Apr 21, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 
Graduate Catalog

Public Administration, M.P.A.

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program provides professional management, analytical, and leadership skills and the understanding of public policy issues needed for management and policy positions in national, state, regional, and local governments and the nonprofit sector.

The curriculum combines practical applications and scholarly knowledge to provide an understanding of public management and develop the specific skills needed by governmental and nonprofit managers, analysts, and policy-makers. The program is designed for both in-service and pre-service students and can be tailored to focus on individual professional goals and career areas. For more information, please visit our website.

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally or internationally accredited institution. Applicants can be from any discipline or major.

Applicants must submit all of the application materials to the UA Little Rock Graduate School including.

  • Transcripts from all previous institutions
  • Test scores from either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test (MAT). Preferred scores on the GRE should be in the range of 153 for the verbal section and in the range of 148 for the quantitative sections. The preferred MAT score is 400.

All applicants should submit the following documents directly to the MPA graduate coordinator:

  • A written statement of educational and career goals
  • A current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

Work in other graduate or professional programs will be considered in making admissions decisions.

Regular Admission

Applicants will be considered for regular admission if they have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or better on a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or better on their last 60 hours of coursework. Students must have regular admission status in order to be eligible for a graduate assistantship position.

Conditional Admission

Applicants will be considered for conditional admission if they have achieved a GPA between 2.7 and 2.9 on a previous baccalaureate or graduate degree, or if they have achieved a GPA between 2.7 and 2.9 on their last 60 hours of coursework. Conditionally admitted students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in their first 9 hours of coursework in order to remain in the program. Conditionally admitted students completing their MPA coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or higher after their first 9 credit hours will become regularly admitted students.

Special Conditional Admission

Applicants with a cumulative GPA between 2.5 and 2.69 or in the last 60 hours who demonstrate extraordinary potential for professional achievement may petition the MPA Admissions Committee for special consideration if s/he has a minimum of 3 years of verified professional work experience in public service or nonprofit and is recommended by the admissions committee after a personal interview. Applicants whose petitions are approved by the admissions committee will be subject to the same requirements and restrictions as listed above for conditionally admitted students.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional UALR undergraduate students for any major or discipline may apply and be accepted into the MPA program and begin working toward their graduate degree while completing their baccalaureate degree. The accelerated 4+1 early entry program offers a streamlined process for graduating students within a short timetable for professional careers in public or nonprofit organizations.

Undergraduate students may apply and be accepted provisionally into the MPA graduate program any time after completing 75 or more hours of undergraduate course work. However, at least 90 hours of undergraduate coursework must have been completed by the time the first MPA course is taken.

All applicants must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA at UA Little Rock in order to be considered. Applicants must complete an Early Entry Program form, be interviewed, and approved for admission by the MPA graduate coordinator. The MPA graduate coordinator’s decision is final and cannot be appealed. The Early Entry form must be approved by the MPA graduate coordinator before the student begins graduate course work. Failure to obtain prior approval negates the ability to “double count” courses. Early Entry applicants must complete the online graduate application and be officially accepted into the MPA program and the Graduate School after the Early Entry form is approved by the MPA graduate coordinator.

Students must meet with the MPA graduate coordinator upon acceptance to map out and approve the course of study. Accepted students receive provisional status in the Graduate School, pending the award of their baccalaureate degree. If, at the end of the baccalaureate degree, the student has failed to meet the Graduate School admission requirement for the MPA program of 3.0 overall GPA, the student will be dismissed from the MPA program. Students accepted into the Early Entry program will be subject to the same policies as traditionally matriculated students. The Early Entry program may not be used in conjunction with the credit reservation program; therefore, no graduate courses taken before admission to the Early Entry program may be applied to the MPA degree.

Early Entry students will be required to enroll in only one course their first semester (PADM 7301 The Profession of Public Administration ), and they must make a B or better in that course in order to continue.

Early Entry students can only enroll in 12 hours towards their MPA as an undergraduate student. These courses will count towards both the baccalaureate degree and the MPA degree. Students must complete their baccalaureate degree before they complete 15 hours of graduate MPA coursework.

*Early entry students can enroll in only 12 MPA hours as an undergraduate.

Recommended Course Sequence

First Semester (spring or fall)

*The number of courses that the student is allowed to take during the 2nd semester will be based on performance in PADM 7301 .

Third Semester (spring)

Program Requirements

The public administration degree requires 36 graduate credit hours, which includes 21 required hours that includes successful completion of the capstone seminar PADM 7373 , and 15 approved elective hours. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA for all courses approved for the MPA program. In accordance with the Graduate School policy, students who fall below a 3.0 GPA will have the next 12 credit hours to raise their GPA. Students admitted conditionally must maintain a 3.0 GPA in their first 12 graduate hours of core MPA courses.

Students without professional, managerial, or research experience in public or nonprofit administration are urged to take a three-hour internship (PADM 8301  or PADM 8302 ). Students considering pursuit of a doctoral degree are encouraged to take a six-hour thesis project (PADM 8000 ).

Graduation Requirements

  • Successful completion of 36 hours of approved MPA courses with a GPA of at least 3.0,
  • Successful completion of the capstone seminar (PADM 7373 ).

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships may be awarded to students who have regular admission into the MPA program. Contact the graduate program coordinator for more information.

Advanced Standing Program

The advanced standing program allows middle- to upper-level managers who have completed the Certified Public Manager’s program (CPM) to pursue the MPA degree. Students who have completed the CPM must present a certificate that is signed by the appropriate authorities that indicates that all graduation requirements for the CPM have been completed.

Students admitted to the advanced standing program are required to complete all required courses of the MPA program and nine hours of electives as approved by the MPA coordinator. These students have six hours of elective course work waived in the MPA program.

*Early entry students can enroll in only 12 MPA hours as an undergraduate.

MPA/JD Concurrent Degree Program

The MPA/JD concurrent degree program is offered with the UALR Bowen School of Law. Students enrolled in the concurrent MPA/JD program may use specified courses to earn cross- credits that may be applied toward the fulfillment of both degrees.

Students must obtain admission to both programs to receive cross-credit. Once admitted, students must submit a Declaration of Intent to Pursue Joint Degrees form, specifying which program they intend to pursue first. This form is available in the MPA program and the School of Law admissions offices. Students are not considered enrolled in the concurrent program until both programs receive a copy of the completed form.

Current MPA program students may enter the concurrent program by gaining admission to the UALR School of Law and submitting a completed Declaration of Intent to Pursue Joint Degrees form to each program prior to completing the MPA. Students currently pursuing a JD must apply for admission to the MPA program prior to receiving the JD. These students are not required to meet the GRE or MAT admission requirements for the MPA program. LSAT scores are used in lieu of those test scores.

Once students are admitted to both programs and the concurrent degree forms are on file in both offices, cross-credit for courses is earned according to the following conditions:

  • Minimum grade of C in JD program cross-credit courses (up to 15 hours)
  • Minimum grade of B in MPA program cross-credit courses (up to 12 hours)

JD Courses Approved for Credit in the MPA Program

  • LAW 6203 Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • LAW 6249 Workers Compensation
  • LAW 6256 Civil Liberties
  • LAW 6393 Civil Liberties
  • LAW 6269 Employment Law
  • LAW 6279 State & Local Taxation
  • LAW 6283 Health Law
  • LAW 6387 Health Law
  • LAW 6300 Environmental Law
  • LAW 6318 Water Law
  • LAW 6343 Public Service Law
  • LAW 6357 Public Health Law
  • LAW 6361 Employment Discrimination
  • LAW 6372 Land Use
  • LAW 6374 Legislation
  • LAW 6375 Local Government
  • LAW 6399 Disability Law
  • LAW 6404 Mediation Clinic