The Cultural Policy Studies Option

The MAPH option in Cultural Policy Studies is offered in cooperation with the Cultural Policy Center, a joint program of the Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC). It is designed for students whose interests include a focus on the forces and institutions, both private and public, which shape the arts, humanities, and cultural heritage. The option serves individuals seeking careers in the public service area of the cultural sector (i.e., foundations or government agencies that support the arts); leaders and potential leaders of cultural organizations wishing to improve their understanding of the policy concerns confronting their sector; and students seeking to pursue doctoral work with a focus on the policy dimensions of culture.

Students taking this course of study will be introduced to the conceptual frameworks governing research on cultural policy, and will become acquainted with some of the basic tools used in cultural policy research, as well as with the data sources commonly used by researchers. Graduates should come away with a basic understanding of the features of the cultural sector, of the issues it faces, and of the governmental tactics (i.e., funding structures, property rights, censorship, incentives, etc.) being used to address these issues.


In addition to the MAPH Core, students will take four cultural policy courses, including an introductory course, a place lab course, and at least two cultural policy-related or public arts amd humanities electives. Students may petition the relevance of a specific course.They will also write a thesis on a topic broadly related to cultural policy studies and submit a digital copy of the thesis to the Master of Arts Program in Humanities upon completion.

Students are encouraged to visit the Cultural Policy Center's website for additional information, including course descriptions.

Student Profiles

Jane Hanna (MAPH '11)

Thesis title: "New Technologies, New Ways of Seeing: Smartphone Apps, Art Museums and Spectatorship"

"I was looking for an academic program which would allow me to have an interdisciplinary focus, combining my interest in the arts and humanities with my career experience in marketing, and assist me in my aspirations towards a career in museum administration."






Mike O'Malley (MAPH '14)

Thesis title: "'Tired of Pointing a Finger': How Artists Affect Equitable Urban Development"

"My thesis explores the role of the arts in economic and community development. Using case studies of two arts-based development projects, I examine the conditions necessary for these projects to succeed in balancing economic progress and social equity."