Clinton School of Public Service

Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

Sturgis Hall, (501) 683-5200, website

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (UACS) was established by the University Board of Trustees on January 29, 2004, as a new academic unit within the University of Arkansas (UA) System. The Master of Public Service (MPS) degree program is accredited through a consortium among the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF); the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR); and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Vision of Professional Public Service

  • We believe in the right of all individuals, without exclusion, to participate fully and democratically in the social, cultural, economic, and political systems that affect their lives. Therefore, professional public servants must understand, engage, and transform these complex systems to ensure equity, eliminate injustice, and effect positive social change.
  • We believe in the right of all individuals to reach their full potential and to embody the spirit of democracy. Therefore, public servants must join with those who are marginalized so they are advocates for bettering their own lives and developing their own communities.
  • We believe in moral leadership that includes integrity, compassion, and a commitment to social justice. Therefore, public servants must listen to and learn from diverse groups, compromise and build alliances, and take strategic and decisive action to advance the common good.


The mission of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is to educate and prepare professionals in public service who understand, engage, and transform complex social, cultural, economic, and political systems to ensure equity, challenge oppression, and effect positive social change.

We will realize our mission by:

  • Operating at the intersection of theory and practice.
  • Establishing, nurturing and maintaining a community of students, scholars, and experienced public servants.
  • Creating and sustaining partnerships and alliances with public, for-profit, non-profit, philanthropic, and volunteer sectors
  • Systematically evaluating the School’s effectiveness in fulfilling its mission.

The Campus

The UACS is located in the historic Choctaw Station of the Rock Island Railroad, now part of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. A generous grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust funded the renovation of the Choctaw Station, and the building was dedicated as Sturgis Hall upon its opening in Fall 2004.

Sturgis Hall has two classrooms fitted with advanced audiovisual technology, a commons, student lounge area, library reading room, administrative and faculty offices, student carrels, and conference areas. UACS has opened additional classrooms and office space in the River Market District of downtown Little Rock. UACS students also enjoy campus privileges at three UA System schools – UAF, UALR, and UAMS. To learn more about the UA System and our parent campuses, please visit the UA System website

Admission Requirements

A description of the admissions process and all admissions forms are available on the Clinton School website.

Admission decisions for the MPS and EMPS program will weigh the applicant’s academic background (courses and grades), graduate entrance exam scores, and commitment to community service and civic engagement. The successful applicant will have public service experience before, during, or following undergraduate studies. The UACS recommends, though does not require, that applicants have at least a 2.85 cumulative grade point average in their baccalaureate-level courses. The UACS embraces diversity and encourages applications from all regardless of age, race, color, gender, national or ethnic origin, political or religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or physical ability. The admissions process is self-managed. This means that applicants are responsible for ensuring all required materials are received prior to the stated deadline. This also means that it is the responsibility of applicants to review their applications, as a whole, to ensure applications convey experiences, interests, and strengths. (subsequently forwarded to UACS) is not acceptable.
In addition to the completed application, please submit the following:

  • Three short-answer essays. Please see website for required essay questions. (submit by mail)
  • A current résumé or curriculum vita that includes a description of public service experiences (submit by mail)
  • Official transcripts for all baccalaureate and any graduate/professional school performance (originals must be sent from awarding institution)
  • Graduate admissions test scores. The GRE and MAT (code 6368) and GMAT (code 9575) are acceptable in fulfilling this requirement, and scores should be sent directly to UALR. The LSAT (code 6368) may be used only when applying for the concurrent Juris Doctor/Master of Public Service degree program. Applicants are required to submit a photocopy of the official test score transcript by mail to the Clinton School, as well as submit the scores electronically using the appropriate submission code. Please use the appropriate code, as noted, when reporting scores. Scores more than five-years-old will not be accepted. Students who have completed a graduate degree are not required to submit graduate admissions test scores.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required: one addressing the applicant’s academic preparation, one focused on the personal characteristics that make the applicant well-suited for graduate education, and one affirming the applicant’s public community service record. All letters of recommendation must be accompanied by a “Letter of Reference” form, completed and signed by the individual writing the recommendation. The form is available for download on the UACS website.
  • An application fee of $50 (make check payable to UA Clinton School of Public Service)
  • Applicants must also be available for interviews in person or via video conference calls at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.
  • In addition to the above requirements, all international applicants, including resident and non-resident aliens, whose native language is not English and who do not have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and submit a minimum score of 550 for the paper-based examination or 79 for the internet-based examination. The test must have been taken within the two years immediately preceding the requested year of admission. Before any action is taken on an international application, applicants are required to submit both a photocopy of the official TOEFL test score transcript by mail to the Clinton School, as well as submit an electronic transcript from the Educational Testing Service (use UALR school code: 6368). Submit score transcripts both by mail and electronically. Completed international applications may also be asked to submit a Certificate of Finances prior to receiving an admission decision.
  • All students must be enrolled on a full-time basis.

Tuition, Fees and Estimated Costs

Tuition and fees are $400 per semester hour for residents and non-residents; an additional fee of $20 is assessed per credit hour to cover instructional equipment, technology, library services, and other miscellaneous charges. Additional charges may be assessed on the consortium schools (UAF, UALR, UAMS) for student activities, sports and recreational events, parking, housing, health services, and the like. Please visit the UACS website for more information.


The Clinton School awards financial aid in the form of scholarships. The amount awarded varies according to need, merit, and the availability of funds.

Master in Public Service Program Requirements

The MPS degree requires 40 credit hours for graduation. 29 credit hours are required from core and elective courses with the remaining 11 from practicum, international, and capstone.

MPS Curriculum (19 hours)

Core Course

CSPS 7115 Professionalism in Public Service (One credit hour)
A career in public service requires a personal dedication that leads to building stronger relationships, stronger communities and a more workable and responsive world. This seminar is designed to help students gain knowledge and experience to further their public service careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, political, volunteer or private sector work. The material in this course builds upon the knowledge and skill sets learned in the other courses and compliments the students’ ongoing fieldwork. The seminar will draw upon a wide variety of resources and activities in an effort to enhance the students’ personal and professional growth.

CSPS 7201 Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Public Service (Two credit hours)
Ethical and legal considerations shape every aspect of effective public service. This course will provide an overview of the primary ethical principles and legal concepts that guide difficult decisions in the public realm. Traditional academic study of ethical and legal theory will be combined with practical approaches to problem solving. Students will explore issues of economic, political, and social justice through case studies of current issues. Students will construct cases that are relevant to their own fields and present them to the class, identifying ethical and legal constraints on decision-making and implementation.

CSPS 7223 Foundations of Public Service (Two credit hours)
This course covers the history, contexts and practices of public service. Students will define public service in a global context and reflect on their past and future roles as public servants. The course will explore the various roles public servants play and the various contexts in which they practice public service.

CSPS 7303 Communication and Social (Ex)Change (Three credit hours)
Being an effective public service professional requires having the knowledge and skills to act in situations in positive and productive ways that allow for authentic participation by those who may be affected by policies, processes and actions. This course focuses on the constitutive nature of communication to create and maintain equitable social worlds. Students will explore various theories of democracy, civic participation, and public issue and policy formation, analyze case studies to understand the complexities of creating and maintaining equitable social worlds, and engage in exercises to develop effective facilitation skills.

CSPS 7331 The Theory and Practice of Global Development (Three credit hours)
This course provides an overview of three intersecting institutions, which will be useful when conducting public service in the global south, and democratizing societies. These institutions include the State, the market and civil society. Discussions begin with a lively debate between scholars over what development means and then moves on to explore the theories of why some countries are rich and some poor. The course examines the interventions from colonialism to globalization assessing the efforts of northern states, multi-laterals and non-governmental organizations as they attempt to solve the challenges of poverty, disease, conflict, famine, and gender inequality in the global south.

CSPS 7333 Program Planning and Development (Three credit hours)
This course provides students with analytical tools that enhance their skills in diagnosing problems and formulating solutions within organizations and communities. The underlying premise is that well prepared public service leaders can increase their effectiveness in contributing to the well-being of their communities by equipping themselves with these analytical tools. Instruction will focus on evaluating community assets as a balance to assessing community need. Underlying values of social justice and collaborative problem-solving provide a benchmark for these activities.

CSPS 7334 Program Evaluation (Three credit hours)
This course builds on the skills students gain in Program Planning and Development and Field Research in Public Service. The primary objective is for students to learn and apply tools that are frequently used to determine whether public policies and programs at local, national and international levels are achieving their intended objectives. In this course, students learn how to use appropriate research methods to evaluate public and not-for-profit programs and entities (e.g., non-profit organizations, foundations, NGO’s), how to develop strategies for doing evaluation, and how to manage evaluation projects. Prerequisites: CSPS 7333 Program Planning and Development and CSPS 7334 Field Research in Public Service.

CSPS 7335 Field Research in Public Service (Three credit hours)
This course introduces students to the concepts and principles of field research and is taught in conjunction with their first semester of Practicum. Topics include the key components of collaborative field research, ethics in field research, developing a research focus and research question, conducting a literature review, gathering data and data management, and analyzing data and reporting.

Social Change Option (Three credit hours)

To earn these credits, students will have the option of several courses related to the dynamics of social change. Current offerings include:
CSPS 7310 Philanthropy Leadership and the Non-profit Sector (Three credit hours)
Philanthropic intuitions often aim giving toward major societal issues including environmental justice, quality education, race relations, immigration, health care and public health with the goal of helping individuals and communities in need. More foundations are widening their focus from just meeting needs to building sustainable local change. This course will explore community philanthropy as the giving and sharing from within communities that is characteristic of positive change and lasting development. It will examine the principles, standards and practices of community philanthropy and study the leadership role of foundations and nonprofit organizations in creating social change.

CSPS 7313 Dynamics and Complexities of Social Change (Three credit hours)
The purpose of this course is to help you understand the dynamics and complexities of social change processes, in both domestic and international contexts. We focus on the key theoretical undercurrents, strategic frameworks, debates and dilemmas, applications and case studies. Specifically, we examine contemporary praxis in organizing for social change in order to serve the public good, and reflect on the role of personal change and transformation in making such happen.

Field Service Projects

CPSP 7240 Practicum I (Two credit hours)
CPSP 7340 Practicum II (Three credit hours)
Prerequisite: Completion of CPSP 7240 with a grade of at least a C.The practicum is a year-long required course in the first year of the MPS degree program. The practicum is a field service course that places students in public service projects where students apply the knowledge and skills they are learning at the School. Field service projects work to address systemic issues identified by organizations such as the Arkansas Community Foundation, the Department of Health and Human Services and non-profit organizations. Students must complete both semesters of the practicum, two credit hours in the fall semester and three credit hours in the spring semester.

CPSP 7320 Capstone (Three credit hours)
Prerequisite: Completion of CPSP 7331 with a grade of at least a C. The capstone program is designed to provide students with an opportunity to integrate the knowledge and skills gained from course and field work into an in-depth final project. The capstone is carried out by completing a public service project that builds on the cumulative knowledge gained from experiences at UACS. Students have three semesters to complete Capstone once they enroll in the course.

CPSP 7330 International Public Service Project (Three credit hours)
Prerequisite: Grade of at least a C in all completed core courses. The international public service project is designed to provide a practical “hands on” experience in public service outside the U.S. or in a domestic setting with an international focus. The purpose of the project is to provide an opportunity for students to experience some type of public service that stretches the boundaries of their existing cultural and experiential world. Students will be expected to engage in a project that will build on the knowledge and skills developed in the first two semesters of the MPS curriculum. Working within the time frame of the summer session, the student is expected to make a substantial contribution in planning and implementing the project to which he/she is assigned. Three credit hours will be awarded for work completed satisfactorily.

Electives (Six hours)

The student’s faculty advisor will work with the student to choose a group of elective courses that are of interest to the student and that will be appropriate for the student’s future career. Elective courses help develop a specialty or concentration focus and have the potential to significantly sharpen the area of professional expertise. The faculty advisor will help the student concentrate on the overall learning objectives for these courses, integrating them with the practicum and capstone.

Concurrent Degrees

MPS/JD Concurrent Degree

Students at UACS and the UALR Bowen School of Law may pursue the Juris Doctorate (JD) and MPS degrees under a combined degree program which allows cross-credit for courses. The combined degree program offers a potential savings of credit hours in the total credit hours otherwise required for both degrees. A student in the combined degree program must complete all the requirements for the JD degree as specified by the Bowen School of Law and all requirements for the MPS degree as specified by UACS.

MPS/MPH Concurrent Degree

Students at UACS and the UAMS Boozman College of Public Health may pursue the Master of Public Health (MPH) and MPS degrees under a concurrent degree program which allows cross-credit for courses. The concurrent program offers a potential savings of credit hours in the total number of credit hours otherwise required for both degrees. A student in the combined degree program must complete all the requirements for the MPH degree as specified by the Boozman College of Public Health and all requirements for the MPS degree as specified by UACS.

MPS/MBA Concurrent Degree

Students at UACS and the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business may pursue the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MPS degrees under a concurrent degree program. A student in the program must complete all the requirements for the MBA degree as specified by the Walton College and all requirements of the MPS degree as specified by UACS.

Acting on authorization from the Provost’s Office, this page has been edited on March 1, 2018.