A Certificate of completion to support your next step in professional advancement. (No additional fee required to receive your Certificate upon program completion).

Learn more about this program and your Certificate options:

Sample a Course

Click here for more information on the Arts Extension Service.


Registration is administered through UMass Amherst University Without Walls. Please see Fee Schedule below.

Course taken as noncredit Amount
Fee per course $675
Registration Fee per semester $60
Returned Check Fee per semester** $30

Click here to browse Arts Extension Service course listings.

Click here to browse our course listings.

*Applicable when you register after deadline; non-refundable unless course has been cancelled

**Applicable when checks returned unpaid


The University of Massachusetts is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).


Earn a Core Certificate in Arts Management or Leadership Certificate in Arts Management by successfully completing four online courses. (Click here for individual requirements for each certificate.) Success is defined as completing all assignments well and participating meaningfully in class discussions. Complete eight classes for a Professional Certificate in Arts Management. All courses require students to identify a nonprofit organization as a case study to which they will apply course principals and assignments. Most students choose the organization for which they work or volunteer so the course can immediately pay off with improved management and programs.

For more information, if you have additional questions, or to apply to the competitive Leadership Certificate in Arts Management program, please contact AES at aes@acad.umass.edu or 413-545-2360, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Arts Extension Service, 221 Hampshire House, 131 County Circle, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA  01003.

Financial Aid: 

*Financial Aid is only available to students taking courses for credit.

Availability of financial aid varies depending on matriculation and course status. Please check with your program manager or advisor to determine your eligibility. Generally, if you are matriculated in a degree program and are enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits each semester, you may qualify for financial aid. Please review our Financial Aid Checklist below.

  1. Fill out the FAFSA form at studentaid.gov.
  2. It is important to list the University of Massachusetts Amherst school code number 002221.


  • Please renew your FAFSA form every year.
  • When you register for classes, please contact the Continuing Education Business Office (413-545-0337) to let them know you that you have applied/are applying for financial aid. Also, it is in your best interest to register for your classes either by phone or fax (413-545-3653 ph; 413-545-0513 fax). If you do not intend to apply for financial aid, you can register online.
  • "As an alumnus of the program, I have a great appreciation for the training [they] provided! I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without my degree from the Arts Extension Service and UMass Amherst. Sincerely, thank you."
    - Erick R. Lopez | Bachelor's Degree in Arts Administration | House Manager | The Broad Stage
  • “Strategic Planning for the Arts and Fundraising for the Arts changed how I think, how I operate. I am much more careful and deliberate about my goals and outcomes. It's very satisfying to balance my creative side with a purposeful, business-like outlook for how to achieve and measure results. I regularly tell people who ask me about arts administration careers to look at this program first.”
    - Kathleen McDonald | Classes: Strategic Planning, Fundraising | Director of Development | Stoneham Theatre | www.stonehamtheatre.org
  • "The Arts Extension Service courses, combined with practical experience, have provided a solid foundation for my career in Arts Administration. I was able to learn more about fundraising and finance, two areas where I had the least experience. And the creative economy course was absolutely amazing (and challenging!). I loved the flexibility and I was pleasantly surprised how well I got to know my classmates. I enjoyed the interaction with everyone and feedback from the instructors."
    - Tina D'Agostino | Core Certificate | Former President | Springfield Performing Arts Development Corp., City Stage Symphony Hall