The Graduate School

[1] Mission and Purpose

The Graduate School supports the vision, mission, and core values of the University of Central Arkansas. In doing so, the Graduate School

  • Promotes intellectual excellence at the advanced levels of academic learning,
  • Serves multiple communities through professional and training activities,
  • Recruits and retains a highly qualified and diverse graduate student body, and
  • Promotes integrity through ethical and responsible behavior in faculty, staff, and students.

The Graduate School supports doctoral, specialist, master’s, and certificate programs of distinction in a variety of fields. These excellent programs help graduates acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to become productive members of their chosen fields. The Graduate Council, a representative body of the graduate faculty, assists the Dean of the Graduate School in establishing policies and standards for graduate education.

In keeping with its mission, the Graduate School

  • Approves curricula and admission, retention and completion standards for individual programs;
  • Stimulates and supports creative, scholarly and research activity through the University Research Council and the Office of Sponsored Programs;
  • Approves standards of appointment for members of the Graduate Faculty;
  • Advocates for graduate education within the Division of Academic Affairs and other levels as appropriate; and
  • Collaborates with individual graduate programs and the UCA Director of Assessment to support programs self-assessment and external review.

[2] Graduate Student Learning Outcomes

The University of Central Arkansas offers coursework leading to a graduate certificate and two types of graduate degrees – professional degrees and research degrees – at three levels – master’s, specialist, and doctoral. A professional degree gives the student a specific set of skills needed to practice a particular profession or to enhance skills in an existing career. The research degree provides experience in research and scholarship.

[2.1] Doctor of Philosophy Degrees

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is designed to prepare students to become scholars and leaders. The scholar not only discovers, integrates, and applies knowledge but also communicates and disseminates it. PhD graduates have the ability to make significant contributions to scholarship in their disciplines. A leader guides and sets examples for others. Students in a PhD program are required to grasp complex intellectual issues in addition to the highly technical standards necessary for research and scholarship. The scholar becomes a leader by looking for connections, bridging theory and practice, considering implications of research, and fitting research into all professional roles.

PhD degree program graduates will demonstrate

  • Skill in the conduct of original research, providing evidence of an understanding of research designs and the ability to formulate hypotheses, plan methodologies, gather data (quantitatively and qualitatively), draw conclusions, and effectively communicate research findings;
  • Commitment to engage in scholarship after graduation and to discover new knowledge and develop theoretical principles that advance the understanding of their chosen disciplines;
  • Breadth of knowledge of their disciplines and the research literature;
  • Ability to teach at beginning and advanced levels of instruction;
  • Leadership traits that guide their professions in identifying and resolving important questions and problems.

[2.2] Master’s, Specialist, and Professional Doctoral Degrees

The master’s, specialist, and professional doctoral degrees are awarded to students who achieve and demonstrate a level of academic and/or professional accomplishment and subject mastery substantially beyond that required for the baccalaureate degree. Graduates from master’s, specialist, and/or professional doctoral programs will demonstrate:

  • Ability to think logically and consistently as well as to integrate and synthesize knowledge;
  • Understanding of methods to access knowledge and information within their discipline;
  • Ability to write in a clear, consistent, and logical manner;
  • Understanding of the interrelationships between their disciplines and others; and
  • Awareness of how to deal with ethical dilemmas within their professions and apply knowledge about their disciplines to real-life situations.

In addition to the above, graduates of the programs leading to the educational specialist or professional doctorate will demonstrate:

  • Ability and skill to fill advanced clinical and educational roles;
  • Ability to contribute to the scholarship of practice; and
  • Ability to provide leadership and service related to their professions and society.

[2.3] Graduate Certificate Programs

In addition to its degree programs, the Graduate School offers graduate certificate programs, focused collections of courses (12–18 hours) which, when completed, afford the student a record of coherent academic accomplishment in a given discipline or set of related disciplines. Graduate certificate programs are designed by the university to enhance marketability of its graduate students and programs, to provide a service to the community at large through a short-term graduate program, and to provide expanded opportunities for students wishing to further their education for personal or career advancement.

[3] Graduate Degrees and Programs

The University of Central Arkansas offers work leading to the following graduate degrees and programs:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Leadership Studies
Physical Therapy

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Digital Age Teaching and Learning
Educational Leadership
School Psychology

Master of Accountancy (MAcc)

Master of Arts (MA)

Mathematics Education
Sport Management

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

Special Education

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Creative Writing

Master of Geographic Information Systems

Master of Music (MM)

Master of Science (MS)

Applied Mathematics
Athletic Training
College Student Personnel Administration
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Computer Science
Exercise Science
Family and Consumer Sciences
Health Promotion
Instructional Technologies
Library Media and Information Technologies
Mental Health Counseling
School Counseling
School Leadership, Management, and Administration

Master of Science in Education (MSE)

Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning
Special Education

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Post Master’s Certificate Programs

Family Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Educator with Clinical Specialty
District Level Administration
School Based Leadership – Gifted/Talented Program Administrator
School Based Leadership – Special Education Program Administrator
School Based Leadership – Curriculum Administration
School Based Leadership – Building Administrator

Graduate Certificate Programs

Data Analytics
Dyslexia Interventionist
Geographic Information Systems
Gifted and Talented Education
Instructional Technology – Online Teaching and Learning
Instructional Technology – Media Design and Development
Instructional Technology – Computer Science Teaching and Learning
Integrated Early Childhood Education (B-K)
Special Education K-12