Why I’m Pursuing My Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration

Student Stories Communications & Digital Media

Growing up in Boston, surrounded by dozens of top universities, it was difficult to commit to just one field of study. There were so many paths I envisioned pursuing that would build on my undergraduate background of writing, studio art, and communications. I landed an internship in documentary film while in school and followed that track for two years post-undergrad before deciding to pursue my passion for ceramics and mixed media.

My ultimate career goal was always to advance to a higher-level position within an art-centric organization, which was not a realistic possibility in the small world of documentary film. This led me to begin considering a career move into higher education in order to expand my professional skillset. I was lucky enough to secure a position as the administrative assistant for Northeastern’s College of Engineering Cooperative Education department.

I first learned of the Graduate Certificate in Arts Administration after attending a few of Northeastern’s College of Arts, Media and Design’s (CAMD) graduate open houses. The certificate program was immediately appealing since it offered the flexibility of online courses with a condensed timeline of four courses in total. This type of program combined my career interests in the field of art with my administrative skills.

I learned from Jane Amidon, CAMD’s associate dean for graduate programs and research, how the program came to fruition through in-depth studies and input from Boston art community leaders, including the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts.

I am currently in my last class for the Arts Administration certificate, and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The final experiential course builds nicely off the others by allowing me to apply new knowledge of the field in a real-world way—working to create proposals for actual community organizations.

Through my journey, I’ve gained skills in information technology, leadership, and professional planning within for-profit and nonprofit organizations. I value the diversity of learning from different professors who have years of experience in all aspects of the field. Each course was unique in its content but complemented the overall mission of the program.

Admittedly, I was nervous to jump back into studying after a few years working outside the classroom, but the online flexibility and building block structure of the certificate program allowed me to realistically balance my responsibilities.

I discovered I preferred the intimate nature of the online classroom and unique support each instructor provided my class via email, Skype, phone, or in-person meetings. I managed group projects with classmates from all over the world and learned the invaluable skill of collaborating in a remote environment. I found these aspects unexpected, but they only added to my overall education and validated my choice to pursue a certificate program before embarking on a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts.

Through my experience with the Arts Administration certificate, I was able to get my feet wet in terms of rejoining the classroom post-undergrad, pursuing my greater career aspirations, and discovering the range of my creative interests. The certificate awarded me the unique opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in the arts before applying to the larger commitment of an MFA program. I recommend other prospective students consider the option of a certificate since it can help reassure your personal and professional goals.