Frequently Asked Questions

Certificates & Degree  

Tuition & Fees

Schedules & Timing

Courses & Registration

Online Platform & Communications


What if I'm a campus student and am interested in the certificate program?

Please contact us regarding the Campus Certificate in Arts Management, and visit our Campus Certificate page for requirements. Back to top.

Is there an application process?

There is no application process or fee to earn the certificate. You can start earning your Certificate in Arts Management by registering for Introduction to Arts Management, the mandatory prerequisite for all courses. Once you have completed the required amount of courses for a Core Certificate (4 courses) or Professional Certificate (8 courses), fill out the Certificate Request Form (found at the bottom of this page) and submit it to our office at aes@acad.umass.eduBack to top.

How do I get an online certificate in Arts Management?

Earn a Core Certificate in Arts Management by successfully completing four online courses. Success is defined as completing all assignments well and participating meaningfully in class discussions. Complete eight classes for our Professional Certificate.  Upon completion, fill out and send in a Request for Certificate form (found at the bottom of this page), and after courses are verified, your certificate will be mailed to you. Back to top.

Do noncredit classes count towards the certificates?

Yes. You may take the classes for credit if you are looking to have credits to transfer outside of our program, but we do not require you to take the classes for credit to count them towards a certificate. The degree does require you to take the classes for credit. Back to top.

Is there a residency requirement?

No. Our certificate and degree programs are 100% online and designed for students who are full-time professionals, have families, and a busy schedule. Back to top.

What's the difference between the Core and Professional Certificates? Can I get both?

You can earn the Core Certificate after completing 4 courses, and the Professional Certificate after completing 8. You can get both by first completing the Core Certificate, and then taking 4 more courses to complete the requirements for the Professional Certificate. Back to top.

Can I get both the Certificate of Arts Management and the degree?

Certainly! There is no additional cost for either of our certificates. Earn a Core Certificate in Arts Management by successfully completing four online courses. Earn a Professional Certificate in Arts Management by successfully completing eight online courses. "Success" is defined as completing all assignments well and participating meaningfully in class discussions. Note: You must take the classes for credit to count them towards both the degree and certificate. Back to top.

How do I register for the Online UWW Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in Arts Management?

Please go to the UWW website for more information on registering for the Online UWW Degree with a concentration in Arts Management. Back to top.

Is this a REAL degree and an accredited program?

Yes! All of our Arts Management courses are official University of Massachusetts Amherst courses. The UWW degree is also offered through the University of Massachusetts, which is an internationally recognized and accredited institution. In addition, our arts administration degree program is a full member of the Association for Arts Administration Educators. Back to top.

I already have a bachelor's degree, can I get the online Bachelor's Degree in Arts Management offered through UWW?

No. Our bachelor's degree in Arts Management offered through UWW is a degree completion program intended for those who don't already have a college degree or were never able to finish. If you already have a degree, you would be a great candidate for our certificate program which offers graduate level courses in arts management. Back to top.

Is there an application fee?

No. There is no application process or fee to earn a certificate. You simply start by registering for courses. For questions regarding the degree, please contact UWW. Back to top.

What is the tuition per class?

Non-credit classes cost $675 + $25 registration fee per course, and will remain at that level for the foreseeable future. Students may optionally earn 3 credits of graduate-level credit per course by registering for ARTS-EXT 500-level sections. Credit classes cost $1422 ($474/credit) + $47 registration fee per course. In addition, our 300-level courses are available for 3 undergraduate-level credits per course at a cost of $1206 ($402/credit) + $47 registration fee per course.

Students only need to purchase one text, Fundamentals of Arts Management, 6th edition for the majority of the Arts Management online classes offered by the Arts Extension Service (AES). The textbook is available for purchase for $69 + shipping here, and the shipping fee may be waived if you choose to pick up the book directly from our office on campus. Check our Publications page for additional texts. International and bulk orders must be made by email to

No additional costs are associated with certification. Back to top.

Is Financial Aid available?

We do not offer financial aid towards our arts management courses. However, many students who do receive financial aid do so through outside resources such as scholarships, grants, or tuition waivers from their employers. Some state arts agencies and workforce development offices offer professional development grants that may be used for this course. Visit for a list of state arts agencies.

UWW degree students are eligible for financial aid if they meet the same requirements applied to all UMass Amherst students. Over 50% of UMass Amherst students receive a financial aid award. Many who believe their higher income would make them ineligible find that they are eligible for cost-effective loans when they apply for aid. 
For more information, contact the University Without Walls at (413) 545-1378 or uww@uww.umass.eduBack to top.

Do I have to pay for my class in full when I register?

Call the UMass Bursar's Office for current policies. As of September 2015, you will be billed by the Bursar soon after you have registered for the course. Back to top.

Are there any other fees I will need to pay?

Beyond the cost of tuition, there is a textbook required for all of our courses. The title is Fundamentals of Arts Management, and is available for purchase for $69 + shipping on our Publications page and can be purchased online or by phone. Call our office at 413-545-2360 or email us at for more information. International orders must be made by phone or email. Back to top.

When is each course offered?

Please see our list of course offerings for details about which courses are offered during specific semesters and years. NOTE: Subject to change. Check our Courses page for our current schedule.

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When do classes start?

Arts Management Online classes follow the UMass Amherst Academic Calendar and are offered during the spring, summer and fall semesters, according to the following schedule:

  • Spring Semester: Classes start late-January/early February and end late April/mid-May and registration opens in mid-November.
  • Summer Semester: Classes start in mid July and end in August and registration opens in April.
  • Fall Semester: Classes start in early September and end in mid December and registration opens end of July

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How many classes can I take at once?

Due to the volume of coursework required, we do not recommend students to take more than 2 courses per semester, especially for full-time professionals. Therefore, it is possible to complete four courses for a Core Certificate in two semesters, and a Professional Certificate in four semesters.  We expect that you will work a minimum of 6 hours per week on your course. Summer intensive courses require 12-15 hours a week per course. Back to top.

What order should I take the courses in?

Introduction to Arts Management is a prerequisite for all of the other courses.  You may take it prior to or concurrently with any other course.

We are aware that each of you come to the class with different backgrounds and desires.  You may take the courses in any order you'd like to fulfill your certificate requirements and obtain the skills that you most need to do your job, find a job, or grow your nonprofit.  See the schedule of classes at the top of the page for course offerings by semester. Back to top.

Do I have to log on at any specific time?

No, this is why online courses are becoming so sought after. You set your work schedule, as long as you meet the above requirements. Due to the diversity of our student body, we do not require students to log on at a particular time. Back to top.

How much time does homework and participation generally take per week?

Expect to spend between 6-8 hours per week per course completing assignments. Many students will log on to the site once, download the lectures and postings, and work offline, logging on again to post assignments and discussion points within the threaded discussions. Actual time spent online can be minimized in this way. Back to top.

What is the timeline or deadline for the certificate?

There is no timeline or deadline for the certificate program. A special feature of our program is flexibility for students who are working professionals. You can complete the certificate program at your own pace and earn the certificate as soon as you've finished the requirements. Back to top.

Do I need to be enrolled in a course every semester to stay in the program?

No. You may take courses to fulfill requirements according to your schedule. Keep in mind the schedule of when certain courses are offered by semester. Back to top.

What if I'm going on vacation during the 12 weeks/What if I get behind?

Because of the flexibility of our online platform, it is possible for students to work ahead if needed to accommodate a planned absence. Please notify your instructor as soon as you begin the course of your impending time off, and they will work with you to keep you up to speed. If you should get behind, please contact your instructor right away to work out a plan to complete your work. Due to the cumulative nature of some of our coursework, getting behind can make it very difficult to successfully complete a course, and heading it off as soon as possible is the best way to avoid this. Back to top.

How do I register for Arts Management Online?

Registration is easy! Enrollment opens about 2 months before the start of each class. Visit our Courses page to register. Choose a semester in the drop down menu, browse through the courses and class sections, and then click "Class Details" and follow the registration links. Be sure to join our mailing list to receive announcements on registration, courses, and more! Back to top.

Can I take a class or two without getting a certificate or degree?

Yes! You do not need to be on track for a certificate or degree to take our classes. Anyone can register if they need more in depth information on a couple of topics. Remember that our Intro to Arts Management is a prerequisite for all of our 500 level classes, so you may need to start there. Back to top.

Are there prerequisites for the courses?

Our Introduction to Arts Management course is a mandatory prerequisite for all of our other courses.  This course will help to lay the foundation for your understanding of the potential roles, work, and possibilities.  In addition, for each of our other courses, the major prerequisite for the courses is that you must identify a case study to work with. (Creative Economy will ask you to identify a community, not one organization.)  Here is some information about case studies that will work for this purpose:

Case Studies:
Our classes are practical courses that enable you to learn the principals of nonprofit management and apply these principles to a case study organization. The class will culminate in the preparation of a final project that offers specific strategies for enacting concepts learned in the course.

A Note About Confidentiality: None of your assignments require you to identify your case study, which you can keep entirely confidential (assigning a fictitious name), should the organization be concerned about revealing its operations.

  • Option #1: Choose Your Own Organization (highly recommended): If you are currently working in an arts or culture organization, you will get the most out of this class if you use your own institution as your case study organization. If you are not currently responsible for the subject matter covered in this course within your organization, ask the people in these roles if they would work with you on the assignments.
  • Option #2: Choose Another Non-Profit Organization with Which You Are Familiar: You may obtain similar results by working closely with a nonprofit organization of which you are not a member. For instance, if you volunteer for a nonprofit agency, we recommend you use that organization as your case study organization, even if this organization is not solely focused on the arts. We have had many students who work at non-arts agencies that apply the learning to their unique environments.
  • Option #3: Contact an Area Arts Agency or Non-Profit: If you are a full-time student or not associated with an organization, then you must find one that you can observe. If you have a friend who runs a social service organization that may be a better case study than an arts council whose leaders are not interested in your learning. This is the least preferred route, since it is often difficult to arrange access to a non-profit agency's information on such short notice.
  • Option #4: Request a Case Study Match from the Arts Extension Service office. We have a list of nonprofit arts organizations willing to serve as a Case Study in exchange for your completed final project or plan. Students will sign a Letter of Agreement, promising to complete the course and keep the Case Study's information confidential.

Other Prerequisites: 
You will also need to use Microsoft Word (or comparable word processing program) and Adobe Acrobat (Reader). Financial Management also requires familiarity with Microsoft Excel. Students must also be prepared to actively work within a group process, since activities in some courses may include a group project. Back to top.

Why do I need a case study?

Our program is designed to be a hands-on practical learning experience. To that end, a case study arts nonprofit organization must be identified, preferably before you begin your course work, although your instructor may be able to advise you. For example, if you were to take Arts Marketing, throughout the 12 weeks of the course, you will formulate a marketing plan for your case study, piece by piece. Back to top.

How do I find a case study?

If you are not employed by a nonprofit, and do not currently volunteer for one, please email the Arts Extension Service for further help on finding a case study. You may also contact your state or local cultural council or local library for advice on an organization. Back to top.

I work for a for-profit arts institution, can I use it as my case study?

Yes, you may use a for-profit arts institution as your case study.  However, for select courses, such as Financial Management and Arts Fundraising, you may need to work with a separate nonprofit institution in order to complete certain assignments.  If you have any questions please call us at 413-545-2360. Back to top.

How will my work be evaluated?

Students will be evaluated on level of participation, completing assigned work, and participating in threaded discussions. Online courses have clear due dates and time requirements, just like in a real classroom. A pass/fail grade is given for non-credit students and a traditional letter grade is given to credit students. Back to top.

Can I get credits for doing this?

Yes, students may register for the online courses as 500 level 3-credit courses.

Aside from the additional fee, students interested in taking our courses for credit should be aware that their work would be held to a high standard in evaluation because of the credit award. Timeliness of completion, quality of work, and frequent and thoughtful participation in discussions will all be factored into the final grade the student receives, which will be a traditional letter grade in accordance with the University system. Back to top.

What's the difference between credit and non-credit classes?

Credit and non-credit students meet together in the same course. The difference is simply that credit students pay more to receive graduate-level credits which can then be transferred to another institution to complete a degree, or for other external reasons. Both credit and non-credit classes are eligible towards our Certificates in Arts Management. Back to top.

Can I get a waiver for the Intro course?

We created the Intro course in response to the very real need to provide a deeper background for our Arts Management students.  Lingo, jargon, the unique landscape of arts funding, make this course invaluable for those who come to class without a minimum of three years in an arts management leadership position in a nonprofit arts institution or a State, Regional or National arts agency. Back to top.

I'm not a UMass student, but live locally. Can I take the classes on campus?

Please contact us regarding your specific situation. You have to be a matriculated UMass student to take a class on campus, but the UMass Registrar does make some exceptions. Back to top.

Are the classes entirely online?

Yes, courses are entirely online. We have participants from all over the world, and thus this feature is both necessary and desirable. Students find that the convenience of accessing a course when they are ready is one of many reasons that online classes are becoming so widely sought. We do offer campus sections of our courses for matriculated UMass students. Back to top.

How does the online class work?

You must have internet access to take our courses. We use an online learning platform called Blackboard which is accessed through a website. Once you have registered for courses, you will receive a username and password to login to Blackboard and access your courses.

Each week, in the assigned folders online, the instructor will post a new lecture (the instructor will inform you at the beginning of the course what day of the week this will take place). The instructor may note additional readings or websites that are part of homework. An assignment incorporating aspects discussed in the lecture will be posted at this time as well. Students will have the next week to complete the assignment and post it in the section of the course allocated for assignment postings. Additionally, students are required to visit and participate in the threaded discussion section of the course, where students can communicate to each other and to the instructor to discuss topics relevant to the lecture, or their homework. As assignments are completed, the instructor will review and provide feedback. The instructor will also track course participation from week to week. At the end of the course, you will receive your grade for the class. Expect to spend 6-8 hours per week on homework over the 12-week semester. (Summer intensives require 12-15 hours per week over a 6-week semester). Back to top.

How do I talk to my instructor?

Instructors are available via email or the Blackboard messaging system. Some instructors may choose to make themselves available via phone, however this up to the discretion of the individual instructor. Back to top.

Do you offer assistance in selecting courses or career counseling?

Yes, we do offer as much assistance as we can in terms of resources. We often post job listings on our facebook page. The instructors of our courses are also great resources as many are leaders in the field and nationally recognized. We recommend building relationships with them and your classmates, who are also often in arts management jobs themselves. You may also make an appointment with our Director to talk about your specific career goals. Back to top.

May I contact alumni who have attended the program?

Unfortunately, we cannot give out any contact information of individual students or instructors, but we do share testimonials, news and success stories of our alumni on our facebook page and website. We also have an AES alumni facebook page that you can request to join after you have taken a class with us. Back to top.

I have more questions, how do I get help?

Contact our office to find answers to other questions at 413-545-2360 or aes@acad.umass.eduBack to top.