Visual Arts Administration (MA)

Department Website

Program Description

Established in 1971, the MA Program in Visual Arts Administration was the first in the nation to focus specifically on management careers in the visual arts, in both traditional and alternative contexts. Taking into account the cultural and economic impact of the visual arts, nationally and internationally, as well as the challenges facing the arts today, the program prepares students to become leaders in a broad range of arts organizations.

The Visual Arts Administration MA Program addresses the whole art ecology, including the cultural environment in which art and arts organizations operate, the role of the artist in society; how artwork is documented, presented and interpreted, the structure and management of organizations that display artwork — both nonprofit and for-profit — and the role of art theorists, critics, curators, and collectors. The program curriculum also considers how education in arts organizations expands knowledge and builds audiences, the increasing role of art in urban development and public spaces, and new approaches and tools for encouraging access and participation. Students acquire the theoretical and practical tools for fundraising, financial management, marketing, and knowledge of new media and technology in the visual arts. The program offers primary areas of study in nonprofit (arts management) and for-profit (arts markets); students are required to choose one track or the other in their first semester. Secondary areas of study include a wide range of electives pertaining to a variety of issues in the visual arts arena.

Since its beginnings, the program has had an extensive international outlook. The curriculum fosters a global perspective within course syllabi, readings and discussions, and through several study-abroad options. In London, students analyze the exhibition and display of art in material culture through a dynamic curriculum that blends classroom sessions and site visits. In the Netherlands and Berlin, Performing Arts Administration and Visual Arts Administration students compare and contrast the management of cultural institutions in the United States and Europe, with an emphasis on cultural policy, cultural diplomacy, funding mechanisms, globalism and mobility, cultural identity, and diversity, among other issues.

Faculty expertise, internships in the field, alumni experience and success, and a strong international applicant pool ensure that students are provided with the optimal resources of an advanced professional program set in the context of a major urban cultural center.

Career Opportunities

Both the internship program and the master’s thesis provide critical opportunities for graduate students to develop relationships with art organizations in New York, nationally, and internationally. The program includes a series of supervised internships. Students have gained placement in museums, alternative spaces, public art agencies, galleries, auction houses, and consultancies, and work with program advisers and the department’s internship coordinator in planning this important component of their educational experience. Organizations providing internship and research opportunities locally have included the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, JPMorgan Chase Bank Collection, Jewish Museum, Asia Society, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Pace-Wildenstein Gallery. A more complete listing of the organizations where graduate students have secured national and international internships may be found on the program’s webpage,

In addition, the program serves as an active information center for advocacy issues and for career opportunities. The program works closely with its Visual Arts Administration alumni to provide special events and to facilitate mentoring and career opportunities. Graduates hold positions in a broad cross section of museums, cultural institutions, foundations, galleries, auction houses, and advisory services throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Study Abroad

An international study-abroad seminar provides graduate students, alumni of arts administration programs, and arts management professionals with a unique opportunity to observe exciting changes in the visual and performing arts in a broad range of European venues. Students explore current cultural and social issues affecting international arts practices in both nonprofit and for-profit institutions.

The Visual Arts Administration program sponsors several student-run clubs which hold events and seminars throughout the year: ACE — Advocates for Cultural Engagement, other content — The Curatorial Collective, and The Art and Finance Society.


Admission to graduate programs in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development requires the following minimum components:

  • Résumé/CV
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Proficiency in English

See NYU Steinhardt's Graduate Admissions website for additional information on school-wide admission. Some programs may require additional components for admissions.

See How to Apply for admission requirements and instructions specific to this program.