Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Public Administration - Traditional Program

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

College: College of Liberal Arts & Communication

Department: Political Science

The traditional mode of the MPA program is compact, yet extremely internationally diverse. There are two tracks for the program: public management and nonprofit management. With no GRE required, the A-State MPA is one of the lowest-cost, NASPAA-accredited programs in the U.S. Graduate housing is available on campus as well. In addition, a new 4+1 program allows current A-State students to begin taking MPA courses in their senior year, thereby graduating with their master’s degree only one year after completing their bachelor’s degree.

MPA Program Guide
MPA Internship Guide

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 an online application, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement on why you want an MPA.

    Moreover, an applicant's undergraduate background must include courses with grades of "C" or higher in American National Government and Principles of Economics 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 prior to or during the first graduate enrollment period.

    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)

    Requirements for Either Type of Admission:

    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Personal Statement on why you want an MPA
    • Signed Code of Conduct & Civility (See current MPA Guide)

    Additional admissions information:

    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 Program Website >>

  • 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

  • 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.

    Visit the bulletins page >>

  • Faculty

    Catherine Reese


    Dr. Catherine Reese

    Professor of Public Administration

    M.P.A. Director

    Phone: (870) 972-3428 Office: HSS, 3040


    William McLean


    Dr. William McLean

    Chair of Department of Political Science

    Associate Professor

    Phone: (870) 972-2104 Office: HSS, 3007


    Clifford Blumberg


    Dr. Clifford Blumberg

    Assistant Professor of Political Science

    Phone: (870) 972-3048


    Amy Buzby


    Dr. Amy Buzby

    Associate Professor of Political Science

    Phone: (870) 972-2217 Office: HSS, 3046


    Donna Handley


    Dr. Donna Handley

    Professor of Public Administration


    David Harding


    Dr. David Harding

    Associate Professor of Political Science

    Phone: (870) 972-2112 Office: HSS, 3044


    Darrel Phillips


    Darrel Phillips

    Instructor of Public Administration

    Office: HSS, 3015


    Peggy Wright


    Peggy Wright

    Instructor of Political Science

    Director of Delta Studies Program

    Phone: 870-680-8214 Office: Liberal Arts and Communications, 3054


  • Program Statistics

    job placement traditional

    job placement online

    job placement both

    internship both

    completion rates

  • Arkansas Public Administration Consortium (APAC)

    APAC offers specialized, affordable, professional training and training-related services in management, leadership, and other areas for state, county, and local government, and for nonprofit organizations and those engaging volunteers. Not only is our professional training an affordable alternative to the out-of-state seminar providers, but also dedicated to providing the needs of Arkansas government and nonprofit agencies through services designed specifically for Arkansas, and tailored to the wants and needs of each agency.

    For more information, please contact Shelle Stormoe at sbstormoe@ualr.edu or 501-569-3090.

    Website: www.ualr.edu/apac

  • Tuition Cost & Other Links
  • Traditional MPA Program: Contact FAQ

    Trad MPA Program: Contact FAQ


    Q. What are the pre-requisites for the program?

    A. POSC 2103 Introduction to U.S. Government and ECON 2333 Economic Issues & Concepts (or similar, or higher) with grades of “C” or better are both required to be taken either prior to or during the first two semesters of the program. These are background courses that the MPA Committee believes will enhance your chances for success in the program.

    Q. How do I find out when courses will be offered?

    A. Either on the ASU website, or there is also always a paper copy of the course schedule for the department on the wall outside the main Political Science office on the 3rd floor of the HSS Building. Also the regular course rotation is in the MPA Policy document.

    Q. What do I need to do to register for courses each term?

    A. You will have an advising hold on your account each semester. As registration time for the following semester gets close, email or stop by during Dr. Reese’s office hours, or make an appointment via email. Please note that whenever you email in order to register, you must give your name and your student ID number. It is helpful if you have an idea of what you want to take. This process needs to be followed every semester. Also, it is to your advantage if you get cleared for registration early. Do not wait until January to register for Spring! Do not wait until August to register for Fall! The courses might be full if you wait! Once Dr. Reese has submitted the advising hold release request to the department’s Administrative Assistant; any subsequent issues may be resolved via email to Vickie Gilmer at vgilmer@astate.edu. Dr. Reese and the Administrative Assistant work as a team to ensure that you are cleared for registration. Once that happens, and the first date of graduate registration occurs, you may register on your own whenever you wish.

    Q. What is the order in which I should take courses?

    A. The MPA program is designed so that you may take your courses in any order with the following exceptions (once your pre-requisites have been completed; see above). First, we strongly urge that you take Seminar in Public Administration in either your first or second semester. Second, the internship (if you need it; see below) may not be taken before you have completed at least 18 hours of coursework (with a minimum 3.0 GPA). Third, the MPA Capstone Experience must be taken in your final semester. Please also see the standard course rotation as shown in the MPA Policy document. Please also note that you must take either Public Budgeting & Finance or Administrative Ethics in your first Spring in the program. This is because they are typically offered on the same night of the week; therefore, you cannot leave both until the very end of your program.

    Q. Can I take some of my courses in the Online MPA program?

    A. No. Financial aid regulations require that you choose one program or the other and stick with it.

    Q. Can I just do an independent study instead of taking one of the required courses?

    A. No. The courses were carefully selected by the MPA Faculty with the advice of the MPA Advisory Board and under the guidance of NASPAA, our national accrediting body. Allowing substitutions potentially weakens the program.

    Q. What if the last course I need is not scheduled until next year though?

    A. As a part of your regular advising, you will be required to complete a degree plan/checksheet in conjunction with Dr. Reese by the end of your second semester. This Mid-Program Review should eliminate such problems as coursework being nearly completed with one course remaining that is not offered until the following year.


     Q. I know that Arkansas State University requires that I take comprehensive examinations in order to graduate with a master’s degree. When and how do I do that?

    A. Effective Summer 2013, the comprehensive examinations (“comps”) are included in the MPA Capstone Experience course, which is taken in your final semester.

    Q. What is included in the MPA Capstone Experience course?

    A. At present, the Capstone course involves completing a set of reflective exercises each week (over 7 weeks—Capstone lasts for the first 7 weeks of Fall, Spring or Summer semester).

    Q. Can I take the MPA Capstone Experience one semester early?

    A. Generally, no. See below.

    Q. Can I just take the MPA Capstone Experience two semesters early? A. No! The capstone is designed to be the culminating experience of your degree. The case studies to which you must respond are selected by the MPA Faculty and will draw from all of your required subjects.


    Q. If I walk at graduation, will I see some of my professors?

    A. Yes, usually you will see most of us. Most of us attend most graduations. Those of us who attend graduation always congregate up in the reception area following the ceremony for at least 20 minutes. We hope that you will come up to see us and we would love to take pictures with you!

     Please Note: If any of these are unclear or if you have suggestions for other Q/As that should be on here, please let Dr. Reese know at ccreese@astate.edu     Thank you!

  • Mission Statement

    The MPA Program at Arkansas State University exists to enhance individual, organizational, social and governmental capacity in the public and non-profit sectors by equipping pre-service and mid-career students with sound management skills and public/non-profit philosophy to lead public institutions of the future with integrity, innovation, excellence and professionalism.


More information >>