Frequently Asked Questions

What is public administration?

Public administration is to government what business administration is to business – we prepare people to manage and operate government and nonprofit agencies. People with a master’s degree in public administration typically seek careers in public service as executives, managers, and analysts across a host of public sector organizations, including non-profit, federal, state, and local governments, think-tanks, public authorities, urban affairs, universities, financial management corporations, and many businesses and industries in the private sector. (For more information, please visit this website:

What is the MPA?

The degree is the Master of Public Administration (commonly referred to as the “MPA”). The UALR MPA program emphasizes skills and techniques that enable graduates to develop and implement policies, projects, and programs addressing important issues in their local, regional, state, national, or international communities.

How long will it take me to complete the MPA?

For those going through the program as full-time students, completing the degree can take as few as two years. But, since many of our students work and go to school part-time, the time to complete the degree takes longer than two years. To complete the program, students must complete 13 courses (or 39 semester hours).

What are the factors considered for admissions?

The admissions committee considers a number of factors in admissions decisions, including work experience, letters of recommendation, prior academic performance, the student’s goal statement, and GRE or MAT scores. Prospective students should know that the UALR Graduate School requires a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 for conditional admission, and 3.0 for regular admission.

How much does the program cost?

UALR’s graduate tuition is based on a per-hour rate. As of Spring 2014, tuition and fees for a three hour course is approximately $1,010. Detailed information concerning tuition and fees can be found at these sites:
graduate school tuition & fees –;
a tuition estimator –

Is financial aid available?

Graduate students can apply for financial aid assistance, but you must be a degree-seeking student in an aid-eligible program. Graduate students are eligible for various means of assistance; these are outlined on the Graduate School Financial Aid website at:

Can I do the program part-time or online?

Many of our students work full-time and choose to attend the program part-time, taking only one or two courses per semester. Courses are primarily offered in the evening or in a weekend intensive format. Additionally, some elective courses are offered through teleconferencing technology, enabling students who live outside of the Central Arkansas area to participate in class discussions.

Can I transfer credits from another program?

Students who were previously enrolled in another graduate program may have up to nine hours of work accepted toward the MPA degree. Acceptance of transfer credit is at the discretion of the MPA coordinator.

Can I take courses before being formally admitted to the program?

Yes, non-degree seeking students may enroll in some classes; this is an excellent way to explore the program and determine whether it is right for you. Non-degree seeking students are restricted to taking no more than six hours, or two courses, before enrolling in a program of study.

Is a master’s thesis required for graduation?

There is no thesis requirement for the MPA program. MPA students are required to complete a capstone course in which students integrate the core knowledge, skills, and values acquired throughout their MPA coursework and apply it to an actual project completed for an area government or nonprofit agency. The capstone course provides students a hands-on educational experience, while also offering them an opportunity to consult with and contribute their expert analyses and recommendations to a partnering agency that otherwise may not be able to afford these services.

Are graduate assistantships available?

The MPA program offers graduate assistantships on a competitive basis. To apply for a graduate assistantship, please contact Dr. Jerry Stevenson at Applications for graduate assistantships are accepted during the spring semester.

I want to visit campus to learn more. Do I need to schedule an appointment?

Appointments are encouraged, and we encourage you to meet with any of our faculty, speak with current students, or even visit a class. Visits can be scheduled by contacting Dr. Jerry Stevenson at Please allow at least one week to accommodate requests.

When are the application deadlines?

Admissions are made on a rolling basis, but in order to ensure admissions for a particular semester, we recommend that all application materials be received by July 15 for the Fall semester, November 15 for the Spring semester, and April 15 for the Summer semester.

For information on how to apply, see below, or visit the Graduate School website at:

How to Apply

The Application

Applicants must submit the following items directly to the UALR Graduate School:

  • Official UALR Online Graduate Application (available at
  • Official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate work
  • Official MAT or GRE scores
  • Official TOEFL scores (international students only)

Applicants must submit the following items directly to the MPA program (via Dr. Jerry Stevenson at

  • Written statement of educational and career goals
  • Resume
  • At least two letters of recommendation from faculty who can evaluate applicant’s academic performance

International students should follow the policies listed by the UALR Office of International Services website (

Application Deadlines

Applicants to the MPA program are accepted on a rolling basis. While there is no official deadline, applications do need to be processed and reviewed. It is recommended that students have their completed applications on file by July 15th for Fall admission, November 15th for Spring admission, and April 15th for Summer admission.