Frequently Asked Questions

A quote by Michaela Abbott:

Why study arts and cultural management at the College of Charleston?

Arts Management is a field of study that provides graduates with the tools to create, develop, facilitate and evaluate arts and cultural programs and organizations.

Charleston, one of the country’s top arts, historic and tourist destinations, provides our program its distinctive niche, brand and identity, and affords our students unprecedented opportunities to study and learn in a dynamic cultural setting. Students engage with professionals in the field through applied classroom experiences, guest speakers, and access to faculty who are also arts practitioners. 

Our program has alliances with many Charleston arts and cultural institutions that offer experiential learning opportunities for our students, including: Spoleto Festival USA; Charleston Symphony Orchestra; Charleston Jazz; PURE Theatre; Charleston Stage; Colour of Music Festival; Engaging Creative Minds, the Charleston Gaillard Center, the Gibbes Museum of Art; the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, the Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Charleston (MOJA Arts Festival and Piccolo Spoleto Festival); International African American Museum; the Halsey Museum for Contemporary Art, and many more.

What is the difference between a certificate and a full degree program in arts management?

A certificate program is a series of courses and experiences in specific disciplines. You spend a short period of time (usually 1 year) in a program that is specifically geared to your career interests. 

Some consider our certificate program if they have not yet decided to pursue a full degree program (for example because of time, financial commitment, etc.). A certificate is an excellent option for working professionals, recent graduates, and current graduate students who want to develop and broaden their skill sets in arts management.

Unique to the College of Charleston, the certificate is an area of emphasis with two degree programs at our institution: the Master of Public Administration and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Arts and cultural management complement both degree programs and offer expertise not only in advancing the creative sector, but also organizational management skills that may open up career opportunities for creative workers.

Can I complete the ARCM certificate program along with a full degree program?

Yes! The certificate can be completed as part of the Master of Public Administration (MPA) andMaster of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (MFA) programs. 

Arts and cultural management is an area of focus of the nationally-ranked MPA program – in 2020, it ranked as one of the Best Public Affairs Program by U.S. News and World Report and features a Community Assistance Program, a distinctive outreach effort for nonprofit and municipal organizations.  

Our curriculum is also an emphasis within the nationally recognized MFA in Creative Writing program that houses one of the country’s premier literary journals. The program’s faculty are nationally distinguished creative writers – one who has served on the National Council on the Arts, and others whose work has appeared in The New York Times among other national publications.

Additionally, it may be possible to complete the certificate and/or complete some classes with other degree programs such as Communication, History/Public History, and English. Students should contact these program directors for guidance.

How long does it take to complete the certificate, and can it be completed online?

The 15-credit hour certificate can be completed in one year. Students complete 3 courses in the Fall and 2 courses in the Spring semesters. However, some students choose to take courses as their schedules permit – only 1 or 2 courses per year.

For certificate students who are also enrolled in full degree programs (MPA, MFA or other graduate programs), ARCM courses are spread out over a 2-year period and count towards the required courses to complete a degree.  

The certificate can be completed online. While all of our courses are designed as either fully online or hybrid (in-person and online), our program offers flexibility for those who live outside of the Charleston area. Classes meet in the early evenings through synchronous online or in-person (with the connection to join virtually) formats.

How much is the tuition for the ARCM certificate?

Tuition and fees for resident and non-resident students can be found on the Treasurer’s Office website.   

Is financial assistance available for ARCM certificate students?

Because the ARCM certificate is not a degree program, students are not eligible for federal financial aid.  However, if the certificate is combined with a degree program such as the MPA or MFA in Creative Writing, federal financial assistance is available.

The following are other financial opportunities for eligible ARCM certificate students:

  • Graduate School Funding Opportunities
  • ARCM half-time graduate assistant position 
  • External fellowships

See Funding and Fellowships for more information.

What are the admissions requirements, and how do I apply?

  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.000 is preferred
  • Current résumé
  • Statement of professional goals
  • Writing sample demonstrating an ability to perform literary analysis and conduct research, and/or a portfolio of arts-management-related work samples
  • One letter of recommendation; references should address academic ability and motivation to successfully complete a graduate certificate. If a prospective student has been out of college for a number of years, it is appropriate to provide a letter from work-related individuals.

Application Deadline (Fall Admission Only)

  • Priority: March 1
  • Final: July 1

Apply here.

NOTE:  A separate degree-seeking application is required for admittance to a master’s degree program at the College of Charleston. Admission to the certificate program does not imply acceptance to a master’s program.