2017-18 Master of Public Service (MPS) FAQ

The Clinton School of Public Service is a non-partisan graduate institution in the University of Arkansas system, welcoming academically and experientially qualified applicants of all ages, ideologies, and backgrounds from all over the world. Located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center in downtown Little Rock, The Clinton School’s Master of Public Service (MPS) degree is unlike any graduate program in America, highly-affordable and heavily designed in actionable domestic and international experience.  The Clinton School also offers concurrent degrees in Business (MBA), Law (JD), and Public Health (MPH).

Starting in March 2018, the Clinton School will additionally be offering an online Master’s degree for mid-career professionals.  Information on the Executive Master of Public Service (EMPS) degree program (and corresponding FAQ’s for the EMPS) may be found HERE.

General Questions

  • 1) What degree programs are offered at the Clinton School?

    The Clinton School offers the first Master of Public Service (MPS) degree available in the United States. Additionally, concurrent degree options include a MPS/Juris Doctorate in collaboration with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Bowen School of Law), an MPS/MBA with the University of Arkansas (Walton College of Business), as well as two variations of the MPS/Master of Public Health in conjunction with the University of Arkansas School for Medical Science (Boozman College of Public Health). In order to be accepted into any of these concurrent degree programs, the applicant must separately apply and be accepted into both the Clinton School and the concurrent program of their choice. The 2017 Clinton School application deadline is January 20, 2018.

    The Clinton School also offers the Executive Masters of Public Service (EMPS), and entirely only program designed for mid-career professionals (applicants who have had at least 5 years of professional experience). Specific information on the EMPS can be found here: https://clintonschool.uasys.edu/emps/

    The concurrent degree options mentioned above will only work with the in-person MPS degree program.
  • 2) How do I apply to each concurrent program separately?

    For those Clinton School applicants who are interested in pursuing a concurrent degree, please complete the respective application for your desired concurrent degree program with whom we currently partner. Information about their respective applications, testing requirements, deadlines, and tuition costs can be found below.

    UALR Bowen School of Law: http://www.law.ualr.edu/ UAMS Boozman College of Public Health: http://www.uams.edu/coph/ UAF Walton College of Business: http://gsb.uark.edu/

    If/when a student has been admitted into both the MPS and their concurrent program of choice, the student may then plan to enroll into their respective concurrent degree course program/sequence.
  • 3) Where can I get more information on the Clinton School MPS curriculum and/or concurrent degree curriculum and course sequence/length?

    The Clinton School MPS degree is a full-time, two-year program. By enrolling in a concurrent program, an additional year or two (depending on the program) will be required to obtain both degrees. Detailed information about the Clinton School MPS curriculum and the three concurrent degree offerings can be found on our website at http://clintonschool.uasys.edu/academics/concurrent-degrees/
  • 4) What distinguishes the Clinton School MPS program from Public Policy and Public Administration programs available around the country?

    The Clinton School offers a unique blend of academics with practical hands-on experience. In fact, nearly 30 perecent of our MPS program’s total credits are earned through the three required public service projects in the field, conducted throughout the 2-year degree program: the group-based Practicum, the International Public Service Project, and the Capstone. The Clinton School’s distinct "real world" curriculum that educates people both in our classrooms and in the fields of service around the nation and globe, equips our students with a dimensional educational experience that is unlike any other master's program in the country.
  • 5) Are there any prerequisite courses required prior to applying to the Clinton School’s MPS program?

    Clinton School students come from diverse personal, educational, professional, political, and service backgrounds. The Clinton School highly values and seeks this diversity, and consequently, there are no specific prerequisite courses. In fact, within our Fall 2017 enrollment class, there were over 25 different undergraduate majors represented among the 43 enrolling students.
  • 6) Are there any web-based, Executive Masters, or certificate classes offered?

    Yes, The Executive Master of Public Service (EMPS) program builds on the success of the Clinton School Master of Public Service (MPS) which was founded in 2004 as the first graduate degree program in public service in the nation.

    The EMPS is a distance program, entirely formatted through online courses. Grounded in critical analysis and the formulation of program and policy options, the EMPS teaches students to build stronger communities by understanding, engaging, and transforming complex systems to ensure equity and create positive social change.
  • 7) How much is the total tuition cost for the MPS program? What additional costs must I also consider if I were to enroll?

    Tuition costs for the Clinton School’s MPS program are very affordable (especially when compared to similar Masters programs around the country). Currently, tuition costs are $400 per credit hour for both in-state and out-of-state applicants. Tuition for the entire two-year MPS degree is $16,000 ($400 per credit hour x 40-credit hours). Administrative Fees for the MPS program total $800 ($20 per credit hour x 40-credit hours). Therefore, the total costs of Tuition and Fees for the full two-year MPS degree are only $16,800. Estimated additional costs may include approximately $400 per semester for books, and between $5,000 - $6,000 per semester for living and personal expenses in the city of Little Rock.
  • 8) Does an out-of-state applicant pay more tuition?

    No, all applicants pay the same $400 per credit hour for all classes taught at the Clinton School. Elective courses taken at our other partner campuses are charged at the in-state rate.
  • 9) Can this MPS degree be pursued part-time?

    No, the MPS degree program requires a full-time commitment. Because our innovative schedule of classroom work and field work may vary somewhat from week to week, part-time pursuit of the program is not possible.
  • 10) Can students enrolled in the Clinton School’s MPS degree program have a job while pursuing their degree?

    Many of our MPS students work a part-time job (approx. 15 hours/week) while at the Clinton School, but the key to successful job/school balance will be the flexibility related to the part-time job. The time demands related to both the classroom work and our field work is significant, but varies from week to week. Consequently, many of our students would suggest that having a part-time job which allows flexibility of hours is extremely critical to maintaining both a successful academic record, and a reasonable school/life balance.
  • 11) Can I start the Clinton School MPS program any semester?

    No, the MPS curriculum track begins only in the fall semester. The current admission cycle is for Fall 2018 consideration.
  • 12) When does the program start each year?

    The Clinton School MPS program begins with a weeklong orientation in mid-August. All incoming MPS students are required to attend orientation. Classes generally begin in late August, during the week following orientation.
  • 13) When do I register for classes?

    All incoming MPS students are automatically registered for their first semester of fall classes in the required MPS Core Courses. Elective course options begin in the Spring semester of the first year and continue throughout the second year of the MPS program. Information on our Core Courses can be viewed at http://clintonschool.uasys.edu/academics/core-courses/
  • 14) What types of building facilities do Clinton School students have access to?

    The Clinton School is not located on a college campus, but is located in an urban downtown setting. The Clinton School MPS degree program hosts classes in Sturgis Hall (on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center) and in two different buildings in the River Market district of downtown Little Rock. In addition, students have access to the facilities of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (located 15 minutes away), including the pool and fitness center, Health Center, Disability Resource Center, libraries, and more.
  • 15) What type of elective courses are Clinton School MPS students able to take?

    A variety of Elective courses are available to Clinton School students enrolled in the MPS degree program. These elective courses cover a wide range of public service interests, and are taught by Clinton School faculty members, University of Arkansas at Little Rock faculty members, and special instructors from around the city. Students are also able to register for relevant graduate-level courses at outside institutions, if approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Information on some of the Elective course options can be viewed at http://clintonschool.uasys.edu/academics/electives/
  • 16) Can I transfer graduate hours from another university into the MPS degree program?

    Yes, up to three credit hours of graduate work may be transferred, if approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.

Application and Admissions Questions

  • 17) For which semester are you currently accepting applications?

    The Clinton School is currently accepting MPS applications for Fall 2018 enrollment.
  • 18) What is the application deadline for the Clinton School’s MPS degree program?

    All MPS application materials must be submitted by or before January 20, 2017. Applications which become complete after this date will result in an incomplete application file, which may not be reviewed by the Admission Committee for Fall 2018 enrollment.

    NOTE: The EMPS online degree program (for mid-career professionals) has an application deadline of October 31. To access the application platform for the EMPS Free Online Application (October 31 deadline), click here: https://clintonschool.uasys.edu/emps/
  • 19) How do I get an application for the MPS degree program?

    MPS Applications may be completed using our secure online platform at  https://waprd.uark.edu/web-apps/grad/clintonschool/

    All application documents can be uploaded onto the platform and submitted. Applicants may log-in/log-out at their pace in order to upload/submit all documents by January 20.
  • 20) What documents are required for a complete MPS application?

    NOTE: UACS does not have an application fee, applying is free of charge. Additionally, UACS is also a GRE test-optional graduate school (applicants may choose to submit a graduate test score if they wish, it is not required for admission consideration).

    The free Online Application platform may be found on the Clinton School website. To complete your MPS application, please submit/upload:

    -  A fully completed application form

    -  An updated resume that includes a description of public service experiences

    - Two required short-answer essays; a third essay question is optional

    - Official transcripts from all baccalaureate and graduate programs attended

    -  Two letters of recommendation are required: 1) one addressing the applicant's academic preparation, and 2) one addressing the applicant's public service record. In order to be considered for Committee review, each recommendation letter should be typed by the recommender and at least one full page in length. For your own benefit in our committee review, please make sure that your two selected references can personally and authoritatively speak to your qualifications and preparation in some detail; reference letters that only offer brief/casual comments are typically not well reviewed by the Admission Committee. Additionally, all letters of recommendation must be accompanied by a "Letter of Reference" form completed by the individual writing the recommendation. Letters of Recommendation and the Letter of Reference Forms must both be directly emailed from the recommender to the Clinton School at admissions@clintonschool.uasys.edu. Please make sure your recommenders email their recommendation information by/before January 20, 2018.

    - An official academic transcript from all degree-granting higher education institutions attended

    Applicants who choose to submit a graduate test score for Admission Committee review can upload a copy of the official test score transcript into the Clinton School application platform, as well as submit the scores electronically using the appropriate submission code: The GRE (code: 6368, University of Arkansas at Little Rock-UALR), or MAT (code: 2298, UALR), or GMAT (code: 9575, UALR), or LSAT (code: 6368, UALR).

    International applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university and whose native language is not English are required to additionally submit official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • 21) Does the Clinton School require an application fee?

    The Clinton School does not require an application fee for our applicants. We invite all interested public servants to apply to our innovative MPS program.
  • 22) How many letters of recommendation are required?

    Two letters of recommendation are required for the MPS application: 1) one addressing the applicant's academic preparation, and 2) addressing the applicant's public/community service record. Both letters of recommendation must be accompanied by a "Letter of Reference" form​. Letters of Recommendation and the Letter of Reference Forms must both be directly emailed from the recommender to the Clinton School at admissions@clintonschool.uasys.edu. Please make sure your recommenders email their recommendation information by/before January 20, 2018.
  • 23) Being GRE test-optional, how does the Clinton School suggest an applicant choose whether or not to submit a test score as a part of their application?

    An MPS applicant could choose to not submit a test score if they feel their academic transcript/GPA are sufficiently strong on their own, and that together with the other required documents (essays, recommendations, public service & professional experiences), feel the entire application file will demonstrate to the Admission Committee that the applicant can handle the academic rigors of graduate school. This can be especially true for those who have a strong undergraduate GPA, and/or those who have already completed a Master’s degree, and/or those who have had a strong professional career/resume. NOTE: While the Clinton School is GRE test-optional, our concurrent degree partner programs may require a graduate exam for their specific application process.
  • 24) The Clinton School is test-optional, and if I choose to submit a graduate test score, what graduate admission tests are eligible to be submitted?

    If an applicant decides to submit a graduate test score as a part of their application, please know that the Clinton School accepts the GRE, the MAT, the GMAT or the LSAT. Test scores more than five years old will not be accepted. NOTE: While the Clinton School is test-optional, our concurrent degree partner programs may require a graduate exam for their application process.
  • 25) If I choose to submit a graduate exam, what have been the average GRE & LSAT scores for admitted students in recent years?

    In recent years, the average GRE composite score (Verbal + Quantitative) has been 307, the average LSAT has been 152.
  • 26) How will I know when my MPS application is complete?

    The Clinton School admissions process is self-managed and students are responsible for ensuring that their application documents are uploaded/submitted by or before January 20, 2018 at the latest. Applicants will be notified in an email when their application file is complete.
  • 27) Do international students have to take the TOEFL?

    Yes, all international students whose native language is not English and who did not receive an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college are required to submit TOEFL scores. A minimum of 550 for the paper-based examination, or 79 for the internet-based examination, is required in order to be considered for admission into the Clinton School.
  • 28) Is there a minimum GPA for admission to the program?

    In keeping with the suggested minimum criteria for graduate studies at the University of Arkansas, the Clinton School recommends that applicants have at least a 2.85 cumulative grade point average in their baccalaureate-level courses.
  • 29) What is the average GPA, and average age, of students entering the Clinton School this year? What is the size of the enrolling class?

    Students enrolling in the Fall 2017 entering class ranged in ages 22-48, with an average age of 27 years old. For the 2017 applicants who were admitted to the program, the average GPA was 3.4/4.0. The Clinton School typically enrolls 40-45 students per entering class each Fall.
  • 30) Is an interview required as a part of the MPS admission process?

    An interview is not required, but may be requested at the direction of the admission committee. All such interviews are conducted by Skype. Visiting the Clinton School and meeting with the Admission Director is highly recommended for all interested applicants.
  • 31) Is there an ideal time for me to come to Little Rock and visit the school?

    Visiting the Clinton School can be a great way to glimpse the unique strengths of the MPS program. The best time for prospective students to visit the school (and the vibrant city of Little Rock) would be during weekdays, anytime throughout the Fall semester and prior to the beginning of the Admission Committee's application review in February. Visiting during the weekday increases the ability to sit in on a class, meet current students, attend one of our renowned speaker programs, and meet with the admissions director. Planning a visit between September and early February is highly encouraged for any interested applicant. Please email to schedule a visit to the Clinton School building at least two weeks in advance (drop-in visits are not ideal, and cannot always be accommodated; scheduling your visit at least 2 weeks in advance allows you to get more out of your visit).
  • 32) When will I know my MPS admission decision?

    All MPS admission decision letters will be sent to applicants by/before April 1.
  • 33) Is there an Early Decision or Priority Deadline for the MPS?

    There is NO Early Decision or Priority Deadline. All MPS application components must be submitted to the Clinton School application platform by the January 20th deadline. All final decisions about acceptance into the program will be mailed by/before April 1.

Scholarship and Financial Questions

  • 34) Are there scholarships and financial aid available for the MPS program?

    Yes, both merit-based scholarships and need-based federal aid are available to qualified MPS admitted students.
  • 35) When are decisions about merit-based scholarships made?

    All decisions about merit-based scholarships are made when the Admission Committee determines a student's acceptance into the program. The MPS applicant's letter of acceptance will include the merit-based scholarship, if any, that is offered by the Clinton School. Applicants do not need to submit a separate scholarship application. In recent years, merit-based scholarship awards for the MPS have ranged from $5000 - full tuition.
  • 36) How do I apply for need-based financial aid?

    If you are a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S., you may apply for need-based federal student loans and grants. You must complete a 2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the June 30, 2018 priority deadline in order to be eligible to receive federal loan funds for the Fall 2018 semester. All need-based financial aid is processed for our students through the UA-Little Rock (UALR) Financial Aid office. To submit a 2018 FAFSA form, please visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/

    To have your FAFSA submitted to us for financial aid review, please enter the UALR school code 001101.
  • 37) Does the Clinton School match the AmeriCorps Education Award for the MPS degree program?

    Yes, but in limited numbers. While a number of AmeriCorps alumni may be admitted in a given admission cycle, each year we offer up to five single-match scholarships of AmeriCorps Education Awards (AEA) to well-qualified admitted MPS applicants. Decisions about AmeriCorps scholarship matches are made based on committee review during the admissions process. In order to be considered for one of these limited single-match scholarships, an admitted AmeriCorps alum must have an eligible AmeriCorps Education Award that has not yet been used. Students who have already used their AmeriCorps Education Award are not eligible to be considered for one of the five matching scholarships. However, please note that any admitted AmeriCorps alumni, even those not eligible to be considered to the AEA match, will be considered for standard Clinton School scholarship eligibility for the MPS degree program, along with all other admitted Clinton School applicants. AmeriCorps alumni who receive one of the matching scholarships will be notified in their MPS admission decision letter.
  • 38) Is there funding available for the International Public Service Project?

    Yes. The Clinton School will do its best to work with each student to identify funding to facilitate the international service project of their choice. Typically, this has been done by offering a flat stipend to all students to help cover the costs of their individual International Service Project.