MA in Arts Management


Program Description

MA in Arts Management

Whitecliffe Arts Management graduates are fully equipped to manage a broad spectrum of arts enterprises. As well as an in-depth understanding of contemporary best business practice, our graduates understand those special needs of artists and their art forms.

Artist, entrepreneur, intellectual, manager, educator, social worker, politician; an arts manager must wear many hats and so requires multiple skills. The enormous growth in arts companies and organisations with paid management teams in New Zealand over the last 20 years has developed an ever-increasing need for qualified arts managers.

Traditionally arts managers tend to fall into two categories; those with a business background and those who are, or have been artists and wish to develop their business skills. The Whitecliffe Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) and Master of Arts in Arts Management (MAAM) degrees provide a much-needed bridge between art and commerce.

The one or two-year programmes develop theoretical knowledge and professional skills from the perspective of the arts and is directed towards people with interests in areas such as theatre, film, visual arts, dance, music, design, galleries, community arts, and council or government arts organisations and arts management.

Master of Arts in Arts Management

Year Two (NQF) Level 9

Students accepted for the MAAM in the second year undertake a research preparation course taught over the first two seminar weekends of the year. With the successful completion of this course, students will have developed applied an understanding of research design, data gathering and analysis, proposal writing and the alignment of methodology with intent and purpose of research.

The purpose of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to complete a specific research project. The supervised independent study builds on the proposal to present advanced practice-based and/or theoretical research relating to and progressing an individual project, under workplace and/or faculty academic supervision, including critical thinking and writing. Projects might include dissertation, internship, journal and essay or arts management project, journal and essay.

Programme Aims

The principal aims of the Master of Arts in Arts Management programme are to:

  • prepare students to function successfully as arts administrators, managers, and entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable of sound business practices;
  • develop effective leadership qualities in students, while emphasising the need to remain sensitive to social, political, cultural and gender issues as they impact society in general and the arts in particular;
  • provide opportunities for students to explore and understand the day to day operational challenges and dynamics of arts organisations; and
  • encourage students to develop meaningful and effective critical thinking strategies to better inform decision making and policy development in socially and ethically responsible ways.

Programme Outcomes

By the end of the MA in Arts Management course successful students should be able to:

  • apply general principles and basic knowledge of business practices including accounting, marketing, legal concerns and management styles in an arts management environment;
  • identify and implement effective organisational and managerial practices which are financial, socially and ethically sound;
  • demonstrate effective interpersonal and communication skills within a working environment as well as in the larger community;
  • demonstrate effective leadership skills and a willingness to work with others in solving problems, decision making, and planning for the future;
  • understand how policies and decisions (their own and others’) affect the present and future quality of individual artists, programmes and organisations;
  • understand how policies and decisions (their own and others’) affect agencies, groups and individuals outside the art milieu in industry, in the greater community and globally;
  • critically analyse situations and develop plans for actions for solving a variety of business and arts-related problems reflecting clear and original thinking; and
  • formulate focused questions and identify and implement appropriate research methods to gather, analyse and report data in support of directed inquiry.

Programme Information

The programme of study is comprised of lectures, guest speakers from industry, tutorials, workshops and site visits during intensive weekend seminars, five of which are scheduled each semester. Students work with faculty in between seminars on course assignments and independent research.

Students who successfully complete the course will have developed knowledge of business practices, leadership skills and managerial strategies. General business management topics will be covered including strategic and financial planning, fundraising, marketing research, management processes, profit and not for profit enterprises, consumer issues, ethics and legal issues. These topics will be explored from the perspective of the arts with attention to global markets and future trends.

Programme Delivery

The Master of Arts in Arts Management is a low-residency course of study. Its major seminars are scheduled monthly, on the weekends, to provide flexibility for students in the workplace or travelling from out of Auckland. The design and delivery of course documentation, the use of telephone, fax, internet and e-mail for communication and supervision, the nature of assignment topics, the readings supplied to students and the intensive weekend seminars are all designed for the benefit of low-residency students.

Attendance at Seminars

Students are required to make at least one contact with their lecturer each week (so that the student can report progress with research and assignments and be briefed about course activities). Students are required to attend each semester Orientation. Students are required to attend both days of each weekend seminar (so that they can contribute to discussions, profit from guest speakers and participate in class-work briefings). A student who attends only part of a weekend seminar will be marked absent for the whole class period. Students are required to attend scheduled activities external to Whitecliffe (so that they can profit from and document the experience).

Normal Progress

The two-year full-time programme starts with three semesters of taught courses (two courses per semester) followed by a research elective semester. A student makes “normal progress” from semester to semester by sustaining an overall grade point average of at least a “C-”.

Normal progress into the fourth-semester research elective requires written permission from the Dean of Research and Postgraduate Studies. This permission is required because the last semester demands a level of research skill, professionalism and self-motivation beyond that required in the first three semesters.

Requirements for Award of the Qualification

Award of the Master of Arts in Arts Management qualification is dependent on the student achieving the required minimum number of credits (240 = 2 EFTs), with a grade of C- or better on their end-of-course assessment.

Minimum and Maximum Duration of the Programme

The Master of Arts Management Degree is a two-year full-time course (a total of 240 credits = 2 EFTs). All College qualifications require the completion of a minimum of 120 credits (one year of equivalent full-time study = 1 EFT) at Whitecliffe. Furthermore, award requirements must be met within four years of initial matriculation on the course.

Monitoring/External Assessment

The Master of Arts in Arts Management programme is monitored not only internally, by established college review processes, but also by an independent monitor. At various times throughout the programme students may be required to give feedback to the independent monitor. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority also regularly reviews the quality of Whitecliffe’s programmes generally, and students may also be required to present their feedback to an NZQA review panel.

Facilities, Access and Postgraduate Privileges

Postgraduate students are encouraged to make use of Whitecliffe facilities, including the staff room and library during the seminar period and at other times when visiting Whitecliffe.

Postgraduate students are entitled to attend and participate in undergraduate (and graduate) courses subject to space and availability at no extra cost, on an “auditing” basis. Postgraduate students doing so will receive no credit for undergraduate/graduate courses on this basis and are not required to complete assignments etc. Attendance, however, does imply participation, the degree of which must be negotiated with the lecturer and/or Head of Department for the course. Material and other course-related costs must be met by the student.


Students applying for admission to the programme should have an undergraduate diploma or degree qualification equivalent to Level Seven on the NZQA Framework.

Students without a Level Seven Qualification or from a non-arts-related background will be assessed on an individual basis in order to determine their potential for successful completion of the programme. Inappropriate cases, Whitecliffe recognises relevant professional experiences as potential preparation for advanced study. Personal Prerequisites for the Programme include the following:

  • High level of computer literacy for purposes such as word processing, email and research on the Internet. Ability to work competently with current Microsoft Office for Word software.

NB. If you need to brush up your computer skills before starting the course, we suggest that you try out the free BBC Webwise Online Course.

  • Public speaking competency
  • Business/management/interpersonal skills (e.g. teamwork, personality, problem-solving)
  • Study and work behaviour – independent learning, time planning, responsibility etc
  • A clear understanding of the aims and objective of the MA programme
  • Specific Requirements For Admission Include:
  • A completed Whitecliffe College Application Form
  • Official transcripts of baccalaureate degree and/or other academic qualifications
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • Name and contact information of three referees
  • A letter of intent/description of reasons for applying to the programme
  • Evidence of academic writing ability which reflects the potential for successful study at the graduate level (examples of previous academic writing may be submitted)
  • Prospective students must have a current email address and internet access (N.B. is not appropriate)
  • Applicants whose first language is not English are required to provide satisfactory evidence of proficiency in the English language, such as a minimum score of 625 on the TOEFL test, or 7.0 on the IELTS

Your Letter of Intent

The letter of intent is an important part of your application process and needs to be composed too with care and consideration. The Admissions Board will use the letter of intent when considering your application for acceptance on to the MA programme. It will give a preliminary indication as to whether you are able to participate at the required level in the theoretical and practical components of the course. The letter will also be used to make an initial assessment of your ability to communicate in a style appropriate to the academic demands of the programme. The information you provide will inform the decision made by the Admissions Board and then assists the Director of the Programme to advise you more effectively.

When Whitecliffe is in receipt of completed information, most applicants will be required to attend a formal individual interview. Senior Faculty will review their applications in order to determine the suitability of the programme to their needs and their ability to successfully complete the programme. Assessment of candidates may include identification of any areas of additional study considered necessary, either to strengthen skills or to meet pre-requisites, which will be required as a condition of matriculation or advancement in the programme.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Whitecliffe Regulations outline procedures for evaluation and granting of RPL. RPL can be based on verifiable, certified documentation, appropriate industry experience, an outstanding portfolio, demonstration of intellectual and academic development or other cause. In the case of the Master of Arts in Arts Management degree, RPL may be granted for work undertaken at postgraduate level in accredited institutions in New Zealand or overseas.

Tuition Fees

Please see current application form for Course Fee details. Materials and supplies expenses will vary from student to student and are the responsibility of the student.


The MAAM programme includes monthly weekend seminars with high calibre guest speakers from industry, tutorials and discussion groups. The programme also involves independent study courses, internships based on field experience and written research projects. A student's course of study includes seminars and supervisor contact and may include work-related experience, independent research, industry case studies, interviews, readings and assignments.


There is one intake in February of each year, however, applications for admission to complete one or more of the first year course papers in the PG Dip Arts Management can be submitted at any time. Course start dates are available in the Course Information (see link below). Applications received after the application deadlines will still be considered for entry subject to places being available.

The two-year Masters of Arts in Arts Management has been approved and accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) under the provisions of the Education Act 1989.

Key Facts

  • NQF CREDITS: 240
  • EFTS: 2.0
Last updated Jan 2019

About the School

Whitecliffe is an independent Arts and Design school of choice, producing the highest quality graduates and shaping exceptional creative citizens. Whitecliffe provides life-transforming educational ex ... Read More

Whitecliffe is an independent Arts and Design school of choice, producing the highest quality graduates and shaping exceptional creative citizens. Whitecliffe provides life-transforming educational experiences in arts and design through teaching and research, educating students to shape culture through the practice and critical study of the arts. Read less