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Students who graduate with a master’s in entertainment management can find work as agents and managers for artists, actors, dancers, comedians, musicians, athletes, and other performers in the entertainment business. They can also pursue careers in producing, directing, advertising, event management, meeting and event planning, marketing, public relations, venue management, talent acquisition, and other related occupations.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for an event planner in 2021 was $52,560, while public relations specialists made an average of $62,800 annually. Producers and directors make about $79,000 per year. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the average cost of a master’s program at a private institution in 2020-21 was $26,621. Full-time students taking an on-campus program can typically complete it in two years, but online programs can often be completed in less time.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Entertainment Management Program

Choose your area of study

Since entertainment is such a broad industry, a degree in entertainment management applies to many career paths. So, before looking for a program, it’s a good idea to know what area of the business you’d like to work in. It may be sports, art, television, theater, event management, venue management, public relations, marketing, or another field in the entertainment industry. Think about what career you’d like to pursue after graduation, and use that to help you choose your area of study.

Research schools and programs

Once you’ve decided on your area of study, it’s time to start researching schools and programs. Keep in mind that degrees in entertainment management have different names. For example, you may see some degree titles that include art, sports, television, media, or something else.

Along with researching the names of the different degrees, look for programs that have concentrations that align with your career path. Some MBA programs offer a concentration in entertainment management. If you’d like to do an internship, check to see what’s available and what businesses the school is connected with. You want to be sure you’re getting experience in the field you’d like to work in after graduation.

The school you choose is also important, so take some time to do additional research. Here are some other factors to consider:

  • Some graduate students study full time, while others work and have family responsibilities and can study only on evenings and weekends. What study options are available? Not all schools offer a part-time option.
  • Does the program start at the same time as on-campus programs, or are several start dates available throughout the year?
  • Along with start dates, find out if the program is synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of both. You may have a lifestyle need or preference in this area. If the curriculum includes live classes and lectures, are you able to attend? If not, are video recordings available? How much control do you need to have over your study schedule?
  • Check the program’s tuition. This may be a factor in determining which programs will be best for you.
  • Where is the school located? Degree programs are often available entirely online, with no on-campus requirements at all, so location isn’t a factor. Others offer a hybrid option, where students can attend some courses in person at the university. This affords them opportunities to work more closely with fellow students and instructors. Proximity to the school also means students can get more involved in student clubs and organizations, on-campus events, and other activities. If these are important to you, you may want to choose a school that is near your home.
  • Check to make sure the university is accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This is important, as it can determine what financial aid is available to you, employment opportunities after graduation, and if you choose to further your education, what postsecondary programs you’re eligible for.

Prepare for tests and applications

Entrance exams are generally not necessary for graduate programs. Most universities require that applicants already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in a related field.

Applicants should submit transcripts along with the application. Usually, prospective students also need to submit resumes, one or more letters of recommendation, and a few short essays explaining why they want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. GRE scores may also be required. Minimum test scores and GPA numbers can vary from program to program.

Select your program

When selecting a program, review the research you’ve done and consider the features of each one. You may have a favorite, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be accepted to that one, so look at other options as well. Make a list of all the programs you’d enroll in, and put them in order of preference. Apply to all the schools on your list. From the acceptance letters you receive, choose the school that’s highest on your list.

Determine how you’ll pay for your degree

Be sure to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), check into scholarships offered by the university or other institutions, and find out what other grants or loans are available. Students are often able to finance their degrees through the university. Some schools let students pay as they go, so they only pay for one or two courses at a time as they work through the program. Check the school’s website to see if work-study programs are available. If your schedule allows, you can also work part-time to help pay for your degree.

Best 50 Accredited Online Master’s in Entertainment Management Programs

Best Online Master's in Entertainment Management Degree Programs

University of Miami

Colorado State University Graduate School

The New School

Drexel University

Southern Connecticut State University

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How We Rank Schools

We focused our research on graduate degrees in management for media, entertainment, and related fields. Our list includes degrees such as Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Business Administration (MBA).

A key eligibility criterion for this list is that programs are offered completely or mainly online. In circumstances where coursework is offered both online and on-campus, students can complete their degree through a combination of distance learning and in-person classes.

All of the schools on our list have either regional or national accreditation. Some programs also have programmatic accreditation through organizations like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Once we found programs that met our criteria, we evaluated them based on their reputation, faculty, flexibility, outcomes, and cost. Based on these evaluations, we assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

What Can You Expect from an Online Master’s in Entertainment Management Program?

In an online master’s program in entertainment management, students learn to work behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. This degree combines business acumen with creativity, and students will develop the skills needed to lead teams as well as work in the marketing, negotiation, and managerial side of things. A master’s degree in entertainment can be an MA, MS, or MBA.

Many universities offer entirely online programs. All course material is delivered via an online learning platform such as Blackboard, Canvas, or Moodle. On these platforms, an individual student portal allows students to access the course syllabus, schedules, reading and audio-video material, lectures, and grades, and they will receive and submit class assignments via the portal as well. The platforms also feature chats and message boards so students can keep in contact with one another and instructors.

Potential courses you’ll take in an online master’s degree in entertainment management program

  • Negotiation. Whether discussing contracts for high-profile celebrities or terms for an entertainment venue, negotiating skills are essential in the entertainment business. In this course, students learn tried-and-true strategies as well as new, innovative techniques for getting the most out of any deal.
  • Script and story analysis. The difference between a hit play or show and one that flops is often the script or story idea. In this course, students develop a better understanding of dialogue, plot, setting, symbolism, themes, and various literary elements.
  • Financial management in live entertainment. For those interested in working the business side of things, this course teaches students how to create detailed budgets for live arts and entertainment events. They learn how to make different kinds of events safe, fun, and profitable.
  • Legal issues. Whether you’re managing a celebrity, running a live entertainment venue, or running a television station, there are always legal issues to deal with. Various courses dealing with the law teach students about contracts, clauses, salaries, privacy issues, and much more.

Online Master’s Degree in Entertainment Management Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to an online master’s degree in entertainment management program?

Most universities require that applicants of this graduate program already have a bachelor’s degree, and admission is possible if it’s in an unrelated field. Applicants may have to complete an interview with an admissions advisor or professor.

Some entertainment management programs require that applicants have a GPA of at least 3.0, and transcripts should be submitted along with a resume, letters of recommendation from former professors, and a personal statement or essays, if required. Those with a lower GPA may be admitted on a per-case basis. It’s always best to speak with an admissions counselor before applying.

How much does an online master’s degree in entertainment management cost?

An online master’s degree in entertainment management can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $31,000. Tuition is often lower for students who reside in the same state as the university, but online students may pay the same tuition as in-state students. Expect some additional expenses for books, software, and other technology-related items.

How long does it take to earn an online master’s degree in entertainment management?

A master’s in entertainment management, depending on the school, requires anywhere from 30-49 credits, and most full-time students complete the program in two years. Some accelerated online programs allow students to complete the degree in about 18 months.

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