Frequently asked questions related to the Master of Public Service degree program at the Clinton School of Public Service are listed below.
MPS Application FAQ
The MPS degree program has two application deadlines.
The Priority Deadline is October 15. Applicants will receive admission and merit scholarship decisions by November 30.
The Regular Deadline is December 15. Applicants will receive admission notification by March 1.
MPS applications may be completed using the school’s secure online platform. All application documents can be uploaded onto the platform and submitted. Applications can be saved and edited/added to before submission.
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 degree-granting higher education institutions attended
– One letter of recommendation is required
To be considered for committee review, your 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 reference can personally and authoritatively speak to your qualifications and preparation in some detail; reference letters that only offer brief or casual comments are typically not well reviewed by the Admission Committee. 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 be emailed directly from the recommender to the Clinton School at email@example.com.
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:
GRE – Testing code: 6368
MAT – Testing code: 2298
GMAT – Testing code: 9575
LSAT – Testing code: 6368
International applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited US 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).
All MPS admission decision letters will be sent to applicants by March 1.
If you complete your application by the Priority Deadline of October 15, you will receive your decision by November 30.
An interview is not required but may be requested at the direction of the admission committee. All such interviews are conducted by Zoom. Visiting the Clinton School and meeting with the admissions team is highly recommended for all interested applicants.
Students admitted to the Clinton School widely range in age, with one recent cohort enrolling students as young as 22 and as old as 54. The average age of an MPS student is 27 years old. The average undergraduate GPA for an enrolling MPS student ranges from 3.4-3.6. The Clinton School typically enrolls 40-45 students per entering class each Fall.
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.
Yes, all international students whose native language is not English and who did not receive an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited US 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 to be considered for admission into the Clinton School.
In recent years, the average GRE composite score (Verbal + Quantitative) has been 307, and the average LSAT has been 152.
An MPS applicant could choose not to 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 with a strong undergraduate GPA, have already completed a master’s degree, or have had a robust 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.
The MPS application requires one letter of recommendation from an academic or public service reference.
Your letter of recommendation and the letter of reference form must be emailed directly from the recommender to the Clinton School at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure your recommender emails their recommendation information by or before the deadline.
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.
Yes, up to 6 credit hours of graduate work may be transferred for the core courses, and up to 6 credit hours of graduate work may be transferred for elective courses, all pending approval by the Academic Dean.
No, the MPS curriculum track begins only in the fall semester.
For students who are admitted, 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 the week following orientation.
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.
For those Clinton School applicants who are interested in pursuing a concurrent degree, please complete the respective application for the corresponding school.
Information about their respective applications, testing requirements, deadlines, and tuition costs can be found below:
Once a student has been admitted into both the MPS and their concurrent program of choice, they may then plan to enroll in their respective concurrent degree program.
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.
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 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 your ability to sit in on a class, meet current students, attend one of our renowned speaker programs, and meet with the admissions director. We highly encourage any interested applicant to plan a visit between September and early February.
Please email email@example.com 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. Planning your visit at least two weeks in advance allows you to get the most out of your stay.
MPS Scholarship & Financial FAQ
Tuition costs for the Clinton School’s MPS program are very affordable, especially when compared to similar graduate programs around the country.
The total cost of tuition and fees for the full two-year MPS degree is $22,701. 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.
No, all applicants pay the same $472 per credit hour for all MPS classes taught at the Clinton School. Elective courses taken at our other partner campuses are charged at the in-state rate.
Yes, both merit-based scholarships and need-based federal aid are available to qualified MPS admitted students. Beginning with the Fall 2023 enrollment cycle, the Clinton School is more than tripling its opportunities for scholarships available to enrolling students. Enhanced cost-of-living stipends are also available.
More information on scholarships and funding opportunities can be found here.
All decisions about merit-based scholarships are made when the Admissions 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 $5,000 to full tuition.
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 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline in order to be eligible to receive federal loan funds. All need-based financial aid is processed for our students through the UA Little Rock (UALR) Financial Aid office. Click here to submit a FAFSA form.
To have your FAFSA submitted to us for financial aid review, please enter the UALR school code 001101.
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. 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 for one of the five matching scholarships.
However, please note that any admitted AmeriCorps alumni, even those not eligible for 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.
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 Projects.
MPS International FAQ
For international students admitted to the in-person Master of Public Service (MPS) program, a visa is required to study in the United States. Most students enroll with an F-1 visa, and the following FAQs address questions specific to the F-1 visa.
The multi-step process for obtaining an F-1 visa typically takes 3-4 months during April-July. The Clinton School works with the Office of International Student Services at UA Little Rock to facilitate the visa process for incoming international students. This process is only required for international students who are admitted and choose to enroll in the Master of Public Service program which begins every August.
Upon admission to the Clinton School, international students will be provided with a form to complete that includes the appropriate documentation needed to be issued a Form I-20. The Form I-20 is used for the F-1 visa interview and entry to the United States.
One important piece of documentation required for the Form I-20 to be issued is financial documentation proving you have financial support to cover the full Cost of Attendance (COA) for one year. See the next FAQ for more information about COA.
Once the student provides the required information to the Office of International Students, their Form I-20 will be issued. The international student can then pay the SEVIS fee and schedule a visa interview. After the interview, students will be notified of the United States State Department’s visa decision.
More information about the visa application process can be found here.
Work Authorization: Students on an F-1 visa are only permitted to work on-campus jobs for up to 20 hours per week (if an on-campus job is available, it is not guaranteed). Any unauthorized off-campus employment will result in termination of your immigration status in the United States.
Travel: For students on an F-1 visa, there are travel restrictions that may impact the International and Capstone field service projects. The Clinton School staff and faculty will work one-on-one with students once they are enrolled to select field service projects that align with students’ interests and goals while meeting the requirements of the F-1 Visa.
Full-Time Enrollment: For the MPS, students on F-1 visas must be enrolled full time. Graduate full-time enrollment is at least 9 credit hours per semester in the fall and spring semesters.
For the MPS, you must also meet the physical presence requirement, meaning you must take at least 6 credits as classes, rather than online courses.
Cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition and fees, but additionally includes insurance and cost of living expenses. For the 2023-2024 academic year, the COA is approximately $30,000 USD for one year. If you are joining the Clinton School as an F-1 student, you must demonstrate that you have the financial resources to finance your expenses apart from employment.
Prior to issuance of I-20, an international student must provide documentation of financial resources for the tuition, fees, insurance and cost of living for at least one academic year at the Clinton School.
More information about acceptable documentation of financial support can be found here.
Clinton School Online is available for international students as another option to receive a Master of Public Service. This program does not require an F-1 visa, and it can be completed while working full-time without needing to relocate.
The total cost of Clinton School Online is $33,600. While this is a higher cost than the MPS program’s tuition and fees, the total MPS cost of attendance is estimated to be $60,000 for the two-year program. Cost of attendance includes cost of living expenses such as housing, food, personal expenses, travel, and U.S. insurance.
For all applicants who receive their bachelor’s degree from an institution outside of the United States, the Clinton School requires that official transcripts be evaluated by a credential evaluation service. A non-exhaustive list of agencies can be found here.
An international applicant will not be considered to have a completed admission application until all required items, including their officially credentialed transcripts, have been submitted to the Clinton School by their chosen application deadline.
Fees for this service vary based on the agency and may take two to four weeks for evaluation. International applicants are encouraged to plan their application timeline accordingly.
All official, evaluated transcripts should be either uploaded directly to the application, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, by your preferred application deadline.
MPS General FAQ
The Clinton School stands out from other public service, public policy, and public affairs schools in two distinct ways: our broad range of available courses and our emphasis on fieldwork. Most Master of Public Administration programs focus on preparing students to work in local and state government or nonprofit organizations largely through lessons learned in the classroom, but lack the intentional, real-world experience that the Clinton School’s fieldwork provides.
Fieldwork at the Clinton School comprises a greater percentage of a student’s academic curriculum and creates more in-depth educational experiences. The International Public Service Project, which allows students to tap into the school’s expansive network of overseas partnerships, is a unique element of the program that few MPA programs offer.
Our Master of Public Service program can equip you with those real-world skills that a typical MPA program cannot. MPS students develop a public service mindset that serves them in every sector, public, private, and nonprofit, through a rigorous curriculum that integrates both classwork and field service. Graduates of the MPS program will leave with the soft skills that are in high demand – communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership – and experiences that will help them become agents of change wherever they find themselves.
The Clinton School of Public Service 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.
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, the part-time pursuit of the program is not possible.
Many of our MPS students work a part-time job (approximately 10-15 hours per week) while at the Clinton School, but the key to a 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 fieldwork is significant but varies from week to week. Consequently, many of our students would suggest that having a part-time job that allows flexibility of hours is extremely critical to maintaining both a successful academic record and a reasonable school/life balance.