Arts & Culture

UK 1st University to Launch Online PhD in Arts Administration

photo of arts administrators at work at Explorium
Alumni of UK Department of Arts Administration work in local, regional and national organizations across the U.S.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 28, 2020) The University of Kentucky announces the launch of a new doctoral degree in arts administration created to prepare students for careers that envision, conduct and disseminate meaningful research in the arts and cultural sector. Beginning in the fall of 2020, the new Ph.D. will be the first completely online doctoral program in arts administration offered in the United States. The 46-credit hour graduate degree is designed to bring a new skillset to organizations focused on arts and cultural production including state and local arts councils; federal, state and local government agencies; academic institutions; large arts organizations; economic and community development organizations; and thinktanks.

“We are thrilled to be able to launch the first Ph.D. in arts administration in the United States at the University of Kentucky. The faculty spent four years designing the terminal degree in order to ensure we could contribute the highest quality curriculum; the most immersive, personalized and rigorous graduate student experience available online; and graduate students that are prepared to influence and shape arts and culture through sustainable, meaningful research,” said Rachel Shane, chair of the UK Department of Arts Administration.

The program’s 46-credit hour curriculum includes two core areas: arts administration and research methodologies. Students take five courses in each of the core areas plus courses in a research area that will support the dissertation process. Students completing the requirements will earn a Ph.D. in arts administration and a Certificate in Research Methods in Education.

"As the University of Kentucky boasts one of the strongest and oldest arts administration programs in the country, the launching of the new Ph.D. program is the next logical step on our educational journey. The online format will benefit working professionals who wish to pursue further education and will benefit the ever-expanding research profile of the College of Fine Arts through their dissertation work," said UK College of Fine Arts Dean Mark Shanda.

"With a highly competitive selection process for enrollment, we will be attracting the best and the brightest in the field to work with our remarkable faculty. Once they complete the program, the alumni will continue to be leaders in the field and will be a credit to the University of Kentucky's reputation as an excellent place to study and apply effective arts administration," Shanda added.

UK’s Ph.D in Arts Administration provides unique benefits to its students. The online program offers the time and location flexibility necessary for committed and engaged arts scholars to study in a rigorous degree program focused on field competencies and research methodologies. It also meets the needs of a growing arts and cultural sector, one of the largest exports of products of the U.S. (and one of the only with a trade surplus), supporting over 4.9 million jobs, and contributing $730 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). By contributing 4.2% to the U.S. GDP, arts and cultural production is a larger economic sector than agriculture, travel and tourism, transportation and warehousing, and construction.

“As an arts administrator, bringing art to a community is a craft within itself. The arts are a necessary part of our society, and one that is not often acknowledged for building vibrant, engaged and sustainable communities," said Joshua Austin, a graduate of UK's master's degree program in arts administration and communications director at The NewsGuild of New York, who is excited to apply for the new doctoral program. "Like many in this field, I want to provide opportunity, access and experience to those around me. The online arts administration master's program at the University of Kentucky challenged and equipped future arts administrators to initiate conversations, think strategically, and work with leaders to foster the arts and provide opportunities that have impactful and sometimes immeasurable benefits to a community.

"I’m thrilled to apply to the upcoming, first of its kind Ph.D. program to delve further into the influence of arts administrators. This program will allow students, already working in the field, to research, question, and innovate how we work as administrators and work with artists, community members and local leaders.”

Founded in 1987, the Department of Arts Administration at UK College of Fine Arts offers one of the most comprehensive curricula in the country. Dynamic and innovative, the department leads national and international initiatives in teaching, research, professional and community service to educate and inspire responsible arts leaders, artists and entrepreneurs.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.