Aug 07, 2022  
2015-2016 General Catalog 

Arts Administration Program

Program Information

Director: Rachel Bishop
(435) 586-7873

Administrative Assistant: Clarisse Lunt
(435) 865-8561


Graduate Faculty
Nikki Allen, Rachel Bishop, William J. Byrnes, Josh Stavros, Reece Summers

Degrees Offered

Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration  
Master of Arts in Arts Administration (Online)  


The Arts Administration Program develops graduates who balance administrative systems with the creative process in an effort to ensure the artistic integrity and economic sustainability of arts organizations.


The Arts Administration Program has five goals that build upon the missions and visions of the program, The College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University.

The Arts Administration Program will:

  • Provide a personalized, interdisciplinary education
  • Develop well-rounded professionals employable in any arts discipline
  • Offer a nonprofit management curriculum and experiential learning opportunities
  • Advocate for the arts

Learning Outcomes

The Arts Administration Program has five learning outcomes that build upon the missions and visions of the program, The College of Performing and Visual Arts, and Southern Utah University.

Students will:

  • Become empowered advocates for the arts
  • Apply scholarly theory directly into professional practice
  • Develop adaptability and critical thinking skills necessary to work in the arts
  • Cultivate both practical and creative approaches to problem solving.
  • Communicate in an effective and persuasive way

Overview of Programs

The graduate faculty of the Arts Administration Program exemplifies excellence in teaching, scholarship, and professional contributions to the field of arts administration. This creates an environment that enhances the educational atmosphere of the program, instilling in the students a desire for lifelong learning.

Master of Fine Arts Degree

The Master of Fine Arts degree program is a two-year academic and experiential learning course of study that begins each fall. The program includes 60 credit hours (see Degree Requirements)  combined with work opportunities through our professional affiliates: artsFUSION, the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, Frehner Museum of Natural History, the Southern Utah Museum of Art, Southern Utah University Advancement, SUU Center for Creativity and Innovation, SUU’s College of Performing and Visual Arts, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

A limited number of students are accepted to the program each year, thereby providing the highest level of personal instruction and mentoring in the classroom. Students also receive several opportunities outside of the classroom to participate in both scholarly and practical activities and projects. This combination of personalized academics and experiential learning gives students the tools necessary to compete in today’s job market.

Students admitted to the Master of Fine Arts degree program are automatically qualified for a professional affiliate assistantship. Work will include an assignment in one of our affiliate organizations for a set number of hours per week. Assistantship compensation varies each year depending on the University budget, and is usually accompanied by a one quarter to half tuition waiver. Student fees are the responsibility of the student, and tuition waver are not available for international students.

Master of Arts Degree (Online)

The Master of Arts degree program will prepare graduates for management-level positions within nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. This interdisciplinary program combines specialized coursework in arts administration, graduate-level course work in accounting, marketing, budgeting and financial management, and a final project or thesis, totaling 36 credit hours (see Degree Requirements) .

The program begins at an intensive three-day conference in Cedar City that will include program orientation, master classes, and workshops.  This event will introduce students not only to the field of arts administration, but Arts Administration faculty and fellow students in both degree programs.

Coursework in the online program will include financial management, development, fundraising, marketing, legal issues, leadership, and board development. At the end of the program, students will complete either a Final Project or Thesis. The focus of a Final Project is the practical aspects of the academic material studied, and the focus of a Thesis is new research in the field of Arts Administration.


Before You Apply

Before applying to the Arts Administration Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Master of Arts (MA) degree program, we urge you to read the Overview of Arts Administration and the Roles of Arts Administrators to become more familiar with the general scope of responsibilities and work of an arts administrator or manager. Success in any graduate program depends in large part on how well the program aligns with your interests, skills, abilities, and career goals. Please review the document to judge if the Arts Administration Program at SUU is the right fit for you.

Overview of Arts Administration and the Roles of Arts Administrators is a snapshot of the Graduate Standards for programs in arts administration from the Association of Arts Administration Educators. AAAE, which was founded in 1975, has developed these educational standards to assist programs around the world in setting outcomes and expectations for students pursuing graduate degrees in the field. SUU has been a full member in AAAE since 2004, and adheres to the AAAE Graduate Standards.

General Requirements

Applicants to the Arts Administration Program must have completed a Bachelor’s degree (or the international equivalent) in a relevant area of the arts, business, or the liberal arts. Students will be required to have a cumulative undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for admission consideration.

Admission Materials

The following materials must be sent to SUU Admissions by February 15 (Master of Fine Arts) and August 15 (Master of Arts):

  1. SUU Graduate Programs Admissions application and fee
  2. Official transcripts from each college or university attended (unless the institution is SUU)
  3. Resume including academic, professional, and volunteer experience
  4. Three (3) letters of recommendation
  5. Written Statement of Purpose

Applicants for the Master of Fine Arts Program who make it to the second stage of the admissions process must present themselves for an interview on-campus or at a professional conference. Applicants are strongly encouraged to interview on-campus and to tour the Cedar City area and the professional affiliate organizations. The Program Director will contact those applicants who make it to this stage to set up an interview.

Applicants for the Master of Arts Program (Online) are also encouraged to interview on-campus and to tour the Cedar City area and the professional affiliate organizations, but are only required to have a telephone interview.

Application Assessment

The Program Director and the AA Admissions Committee will assess the quality of the applicant based on the following areas:

  • Leadership skills as evidenced through the applicant’s undergraduate activities, civic volunteerism, internship with a professional arts organization, and/or a paid professional experience in arts or nonprofit organizations.
  • Communications skills as evidenced through a written Statement of Purpose addressing educational and career goals, and (MFA candidates only) a personal interview.
  • Preference is given to applicants who have work and/or volunteer experience in the arts or non-profit sector or related fields after completion of a bachelor’s degree program.

The Program Director and the AA Admissions Committee may make exceptions to admissions policies on a case-by-case basis.

Graduation Requirements

Graduate students are required to maintain a minimum of a 3.0 (B) cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, graduate students will not receive credit for a course where he/she achieved less than a 2.0 (C). The student may be given an opportunity to repeat the course once at their own expense, but the program cannot accommodate offering the course outside of the sequencing provided. Many of the courses offered in the Arts Administration Department are offered every other year. Tuition waivers and assistantship placements will not be offered outside of the traditional twenty-four month period for the program. If the student receives less than a 2.0 (C) a second time, the student will automatically be dismissed from the program.

Master of Fine Arts Program: If a student receives less than a Pass (P) in the Capstone Internship and/or Degree Defense, the Student will not be granted the Master of Fine Arts degree and will be dismissed from the program. The Capstone Internship and the  Degree Defense may not be repeated.

Master of Arts Program: If a student receives less than a 3.0 (B) in the Final Project, the Student will not be granted the Master of Arts degree and will be dismissed from the program. The Final Project may not be repeated.

Additional Information

Students will be evaluated each semester based on academic work, assistantships (MFA only), and assigned special projects. Students must excel in all areas to move forward. If any area is deficient, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Students who, for valid reasons, choose to withdraw from the program (and were not dismissed) will be allowed to re-enter at the stage where they left with the approval of the Program Director and faculty, and with satisfactory qualifications. Students must complete the degree program within six years of their first semester enrollment.

Students in the MFA program may, for valid reasons, transfer into in the MA program. Students in the MA program cannot transfer credit into the existing MFA program. Although coursework between the two programs overlaps, the MFA degree involves twenty-four (24) months of intensive in-person, academic, and practical training that cannot be made up if a portion of the material is taken in the Online format.