Arts Leadership

Graduate Certificate (GCRT)
Master of Science (MS)

Applications to the GCRT and MS in Arts Leadership are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. If the program fills before the final deadline, any applicants who cannot be accommodated will be given the option to postpone their applications to a later term.

• Priority Deadline: December 1
• Final Deadline: May 1

Preferred qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree (not necessarily in an arts-related field)
  • Working artistic background (three to five years as a working artist)

Applicants must submit the USC application for Graduate Admission, Thornton’s SlideRoom Application Form, and take an interview with the Program Director. The SlideRoom portal can be found inside the USC application for graduate admission, in the “Program Materials” section. Details follow.

MS & GCRT applicants must upload the following items as part of Thornton’s SlideRoom Application:

  1. A resume or curriculum vitae
  2. Scans (PDF format) of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended must be uploaded into SlideRoom. Official transcripts are issued by the registrar’s office of each institution. Unofficial transcripts or documents printed from an on-line student system will not be accepted. Please note that official transcripts must also be submitted separately to the USC Graduate Admission office following the guidelines here.
  3. Answers to the following five questions in essay format. There is no specific length requirement, however applicants are being considered not only for the content of the answers but also ability to express thoughts in written form. The questions are as follows:
    • What is your specific field of artistic practice? Why have you chosen to pursue a career in this field?
    • Identify one truly significant obstacle that you have faced in your life that you successfully overcame to become the person you are today.
    • The Arts Leadership course of study acknowledges several important environmental trends occurring in today’s world—the changing demographics of the country, the rise and increasing dominance of technological innovation, changing business models that reflect the new economy and globalization to name a few—that are having a dramatic impact on arts organizations in today’s world. Select one, or identify another that you think is equally as important, and explain what impact this trend you think is having or will have on the arts in America.
    • Identify someone you know personally whom you consider to be a great leader. Explain why you would call him/her great.
    • In an ideal world, without necessarily thinking about financial viability, where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing ten years from now? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “Yes, absolutely I am on track to doing this” and 10 being “pie in the sky dream but I sure wish I could” rate your chances of achieving this goal.


Upon submission of your application (both USC’s graduate application and Thornton’s SlideRoom application), please contact the Arts Leadership Program Director, Kenneth Foster ( to request an interview. The interview may be conducted via skype or in person, depending on the applicant’s location.

Documents will not be accepted via mail or email from GCRT and MS applicants. All items must be uploaded via SlideRoom or USC’s Graduate Application by the applicable deadline. Incomplete applications may be removed from consideration.

Important Information for International Applicants

In addition to the application materials required of all applicants, international applicants must submit a statement of financial support, and certified translations of any documents (transcripts, diplomas, financial documents) not issued in English. Detailed requirements are available here. In addition, international applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS in compliance with the requirements listed here.



Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Arts Leadership Specialization

The USC Price School of Public Policy offers a Master of Public Administration with a specialization in Arts Leadership. Applicants must apply for admission to the MPA program through the Price School. Application requirements are posted on the Price website.

If admission to the Price School’s MPA is granted, students may then apply to the Arts Leadership specialization. To do so, please submit the following by e-mail directly to the Arts Leadership program director, Kenneth Foster (

  1. Items 1 and 3 above
  2. A written request for admission to the Arts Leadership specialization

In some cases, faculty may wish to invite applicants to interview as part of the application process. Where appropriate and considered necessary, faculty will coordinate interview dates and times with applicants directly.