The Master of Arts–Business: Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is a one-year program where students gain the knowledge, skills, and expertise to be an innovative arts administrator, nonprofit executive, or social entrepreneur. The 30-credit business-focused curriculum utilizes hands-on learning and project work in the classroom, as well as applied field experiences in local arts organizations. Throughout the yearlong experience, students connect with and learn from real-world arts leaders and are part of a strong, close-knit community of alumni and arts practitioners. 

The Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership master’s program is part of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration—one of the only arts-focused programs within a US business school, giving students an edge as strategic leaders.

Please see the program website for more information and application instructions. 

The following will be required for admission to the Business: Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership master's program:

  • Undergraduate university degree, or expected completion of such a degree prior to starting the MA-Business program.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of business fundamentals (or specific plan for acquiring prior to the start of the program); some possible ways of satisfying this include:
    • Undergraduate degree with business major or minor
    • Completion of Certificate in Business or Certificate of Entrepreneurship at UW-Madison
    • Earning GPA >= 3.0 in intermediate college course work covering at least two core business disciplines (marketing, operations, finance, accounting, management); completion of GEN BUS 310 or GEN BUS 311 satisfies this requirement, and can be taken online during the summer prior to the start of the program
  • Undergraduate transcript, GPA >= 3.0.
  • One letter of recommendation, preferably addressing the applicant’s professional skills.
  • Resume.
  • Response to essay question.
  • An interview may be requested.

Additional international student requirements:

  • TOEFL score of at least 100 (or TOEFL paper-based test score of 600 or IELTS score of 7.0). Applicants are exempt from this requirement if:
    • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution; or
    • You have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than 5 years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment; or
    • You have completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. Completion of graded course work cannot be more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Bolz Center Resources

The Master of Arts-Business: Arts and Creative Enterprise Leadership Program gives you the opportunity to earn a master’s degree fusing business and cultural practice and receive paid work and/or project development seed funding.  Please contact the Bolz Center for specific information regarding merit aid and other financial support.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations All students must pass the impact consulting courses, M H R 746 and 747.
Language Requirements No language requirements.

Required COURSES

Select one of these options:6
Foundation Course Option 1:
Introduction to Arts Entrepreneurship
and Entrepreneurship in Arts & Cultural Organizations
Foundation Course Option 2:
Seminar-Arts Administration
and Seminar-Arts Administration
All courses below are required:
M H R 723 Business Strategy3
M H R/​CSCS  742 Nonprofit Board Leadership Development I2
M H R/​CSCS  743 Nonprofit Board Leadership Development II1
M H R 746 Impact Consulting for Arts-Based Organizations and Communities I3
M H R 747 Impact Consulting for Arts-Based Organizations and Communities II2
M H R 799 Reading and Research-Management1
Elective Courses (see below)12
Total Credits30

Elective Courses

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of arts management, any course with the graduate course
attribute offered by the School of Business (including departments: ACCT I S, ACT SCI, FINANCE, GEN BUS, INFO SYS, INTL BUS, M H R, MARKETING, OTM, REAL EST, or R M I) can be used to complete the required elective credits. Courses outside of the School of Business will be considered on a case‐by‐case basis. Students in this program may find these elective courses particularly relevant:

DS 641 Advanced Design Thinking for Transformation3
OTM 760 Managing by Design3
M H R 722 Entrepreneurial Management3
M H R 734 Venture Creation3
M H R 741 Technology Entrepreneurship3
M H R 715 Strategic Management of Innovation3
FINANCE 757 Entrepreneurial Finance3
MARKETNG 737 New Product Innovation3
URB R PL 741 Introduction to Planning3
M H R 628 Negotiations3
REAL EST/​URB R PL  720 Urban Economics3
M H R 611 Personnel Staffing and Evaluation3
ACCT I S 710 Managerial Accounting3
MARKETNG 755 Marketing in a Digital Age3
MARKETNG 715 Marketing Communications3
CSCS 400 Philanthropy and Civic Engagement3
CSCS 460 Civil Society and Community Leadership3
CSCS 501 Special Topics1-3
PUB AFFR 820 Community Economic Analysis3
URB R PL/​C&E SOC/​SOC  617 Community Development3
First Year
Foundation Course (Option #1 or #2)3Foundation Course (Option #1 or #2)3
M H R/​CSCS  7422M H R 7233
M H R 7463M H R/​CSCS  7431
M H R 799 (Leadership Practicum)1M H R 7472
Elective #13Elective #33
Elective #23Elective #43
 15 15
Total Credits 30

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above of required or elective courses from the undergraduate work completed at UW–Madison towards fulfillment of minimum degree and minor credit requirements. However, this work would not be allowed to count toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above. 

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval and payment of the difference in tuition (between special and graduate tuition), students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 700 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to the master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


The Graduate School regularly reviews the record of any student who earned grades of BC, C, D, F, or Incomplete in a graduate course (300 or above), or grade of U in research credits. This review could result in academic probation with a hold on future enrollment or in being suspended from the Graduate School.


Every graduate student is required to have an advisor. To ensure that students are making satisfactory progress toward a degree, the Graduate School expects them to meet with their advisor on a regular basis.

In many cases, an advisor is assigned to incoming students. Students can be suspended from the Graduate School if they do not have an advisor. An advisor is a faculty member, or sometimes a committee, from the major department responsible for providing advice regarding graduate studies.

A committee often accomplishes advising for the students in the early stages of their studies.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.


Students must be enrolled full-time.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Bolz Center Resources

Students have a multitude of opportunities to pursue professional development, both within the programs, as well as across campus.  In the Bolz Center, students will be part of the biennial Bolz Center Collegium, a professional development and alumni event, which boasts national/international field and industry speakers and workshops.  We also provide opportunities for our students to participate in events including Madison Nonprofit Day, WI Arts Advocacy Day, and the UW Fundraising and Development Workshop each year.  Additional speakers and guests visit the center for one-day convenings and seminars, and we host site visits where we visit these industry leaders in their home cities and organizations.

  1. Explore and apply foundational knowledge in arts and business topics in non-profit and entrepreneurial contexts that include evidence-based decision-making, cultural sensitivity and artistic integrity.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of strategic frameworks and their use in mission-based organizations and agencies to interpret data and executive on evidence-based plans.
  3. Lead and manage teams effectively in a variety of cross-sector cultural settings, using the tools of organizational analysis, community development and placemaking and program evaluation.
  4. Engage in ethical decision-making that is sensitive to and informed by a diverse group of stakeholders, when developing and advancing plans of strategy, fund development, entrepreneurial action and evaluation.
  5. Successfully share their ideas with a diverse set of constituents and stakeholders through group facilitation methodologies, as well as employing frameworks for informative, persuasive and inspired communications.
  6. Build cross-sector professional networks by providing volunteer service to the field and working within and across arts/creative enterprises and/or relevant communities.

The Wisconsin School of Business at UW–Madison has been building artful leaders for over 50 years. The Bolz Center for Arts Administration supports the oldest and longest running graduate program in arts administration in the world.

The Bolz Center is committed to training leaders who are curious, life-long learners. Through focused curriculum, discussion, research, and analysis of arts and cultural nonprofit management, the Bolz Center refines our collective understanding of what it means to manage and lead in this challenging, rewarding, and ever-changing field.

The Center also serves as a model for exploration through consulting projects, national initiatives, and experiences that engage our alumni and colleagues around the world.

Please see the Bolz Center’s website for a list of program leaders.


AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

Accreditation status: Accredited. Next accreditation review: 2021–2022.