Arts Leadership

Graduate Certificate – Arts Leadership

  • The program details described below are subject to change. Actual degree requirements for a given academic year may differ from what is listed here.
  • Refer to the 2017-2018 USC Catalogue for complete course descriptions and degree requirements.
  • See the Thornton Admission page for specific application information.
  • Current students should refer to the specific requirements list for their major, which is available through the Thornton Student Affairs office.


The two-semester, minimum 18-unit program, is for artists, arts administrators and cultural workers who want to further develop the skills necessary to become successful leaders in the arts. With most of the courses scheduled in the evenings, the program is designed for working professionals in any of the arts disciplines who recognize that the rapidly changing world of the 21st century requires a new set of leadership skills.

Curriculum Requirements

  • Arts Leadership and Arts Entrepreneurship (ARTL 500) A gateway course, which introduces the students to the varied, complex and contentious issues in the arts and arts leadership that currently exist in the contemporary arts world.
  • Four core courses that address the primary components of leadership in the arts:
    • Executive Leadership in the Arts (ARTL 501) which focuses on a deep understanding and application of the challenges of executive leadership in the arts.
    • Issues and the Arts in the Contemporary World (ARTL 502) which looks at major environmental trends affecting the arts and how that impacts a leadership role in the arts.
    • Arts Organizations: Innovation and New Models (ARTL 503) which investigates alternative organizational structures and methodologies.
    • Arts and the Community: Current Practice and New Visions (ARTL 504) which examines multiple dimensions of the relationship between the arts and communities.
  • Four units of electives may be selected from these and other options in consultation with the director.
  • Arts Leadership Practicum (ARTL 510) a two semester practicum of the student’s choice and design that actualizes the work of the program.

Sample Summary of Program of Study

Program Intensive Courses (14 units)

ARTL 500 Arts Leadership and Arts Entrepreneurship (2 units)
ARTL 501 Executive Leadership in the Arts (2 units)
ARTL 502 Issues in the Arts and the Contemporary World (2 units)
ARTL 503 Arts Organizations: Innovation and New Models (2 units)
ARTL 504 Arts and Community: Current Practice and New Visions (2 units)
ARTL 510 Arts Leadership Practicum (two 2-unit courses)

Other Program Intensive Courses (4 units)

Select a minimum of 4 units from the following:

MUIN 570 The Music Industry (4 units)
PAS 561 Curatorial/Organizational Models (2 units)
PAS 571 Histories of Art in the Public Sphere (3 units)
PAS 572 Contemporary Art in the Public Sphere (3 units)
PAS 585 Theorizing the Public Realm (3 units)
PPD 675 Nonprofit Management and Leadership (4 units)
PPD 687 Strategic Management in the Nonprofit Sector (4 units)
PPD 689 The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy (4 units)
PPDE 645 Financial Management of Nonprofit Organizations (4 units)
Other courses may be chosen in consultation with the Director of Arts Leadership

Capstone Projects

The Practicum (ARTL 510) serves as the Capstone Project for all ARTL Certificate students.

All curricular requirements are evaluated on an annual basis and are subject to change. Students follow the curricular requirements as published in the USC Catalogue for their year of matriculation.

Gainful Employment Disclosures

The United States Department of Education requires that not-for-profit educational institutions disclose certain types of information regarding programs that do not lead to a degree. These federal regulations are designed to provide information about programs leading to gainful employment in a recognized occupation. The following link provides the required information for the Graduate Certificate program in Arts Leadership.