Southern Arkansas University

Master of Public Administration
at Southern Arkansas University
SAU MPA student

I chose the MPA program to change the world. Since graduation, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several non-profits, perform research on health disparities in Arkansas, and have started an inspirational book. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Alicia Howell, MPA

SAU Alumna '18 '19

An SAU MPA is among the most affordable in the nation.

Average Graduate Tuition and Fees Per Year
















*Tuition and fees are calculated as an average of public four-year universities’ published tuition and fees. Source: Department of Education

Our programs are routinely recognized as the best value programs nationally. SAU offers out-of-state tuition waivers to students from Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas who chose to live in university housing or reside in a bordering Texas county or Louisiana parish.

About the MPA program

Master of Public Administration

Specific Degree Requirements

Each candidate for the master’s degree in Public Administration will be required to complete 24 credits of core courses, 9 credits of electives, and 3 credits of professional project.

Required Core Courses (21 credit hours):

PA 6003 Principles of Public Administration
PA 6053 Public and Non-profit Budgeting
PA 6063 Public Policy
PA 6073 Research Methods
PA 6083 Organizational Leadership
PA 6153 Public Personnel Administration
PA 6263 Program Evaluation

Electives (12 credit hours) selected from the following:

PA 6033 Rural Politics
PA 6043 Legal Issues in Public Administration
PA 6133 Nonprofit Organizations
PA 6183 Special Topics I
PA 6193 Special Topics II
PA 6253 Social Activism
PA 6273 Program Development, Grant Writing and Implementation

With advisor approval, courses outside of the PA program may be used as electives.

Required Project Course (3 credit hours):

PA                           6113                        Professional Project*


*Professional Project

All students are required to complete a professional project. This project is expected to incorporate the skills learned in the MPA program in a written product that is of use to a particular agency or organization. The student must receive prior approval in writing from the director of the MPA program before proceeding on the project. The student must be registered for PA 6113 during the term in which the project is completed. If a project is not completed during the term for which the student is enrolled, a grade of NC will be assigned. In order to complete the project the student must be enrolled for the credits during the term in which it will be completed. If the student is successful in completing the project a grade of CR will be assigned for the term during which the project was completed. However, any previous NC grades will not be changed and only the credits the student earned while enrolled in the semester that the project was completed will be awarded.

[su_testimonial name=”Sterling Penix” photo=”” company=”Associate Criminal Justice Professional”]After evaluating a number of MPA programs, I chose SAU. The SAU program and professors provide an excellent foundation for learning and student growth. The campus family works to ensure that each student is successful. Having graduated SAU Tech with an associate’s degree, it is a great honor to continue my story at SAU.[/su_testimonial]

Schedule subject to change

Summer I 2024

  •     PA 6253 Social Activism

Summer II 2024

  •     PA  6183 Special Topics: Public Technology

Summer I & II (10-week course)

  •     PA   6073 Research Methods
  •     PA   6113 Professional Project

Fall 2024

  •     PA   6003 Principles of Public Administration
  •     PA   6053 Public and Non-profit Budgeting
  •     PA   6063 Public Policy
  •     PA   6083 Organizational Leadership
  •     PA   6113 Professional Project
  •     PA   6183 Special Topics: State and local government
  •     SE    6263 Social Entrepreneurship*

Spring 2025

  •     PA  6003  Principles of Public Administration (on as-needed basis)
  •     PA  6153   Human Resources
  •     PA   6263  Program Evaluation
  •     PA   6073 Research Methods
  •     PA   6113 Professional Project
  •     PA   6273 Planning, Grant-writing, and Implementation

*SE students will have additional course requirements through the Business College while in the program


College of Liberal & Performing Arts

Hours Required: 36
Categories: Graduate
Completion Time: 2 years *

* Based on 2 classes per semester including summer

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) is designed to prepare individuals for positions of leadership in public service organizations. This program will provide a strong foundation in public policy, the organizational environment, the management of public service organizations, and the application of quantitative and qualitative analysis to decision making.

*International students are required to meet on campus monthly. Contact the MPA Program Director for more details.

Learning Goals

  1. Our graduates can communicate effectively.
  2. Our graduates are prepared to be personally and socially responsible citizens.
  3. Our graduates can think critically, solve problems, and make informed decisions.
  4. Our graduates can use technology and other methods to access and evaluate information, and use information responsibly, legally, ethically, and effectively.
  5. Our graduates have content knowledge in their chosen fields and the necessary skills to be successful.

public service, community, government, administration, leadership, bureaucracy, politics, organization, non-profit

Program Contact

What our students say

About SAU

Southern Arkansas University offers personalized tour visits, faculty and staff who care about student success, and a caring campus community. SAU also offers traditional and unique academic degree programs that are ranked nationally for quality and affordability.

Nestled in a quiet and beautiful part of south Arkansas, SAU is a great place to call home and to study a broad range of academic programs, including some unique offerings to the state and region. Along with boasting a complete college experience on campus, the University is a short drive from outdoor activities and is central to many regional hubs, such as Texarkana, Shreveport, Little Rock, etc.

Established in 1909, SAU has built on its dedication to student achievement and continues to grow, both on campus and online, with more than 80 degrees in four distinct colleges and the School of Graduate Studies.

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100 E. University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753-5000 Telephone: (870) 235-4000
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