Frequently Asked Questions

What is public administration?

Public administration is to government and nonprofit organizations 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 NASPAA’s FAQ website.

What is the MPA?

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

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. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 is required for conditional admission and 3.0 GPA for regular admission. Students with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.6 may be considered if he/she demonstrates extraordinary potential, has at least 3 years of relevant professional experience in public or nonprofits, and is recommended by the MPA Admissions Committee after a personal interview.

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 several weeks before the start of the upcoming semester. Applications are accepted for admission each term  (fall, spring and summer).

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. We do not offer any online MPA courses at this time.

How long will it take me to complete this program?

The data below show the completion rate for the cohort who entered the program during the 2012-2013 academic year:

  • Graduated in 2 years: 14%
  • Graduated within 3 years: 43%
  • Graduated within 4 years: 43%

    The majority of students who do not graduate within two years are typically part-time students whose job responsibilities preclude taking more than 2 classes a semester and, in some semesters, they can only take one course a semester.

  • How much will this program cost me?

    Tuition and fees for a full-time Arkansas resident student taking 3 courses a semester is $3,725. Tuition and fees for a full-time non-resident student taking 3 courses a semester is $7,371. Please note, that tuition and fees for non-residents from any state contiguous with Arkansas (LA, MS, MO, OK, TN, & TX) will be the same as in-state tuition. Click here for UA Little Rock’s tuition and fee estimator.

    Is financial aid available?

    Graduate students are eligible for various means of assistance that are outlined on the Graduate School Financial Aid website. Please also see the MPA Scholarship webpage for additional information.

    Can I transfer credits from another program?

    Students who were previously enrolled in another graduate program and were in good academic standing 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. However, MPA students are required to complete a capstone course in which students integrate the core knowledge, skills, and values acquired throughout their 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. Click here to see previous MPA student’s capstone projects..

    Are graduate assistantships available?

    The MPA program offers a limited number of graduate assistantships on a competitive basis. To apply for a graduate assistantship, please contact Dr. Jerry Stevenson at jgstevenson@ualr.edu. Applications for graduate assistantships are accepted during the spring semester for the upcoming academic year.

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

    Appointments are suggested but not required.  We encourage you to meet with any of our faculty, speak with alumni or current students, and perhaps visit a class. Visits can be scheduled by contacting the MPA Coordinator at jgstevenson@ualr.edu. Please allow at least one week to accommodate requests.

    What are my chances of getting a job when I graduate and where?

    The job placement rate for MPA students who completed the program in 2014-2015 is 82% and the employment status is unknown for 18% of the students.

    Employment Statistics for 2013 – 2017 MPA Graduates

    Where do MPA graduates work?

    Our MPA graduates are employed in the following organizations:

    STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENT

    • Arkansas Department of Human Services
    • Arkansas Department of Education
    • Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts
    • Lonoke County Prosecutor’s Office
    • Pulaski County Children’s Protection Center
    • City of Little Rock
    • Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research
    • Arkansas Department of Human Resources
    • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
    • State of Arkansas, Division of Public Schools
    • Arkansas Department of Information Services
    • North Little Rock School District
    • Little Rock Police Department, Neighborhood Watch
    • City of Little Rock, Mayor’s Office
    • City of Little Rock, Parks and Recreation
    • City of Little Rock, Port Authority

    NONPROFIT/NGOs

    • The Centers for Youth and Families
    • Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation
    • Heifer International
    • Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield
    • Arkansas Children’s Hospital
    • FirstGroup America
    • University of Arkansas Medical Sciences
    • Rockefeller Cancer Institute, UAMS
    • Arkansas Human Rights Commission
    • Youth Home
    • National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials
    • Glenwood Academy, Greater Chicago Area
    • Saline Memorial Hospital
    • Arkansas Osteopathic Medical Association
    • Winrock International
    • United Cerebral Palsy
    • American Childhood Cancer Organization
    • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
    • City Year
    • Our House, Inc.
    • Health Teacher, Inc.
    • Parent Institute for Quality Education

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

    • U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency
    • U.S. State Department
    • U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • U.S. Veterans Administration

    PURSUING ADDITIONAL EDUCATION

    • Clinton School of Public Service
    • University of Arkansas, Ph.D. in Public Policy
    • The New School, Manhattan New York

    PRIVATE

    • Zimmerman’s Sport Center
    • Walmart Global HR Operations
    • Attorney, Private Law Firm
    • State Farm Insurance
    • Maverick Trucking Company

    Higher Education Organizations

    • Hendrix College
    • University of Evansville, Illinois
    • Arkansas Public Administration Consortium, UALR
    • University of Central Oklahoma
    • University of Arkansas at Little Rock