Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Public Administration

Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

College: College of Liberal Arts & Communication

Department: Political Science

If you are passionate about contributing to the public or community sector, you have come to the right place.

Our fully online MPA program provides you with two tracks to choose from Public Management and Non-Profit Management. Our program doesn’t require the GRE, is NASPAA accredited, and one of the most affordable master’s programs in the country. With students from all over the world and nationally recognized professors, our MPA program will provide you with a close-knit family, bringing perspectives, passion, and knowledge from all around the world.

Additionally, if you are a current A-State undergraduate student and want to pursue an MPA after you graduate, you can do so by starting off during your senior year through our new 4+1 program. This program will allow you to graduate with a master’s degree only one year after completing your bachelor’s degree. For more information, see the “4+1 track” in one of the sections below.

Degrees Offered


Completion time



Master of Public Administration

Public Management/

Non-profit Management

Generally, 1 to 3 years (depending on hours you take each semester)

Full time/Part-time



The third floor of the College of Liberal Arts and Communication

The MPA is offered in traditional and online formats.

  • Admission Process

    To be considered for admission to the MPA program, in addition to meeting Graduate School admission requirements, applicants must submit the following documents.

    • A transcript of your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution inside or outside of the United States (A three-year bachelor’s degree is also considered with some conditions applied).
    • Three letters of recommendation are required. Two of the recommendation letters must be from a professor/instructor, while one can be from an employer or colleague who knows you in a different capacity. All the letters must contain letterhead from the respective institution.
    • A personal statement on why you want an MPA degree. Please feel free to explain your career goals, experiences, what you wish to achieve in life or any other information that supports your application.
    • For international applicants, a copy of IELTS test scores (minimum 6.0) or TOEFL test scores (minimum 79) is also required.

      Moreover, an applicant's undergraduate background must include courses with grades of "C" or higher in U.S. Government, Principles of Economics, and any undergraduate-level research methods course, or their equivalents.  If the student is deficient, these courses must be taken in addition to the graduate course requirements. Such undergraduate deficiencies must be completed during the first year of the MPA program by taking these undergraduate classes available at A-State itself.


    Addition to the required documents mentioned above, the applicants are considered on the following basis:

    Unconditional Admission

    Undergraduate GPA minimum 3.2

    Conditional Admission

    Undergraduate GPA minimum 3.0
    (conditional means you may not make below a “B” grade for your first year)

    Start Your Application:

    Traditional Graduate Admissions


    • Choose application type of Graduate Non-Doctoral.
    View the Graduate Admissions Website >>

    International Graduate Admissions


    • Choose application type of Graduate Non-Doctoral.
    View the International Graduate Admissions Website >>

    Online Graduate Admissions via Academic Partnerships


    • Choose application type Academic Partnerships Graduate.
    View the Online MPA - Public Management Program Website >>

  • Curriculum

    Two Program Tracks (3 specified courses in each area)

    • Public Management
    • Nonprofit Management

    Basic Program Information

    • Number of Program Hours: 36
    • Number of Courses Per Semester: 9 = full-time; 6=part-time


    Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

    For more information on Curriculum and degree requirements, check out the most current Graduate Bulletin >>

    Core courses (21 hours)

    • POSC 6563 Seminar in Public Administration
    • POSC 6003 Techniques of Research
    • POSC 6593 Human Resource Administration
    • POSC 6553 Public Budgeting & Finance
    • POSC 6613 Administrative Leadership
    • POSC 6623 Administrative Ethics
    • POSC 6573 Grant Writing Administration

    Track courses (9 hours)

    Public Management

    • POSC 6543 Administrative Behavior
    • POSC 6423 Public Financial Management
    • POSC 6533 Policy Analysis

    Non-Profit Management

    • POSC Non-Profit Management
    • POSC Non-Profit Fundraising/Financial Management
    • POSC Non-Profit Planning/Marketing

    Internship or Strategic Planning (3 hours)

    Every MPA student must take the Internship unless: (a) The student is classified as in-service (If a student already has 1+ years of administrative-level experience in the public or nonprofit sectors, then he or she is classified as in-service, is exempt from the internship requirement, and would instead take Strategic Planning) OR (b) The student chooses the MPA thesis option (only recommended if a student is planning on completing a Ph.D.)

    For more information, check the MPA Internship guide.


    MPA Capstone Experience (3 hours)

    The MPA Capstone Experience is designed to test and project your overall grasp of the public administration subject matter that you have studied by challenging you with a set of real-world problems in the field. It must be taken in the last semester of the program and will have a Pass/Fail grade.


    Thesis (6 hours)

    The MPA thesis is expected to consist of a systematic study, which contributes to the knowledge base of some aspect of public administration. Generally, the best MPA theses are those that analyze empirical data gathered to investigate a concrete issue, problem or hypothesis. Such theses are usually the most easily managed by the student and have the greatest potential for subsequent publication. The thesis is not recommended for MPA students unless they are planning on pursuing a Ph.D.

    Also, check out our MPA Program guide.

  • Program Statistics

    5-column vertical bar chart that shows how many students enrolled in the 2017-2018 school year (around 225), how many graduated within 2 years (around 70), how many graduated within 3 years (around 95), how many graduated within 4 years (around 95), and the total number of graduates (around 105).

    MPA pie chart that shows several different sectors of employment for 2021-2022 graduates by percentage.  The percentages are as follows:  US non-profit: 25.7%, US local government: 20.2%, International non-profit: 18.3%, Private Sector, but not research: 13.8%, US nat/reg government: 4.6%, Military Service: 4.6%, US state government: 3.7%, Status Unknown: 2.8%, Unemployed, seeking employment: 2.8%, Obtaining further education: 1.8%, Private Sector research: 0.9%, Unemployed not seeking employment: 0.9%

    MPA Internships


    • Islamic Association of Greater Detroit
    • City of Bend, Oregon Fire & Rescue Department
    • B.R.I.D.G.E.E. (Brothers. Reaching. Individuality. Determined to. Generate. Excellence in. Education.)
    • Memphis Parks and Recreation Department
    • Encircle Family and Youth Resource Center (Utah)
  • Tuition Cost & Other Links


    Financial Aid

    You may be eligible for federal financial aid; please see the university financial aid page for more information: https://www.astate.edu/a/finaid/.

    Graduate Assistantship

    Our program has three Graduate Assistantship positions for those enrolled in the traditional mode of the MPA program. These are competitively awarded by the MPA Director. Once you have been admitted to the program, you may apply for a G.A. position via the university application system here:



    Our program also has the new Stanley Vanagunas Scholarship, in honor of our first MPA Director, which is available for students enrolled in the traditional MPA and will be awarded in May for the coming academic year.

  • Useful Campus Resources
    • MPA Writing tutor –MPA program offers an access to a writing tutor who will help you develop your writing skills by providing feedback on your day-to-day writings. Please feel free to utilize this service when enrolled in the MPA program.
    • The Writing Center –The Writing Center provides qualified, friendly writing consultants who will help you at any stage of the writing process, or with any writing occasion, whether it be personal, academic, or professional. Click here to learn more (http://www.astate.edu/college/liberal-arts/departments/english-and-philosophy/writing-guide/writing-lab/)
    • Communication center – The Communication Center is equipped with a trained student coaches who will help you practice and prepare oral presentations for any assignment, project, or speaking opportunity. Click here to learn more (http://www.astate.edu/college/liberal-arts/departments/communication/communication-center/index.dot)
    • Career Services – Career Services provides programs and resources for students attending A-State in preparation for internship and career opportunities. We highly recommend students to utilize this service to advance their career. Click here to learn more https://www.astate.edu/careers/
    • Registered Student organizations – A-State has several Registered Student Organizations for you to get involved and develop your leadership skills while also providing your service to the campus. Click here to learn more https://www.astate.edu/rso/
  • 4+1 B.A. - M.P.A. Track

    The Department of Political Science offers an accelerated Master of Public Administration (MPA) track for undergraduates. Political Science majors at A-State have the opportunity to apply to this program, which allows students to graduate in five years with both an undergraduate and an MPA, after their sophomore year. This cuts a full year off of the standard path to an MPA degree.

    The 4+1 program, assuming the student completes a full course load each semester, allows the student to complete the accelerated degree by combining some of the coursework during your senior year with coursework towards the MPA degree. Undergraduates in the program enroll in graduate courses and receive simultaneous credit for the undergraduate equivalent of those courses. In the final year, students have completed B.A. requirements and work exclusively on completing the graduate degree. During this final year, therefore, students in the program can also apply for graduate assistantships.

    Admissions are selective, and applicants must submit the admission materials required by the Graduate School (http://www.astate.edu/info/admissions/graduate/how-to-apply/) and the following materials:

    • A Statement of Purpose outlining why the applicant wants to earn an MPA degree
    • A resume
    • An academic writing sample
    • Three letters of reference from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s academic potential

    Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and admitted students can begin the program during the Spring or Fall semester.

  • Faculty