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MPS Course Descriptions

MPS Core Courses & Descriptions

The Master of Public Service degree program at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is 40 credit hours, including:

  • 23 core credits
  • 11 field service credits
  • 6 elective credits

The course descriptions below provide a general overview of the core courses; however, the details are subject to change. Elective options for the program are listed here.

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MPS Core Courses

Program Planning and Development • CSPS 7333 (3 credit hours)

This course provides students with analytical tools that enhance their skills in diagnosing problems and formulating solutions within organizations and communities. The underlying premise is that well prepared public service leaders can increase their effectiveness in contributing to the well-being of their communities by equipping themselves with these analytical tools. Instruction will focus on evaluating community assets as a balance to assessing community need. Underlying values of social justice and collaborative problem-solving provide a benchmark for these activities.

Foundations of Public Service • CSPS 7223 (2 credit hours)

This course covers the history, contexts and practices of public service. Students will define public service in a global context and reflect on their past and future roles as public servants. The course will explore the various roles public servants play and the various contexts in which they practice public service.

Field Research in Public Service • CSPS 7334 (3 credit hours)

This course introduces students to the concepts and principles of field research and is taught in conjunction with their first semester of Practicum. Topics include the key components of collaborative field research, ethics in field research, developing a research focus and research question, conducting a literature review, gathering data and data management, and analyzing data and reporting.

Communication and Social (Ex)Change • CSPS 7303 (3 credit hours)

Being an effective public service professional requires having the knowledge and skills to act in situations in positive and productive ways that allow for authentic participation by those who may be affected by policies, processes and actions. This course focuses on the constitutive nature of communication to create and maintain equitable social worlds. Students will explore various theories of democracy, civic participation, and public issue and policy formation, analyze case studies to understand the complexities of creating and maintaining equitable social worlds, and engage in exercises to develop effective facilitation skills.

Ethical and Legal Dimensions of Public Service • CSPS 7201 (2 credit hours)

Ethical and legal considerations shape every aspect of effective public service. This course will provide an overview of the primary ethical principles and legal concepts that guide difficult decisions in the public realm. Traditional academic study of ethical and legal theory will be combined with practical approaches to problem solving. Students will explore issues of economic, political, and social justice through case studies of current issues. Students will construct cases that are relevant to their own fields and present them to the class, identifying ethical and legal constraints on decision-making and implementation.

The Theory and Practice of Global Development • CSPS 7331 (3 credit hours)

This course provides an overview of three intersecting institutions, which will be useful when conducting public service in the global south, and democratizing societies. These institutions include the State, the market and civil society. The course examines the interventions from colonialism to globalization assessing the efforts of Northern States, multilaterals and non-governmental organizations as they attempt to solve the challenges of poverty, disease, conflict, famine, and gender inequality in the Global South.

Seminar in Program Evaluation • CSPS 7334 (3 credit hours)

This course builds on the skills students gain in Program Planning and Development and Field Research in Public Service. The primary objective is for students to learn and apply tools that are frequently used to determine whether public policies and programs at local, national and international levels are achieving their intended objectives. In this course, students learn how to use appropriate research methods to evaluate public and not-for-profit programs and entities (e.g., non-profit organizations, foundations, NGO’s), how to develop strategies for doing evaluation, and how to manage evaluation projects. Prerequisites: CSPS 7333: Program Planning and Development and CSPS 7334: Field Research in Public Service.

Professionalism in Public Service • CSPS 7115 (1 credit hour)

A career in public service requires a personal dedication that leads to building stronger relationships, stronger communities and a more workable and responsive world. This seminar is designed to help students gain knowledge and experience to further their public service careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, political, volunteer or private sector work. The material in this course builds upon the knowledge and skill sets learned in the other courses and compliments the students’ ongoing fieldwork. The seminar will draw upon a wide variety of resources and activities in an effort to enhance the students’ personal and professional growth.

Social Change Option (3 credit hours)

To earn these credits, students will have the option of several courses related to the dynamics of social change. Current offerings include:

Offered at the Clinton School of Public Service

  • CSPS 7313: Dynamics and Complexities of Social Change
  • CSPS 7326: Philanthropy Leadership and the Nonprofit Sector
  • CSPS 7314: Advocacy in Public Service
  • CSPS 7310: Education Policy, Politics and Pedagogy
  • CSPS 7310: Power, Privilege and Oppression

Offered at the UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law

  • LAW 6343: Public Service Law, Dean John DiPippa Bowen Law School

Offered at the UA Little Rock School of Public Affairs

  • PADM 7331: Analyzing Social Policy and Inequality
  • PADM 7345: Urban Management and Community Change

Offered at the UA Little Rock School of Social Work

  • SOWK 7330: Human Behavior and the Social Environment (taught through the MSW program)

Offered at the UAMS College of Public Health

  • HPMT 5202: Food and Nutrition Policy
  • HPMT 5426: Racial and Ethnic Disparities
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