Frequently Asked Questions

FAQS about the Arts Leadership program.


Each year, we enroll one cohort of 15-20 students. We generally receive over 100 applications each year. 

Yes. Several of our current students come from academic and work experiences other than of the arts. We welcome students from all backgrounds and are particularly interested in applicants that have a diversity of experience in a variety of non-profit, for-profit and arts environments. 

Applicants in our program typically come with some experience in nonprofit organization or comparable work or volunteer experience but applicants with diverse industry experiences are encouraged to apply. Students who have a broad range of arts experiences in a variety of organizations generally do best in our program. If you have questions about how your professional or academic readiness for the program, feel free to contact us with your résumé. 

Not for all students. The MFA Arts Leadership program only requires the GRE General Test from students who have earned degrees from institutions issuing non-graded transcripts. For more information, please visit the  Graduate Admissions website. 

Fall quarter syllabi are distributed to incoming students approximately a month before classes begin to allow students to purchase textbooks and begin any coursework required before the first class session.

The MFA Arts Leadership program starts at the beginning of the Fall Quarter each year. Please visit our Academic Calendar for the specific date. 

No. Because we are a cohort model, all students must start in the Fall quarter. If you are accepted to the MFA Arts Leadership program, but cannot start the following Fall, you can defer your enrollment for one year. 

Application deadline information can be found on our How to Apply page. Please make sure all of your application materials are submitted before that deadline for consideration. We accept applications after the priority deadline which are reviewed on a rolling basis, pending space in the cohort.

Yes. If you submit a complete application before the deadline, we will look at your application and make an acceptance decision as soon as possible. Application decisions are usually made within six weeks of the application deadline. 

We try to send our decisions within 6-8 weeks after we’ve received a complete application. Applications submitted around the priority deadline might take longer. 

Students are placed on the waitlist for a variety of reasons, including late submission, low GPA or less than two years organizational experience. Those on the waitlist will be notified of changes to their status as soon as possible. 

Please visit the Tuition and Fees website for the most up to date information about program costs. 

Yes. MFA Arts Leadership offers two types of scholarships for first-year students. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is the same as the priority application deadline. Please visit our Scholarships page for program-specific information.

No. You must submit all application materials as would any other applicant. The only part that will be different for you is submitting your transcript. Please see the Graduate Admissions website for more information. 

Though most Arts Leadership students choose to find their own housing, we do have some helpful information. Logan Court Townhomes and Murphy Apartments are both available through Seattle University Housing and Residence Life. While both are available for graduate and law students, they have limited space each year, and Murphy Apartments is also available to undergraduate students. Please visit the Housing website for more information about rates and applying. The Douglas Apartments is a privately owned and managed property located on campus for Seattle University students. About 30% of their renters are graduate and law students. Please visit their website for more information and rates. Seattle University has partnered with, a company that specializes in providing off-campus housing solutions for post-secondary students. This service is free for all students to use as an effective method of finding a place to live off-campus or finding a roommate. There are other privately owned off-campus options near campus, including Anthem Apartments and Apodments. Other search tools for apartments are Padmapper and Zumper

Program Details

The MFA in Arts Leadership is a two-year, 48-credit program. 

During the first year, MFA Arts Leadership students take classes Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer quarters. The Summer Quarter is 8 weeks long, and students a break of 4 to 5 weeks before starting the Fall Quarter of their second year. Second year, students take classes during the Fall and Winter quarters, and then spend their final quarter (Spring) working on their Summary Project and Graduate Management Practicum. 

A full-time course load is 7 credits each quarter, which includes two classes and a practicum. The final quarter is 6 credits—the Summary Project (3) and the Graduate Management Practicum (3). Classes generally meet once a week from 6-9pm. Classes can be scheduled Monday through Thursday, and occasionally on Saturday. Practicum scheduling is worked out between the student and their supervisor each quarter, but students are expected to spend at least 3-5 hours a week working for their practicum. 

Seattle University’s MFA Arts Leadership program is different because of its practicum program, where students apply their knowledge in arts organizations in the greater Seattle area. Practicums are required each quarter, not just during the summer or at the end of the program like other graduate programs. Our cohort model fosters collaboration, strong relationships, and teamwork, and gives students a built-in network when they graduate. Finally, many of our faculty are arts professionals currently leading arts organizations. 

The 9-credit practicum (one credit for six quarters and three for the final quarter of the program) allows students work in local arts organizations applying their learning to real world situations. Through these internships, students build on their classroom learning, gain valuable practical experience and develop lifelong relationships with the arts community. 

Up to 10 credits of comparable coursework from an accredited program may be transferred, with registrar approval. 

Please look at the current Academic Calendar for quarter dates. 

There is a break of 4 to 5 weeks after the First Year Summer Quarter before the Fall Quarter classes begin, approximately from mid-August to mid-September. 

Yes, if a life event prevents you from continuing full time, you may take one quarter off and resume your studies the following quarter, pending approval by the Program Director. 

Yes. Classes are held in the evenings so students can work while completing their coursework.

Please contact us for more information.

Full membership in AAAE (Association of Arts Administration Educators) means that the MFA Arts Leadership program has met their standards for curriculum, faculty expertise and student success. 

The MFA program is active in several national and international organizations including AAAE, TCG, ENCATC, STP&A, AIMAC, SAEE, ICCPR, and ACEI. In 2013, Seattle University and the Arts Leadership program hosted the 39th STP&A conference, “Arts & Culture: Creating Community in a High Tech World.”


Arts leadership programs prepare students to serve at the executive level or department head level of arts organizations or to create their own organization. Leadership involves setting a strategic direction for an organization, and we focus on the specifics of doing so for the arts.  

Seattle has a robust arts community and many of our alumni are serving at the leadership level of local and regional arts organizations. We regularly send out regional and national job listings exclusively to current students and alumni, hoping to give them an edge in the job search.

Our faculty actively support all students in their job searches while in the program and after graduation. Our students have access to ARTSearch  job listings, as well as career counseling and resume reviews by faculty members. 

Our alumni work throughout Seattle and the country, as you can see from our Alumni page. Organizations include the Pacific Northwest Ballet, MFA Boston, the Kirkland Performance Center and the Seattle Symphony.

International Admissions

This information can be found here. If it does not, please contact Graduate Admissions.

The CLB program is a Culture and Language Bridge program. More information on the CLB program can be found here.

Yes, all international transcripts need to be evaluated by an evaluation service before they are sent to Seattle University. Seattle University only accepts evaluations from Educational Credential Evaluators or Educational Perspectives. More information is available here.

Yes. Seattle University also needs an official (only considered official if they arrive in original envelope from the issuing institution or sent electronically via secured institution to institution system) set of transcripts, degree certificates and/or graduation certificates. 

International students have access to Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is a temporary work authorization for F-1 visa students. Through OPT, students can apply for jobs closely related to their field of study anywhere in the United States and work full time for up to 12 months after they graduate. For more information, visit the International Student Center website.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the program or application, we’re here to help!

Ashley Miller

Senior Admissions Counselor

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