There are two colleges in Arkansas that offer a Master of Public Administration program and are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA).
Through their graduate school, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock offers an on-campus program. Arkansas State University provides an online option that has no requirement to meet on their main campus at Jonesboro.
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Online MPA Programs in Arkansas
There is only one current NASPAA-accredited university that offers a Master of Public Administration completely online: Arkansas State University.
The University of Arkansas-Little Rock provides an on-campus program through their graduate school.
Arkansas State University
This online program through Arkansas State is a Master of Public Administration with a track in Public or Nonprofit Management. Those looking to achieve a higher-level position within law enforcement or the public sector in a quick amount of time should consider this degree. The 36-credit curriculum can be completed in as little as 18 months. Core courses in the program include Techniques of Research, Human Resource Management, and Public Budgeting and Finance. Program electives include Administrative Behavior and Public Policy Analysis and Evaluation. Culminating the program is an internship and a capstone project.
There are corequisite courses that can be waived if they have been met prior to pursuing the Master's degree: Introduction to US Government, Economic Issues and Concepts, and College Algebra. Up to nine semester credit hours can be transferred from a different NASPAA-accredited school. If the internship is not waived, that can only be taken after 18 credit hours of coursework.
Admission requirements for the MPA program regardless of track include an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher (or 3.2 GPA over the last 60 hours), three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement on the reason the student is pursuing this career. They must also have signed and agreed to a Code of Conduct and Civility, which includes taking responsibility for their own conduct, reject bigotry, and acknowledge that there is zero tolerance for plagiarism and cheating.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
The UALR Graduate School offers a Master of Public Administration that is designed to give students the needed management and leadership skills for any administrative position in various government and nonprofit sectors. 36 graduate credit hours are needed to complete the curriculum, divided up into 21 core credit hours and 15 elective credit hours, which includes a capstone seminar. Students that have no professional experience should take an internship, and those looking to pursue a doctoral degree should take a thesis project. The following courses are required in the curriculum:
- The Profession of Public Administration
- Public Organization Theory
- Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
- Public Financial Administration
- Public Policy Analysis
- Seminar in Public Administration
Example elective courses to customize the Master’s degree include Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations, Problems in Public Administration, Grant Writing and Fundraising, and Managing Public Disputes. In order to complete the program, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their coursework and completed the capstone seminar.
In order to get into the program at the UALR Graduate School, students need to hold a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline and need to submit the following: transcripts, GRE or MAT test scores, two letters of recommendation, resume, and a written statement that describes professional goals. Regular admission is considered for those that have a 3.0 cumulative GPA or better for their undergraduate degree (or if that was met in their last 60 hours of coursework). This admission level is required to be accepted into any graduate assistantship.
There is an advanced standing program offered that waives six credit hours worth of electives. Students eligible for this waiver must show their certificate completed in the Certified Public Manager’s program that is geared to higher-level managers. Another feature is opting for a concurrent degree with a Doctor of Jurisprudence through the UALR Bowen School of Law, with some courses in the MPA program are also approved in the JD curriculum.