Masters in Public Administration Programs in the State of Arkansas

Cole Neder

Cole Neder

Updated & Fact Checked: 04.25.2024


Studying for an MPA degree in Arkansas offers several perks. The state’s relatively low cost of living makes it more affordable for students, especially when compared to larger cities. Arkansas also boasts a strong sense of community, which can be beneficial for networking and building relationships in the public administration field.

As an MPA graduate student in Arkansas, you’ll find a variety of fun activities to enjoy in your free time. Arkansas is known for its natural beauty, so take advantage of the numerous hiking trails, scenic drives, and state parks. Places like Hot Springs National Park, Buffalo National River, and Petit Jean State Park offer stunning landscapes and outdoor activities.

Arkansas is also rich in history, with many historic sites and museums to explore. Visit the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, explore the Historic Arkansas Museum, or tour the Old State House Museum to learn about the state’s history. Arkansas hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, so be sure to attend some and experience the local culture.

From music festivals to food festivals to art shows, there’s always something happening in the state. Be sure to also try some of Arkansas’ southern comfort food, such as fried catfish, barbecue, and sweet tea, at local restaurants and food trucks. Overall, Arkansas offers a variety of activities and attractions for MPA graduate students to enjoy, making it a great place to live and study.

MPA Programs in Arkansas

Overall, pursuing an MPA degree in Arkansas can offer a rewarding academic experience in a supportive and affordable environment. The state of Arkansas has four educational institutions that offer MPA graduate degree programs, two of which are NASPAA-accredited. An overview of all institutions- including location, credit hours, and modality- are included here:

NASPAA-accredited MPA Programs

In Arkansas, NASPAA (Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration) accredited programs offer students the assurance of high-quality education in public administration. These programs adhere to rigorous standards set by NASPAA, ensuring that students receive a comprehensive and relevant curriculum that prepares them for successful careers in public service.

In Arkansas, students can find NASPAA-accredited programs that offer a range of specializations and flexible learning options to suit their career goals and aspirations in public administration:

Arkansas State University

  • Jonesboro, AK
  • Online

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCACSHLC

Modality: Online

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $363 (PCH)

Non-Resident Tuition: $665 (PCH)

Program Overview:
The fully online MPA program offers tracks in Public Management and Non-Profit Management, making it an ideal choice for those passionate about contributing to the public or community sector.The program is NASPAA accredited and does not require the GRE, making it accessible to a wide range of students. With affordable tuition rates and a diverse student body from around the world, students can expect a close-knit community that brings together perspectives.

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

  • Little Rock, AK
  • Campus

Accreditation: NASPAA, NCACSHLC

Modality: On-Campus

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $3,725 (PSR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $7,371 (PSR)

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at UA Little Rock equips students with professional management, analytical, and leadership skills, along with an understanding of public policy issues essential for management and policy positions in government and the nonprofit sector. The program is grounded in public administration theory and is designed for both part-time and full-time students, allowing for customization to meet individual career goals.

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Online MPA Programs

In Arkansas, online-only Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs offer students the flexibility to pursue their degree from anywhere with an internet connection. These programs provide the same high-quality education as traditional on-campus programs, with the added convenience of being able to complete coursework on a schedule that works for them.

Whether students are working professionals looking to advance their careers, or recent graduates seeking to enter the field of public administration, online MPA programs in Arkansas provide a flexible and accessible path to achieving their goals:

Southern Arkansas University

  • Magnolia, AK
  • Online

Accreditation: NCACSHLC

Credit Hours: 36

GRE: Not required

Resident Tuition: $6,894 (PYR)

Non-Resident Tuition: $9,810 (PYR)

Program Overview:
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program is tailored to develop leaders for roles in public service organizations. Students will gain a solid foundation in public policy, organizational dynamics, management principles for public service organizations, and the use of analytical tools for decision-making.

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Accelerated MPA Programs

In Arkansas, several universities offer accelerated Master of Public Administration (MPA) programs that allow students to complete their graduate studies in a shorter time frame. For example, Arkansas State University (A-State) offers a 4+1 program, which allows undergraduate students to pursue an MPA and graduate with a master’s degree just one year after completing their bachelor’s degree.

Similarly, Southern Arkansas University (SAU) also offers a 4+1 program for students interested in accelerating their MPA studies. These accelerated programs are ideal for students looking to fast-track their careers in public administration and enter the workforce sooner.

Affordable MPA Programs

Affordable tuition rates in Arkansas, such as those offered by Arkansas State University ($363 per credit hour for residents, and $665 per credit hour for non-residents), can have several benefits for students pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree. Affordable tuition rates reduce the financial burden on students, making higher education more accessible and attainable. This affordability allows students to graduate with less student loan debt, providing them with greater financial stability as they begin their careers in public administration.

All MPA Programs in Arkansas

School NameDegree Program NameStateCityNASPAA AccreditedOnline DegreeProgram Link
Arkansas State UniversityMaster Of Public AdministrationArkansasJonesboroYesYes
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public ServiceMaster of Public ServiceArkansasLittle Rock NoNo
University of Arkansas at Little RockMaster Of Public AdministrationArkansasLittle Rock NoYes
University of Arkansas, FayettevilleMaster Of Public AdministrationArkansasFayettevilleNoNo

What Types of Careers Can I Pursue With an MPA Degree in Arkansas?

Arkansas can be a good place to work with an MPA degree, especially for those interested in public service and community development. In Arkansas, there are several MPA-related jobs and professions that are unique to the state due to its specific needs and governmental structure. Some examples include:

  • Community Development Manager: Arkansas has many rural communities that require professionals to manage community development projects, secure funding, and implement programs to improve quality of life.
  • State Government Administrator: Working in various state government agencies, MPA graduates can play a crucial role in policy development, program management, and intergovernmental relations.
  • Nonprofit Executive Director: Arkansas has a strong nonprofit sector that relies on skilled leaders to manage organizations addressing social, environmental, and economic challenges.
  • Healthcare Policy Analyst: With healthcare being a significant issue in Arkansas, professionals with an MPA can analyze policies, manage programs, and work towards improving healthcare access and outcomes.

The state offers a lower cost of living compared to many other parts of the country, which can make it easier to live comfortably on a public sector salary. Overall, MPA graduates in Arkansas can find rewarding career opportunities that allow them to make a positive impact on their communities.

MPA Programs in Other States