Feb 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Arts and Nonprofit Leadership/Business Administration, M.A./M.B.A.

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As arts and nonprofit organizations today face a changing environment that presents both unprecedented opportunities and increased financial and competitive pressures, there is a need for skilled and resourceful administrators, managers and leaders. The SMU M.A./M.B.A. program in business and arts and nonprofit leadership is designed to address this need. It is based on the philosophy that a successful career in arts and nonprofit management requires a thorough knowledge of contemporary business practices coupled with both a deep understanding of arts and nonprofits and the ability to recognize and seize opportunities. Global exchange opportunities provide students exposure to the world’s diversity of arts models, trends and challenges. Students gain an international perspective through exchange opportunities and partnerships.

The SMU Meadows School of the Arts, in conjunction with the Cox School of Business, offers to a limited number of highly qualified candidates the nation’s only concurrent dual degree graduate program in arts and nonprofit leadership. Through the Division of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, the M.A./M.B.A. program combines development of contemporary general-management skills with in-depth study of today’s professional arts and nonprofit world.

The program is five successive terms, including summer. The curricula include instruction from distinguished arts and business professors, continuing seminars with nationally recognized arts and nonprofit administrators, and study abroad and internship components. During the first year, students take arts and nonprofit leadership seminars and the core required business curriculum, the basis on which to build for the variety of elective courses scheduled during mornings, afternoons and evenings of the second year. During the summer between the first and second year, students intern full time with a professional arts and/or nonprofit organization. In the first term of the second year, students may study abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Seminars and practica (part-time internships) in arts or nonprofit organizations tailored to the individual student’s background, experience and career goals round out the education. The division office also assists graduates in their career objectives through guidance and assistance with their placement.


The Admissions Committee seeks candidates who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and potential, leadership qualities, and management potential. To assess these characteristics, the committee will look to the following elements to help identify a candidate’s potential to succeed in the program: test scores (GMAT management/business graduate school admission test or GRE graduate school admission test; TOEFL or PTE English language proficiency test, required for international applicants), previous academic records, references who can speak to the candidate’s professional performance and self-evaluation essays. (If a candidate has not earned a baccalaureate degree in an arts field, a degree in another field combined with significant academic, professional or personal experience in the arts is acceptable.) Personal interviews are conducted at the request of the Admissions Committee after a complete application has been received. Merit-based scholarships are available on a limited basis.

The applications for full-time study in the M.A./M.B.A. program are accepted only for fall admission. Students must be accepted by both the Meadows arts and nonprofit leadership program and the Cox School of Business; however, candidates submit only the Cox M.B.A. online application and select M.A./M.B.A. as the degree choice. Students who matriculate into the M.A./M.B.A. dual program are required to complete concurrently both the M.A. and the M.B.A. requirements in order to graduate. Students cannot drop either part of the dual degree program nor fail to maintain a 3.000 GPA in each school independently as well as cumulatively.

For more information from the Meadows School of the Arts, students should visit www.smu.edu/Meadows/AreasOfStudy/ArtsManagement or email amaemeadows.smu.edu. Information is also available from the Cox School of Business (www.coxmba.com); email mbainfo@cox.smu.edu.

Degree Requirements

This 77-hour program requires 50 hours of business courses and 27 hours of arts and nonprofit leadership courses. Cox School of Business courses are organized into modules.

Year 1

Fall Term

Spring Term

Term Total: 18-26 Credit Hours


Term Total: 3 Credit Hours

Year 2

Fall Term

International Study

Courses at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy

  • Arts and nonprofit leadership electives: four courses (12 credit hours)
  • Business electives: 2 courses (4 credit hours)

Term Total: 16 Credit Hours

Spring Term

Module A and B Courses:

  • Business electives: seven courses (14 credit hours)

Term Total: 18 Credit Hours

Cox Credit Hours Summary for M.A./Full-Time M.B.A. Program

30 credit hours of required Cox courses
20 credit hours of elective Cox courses

50 credit hours total from Cox toward M.A./M.B.A. degree

Note: For the 20 credit hours of elective courses, students complete one concentration. Each concentration requires 12–16 specific credit hours.

Credit Hours Summary by School

Year Meadows Arts Cox Business
1 11 34
2 16 16
Total 27 50

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