Southern Arkansas University

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This school appears in our ranking 20 Most Affordable Master’s in Agriculture Online Degree Programs 2018.

Southern Arkansas University was chartered in April 1909 by Governor George W. Donaghey after a enthusiastic push from the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union. Led by five principals, the inaugural class of 75 took primarily agriculture and home economics courses. In 1951, Charles S. Wilkins changed Magnolia A&M into a four-year public, coed state school. The next 16 years saw the campus expand to 1,418 rural acres of Columbia County near the Louisiana border. The founding Great American Conference member worth $37.5 million went digital in 2010 using Blackboard to better serve its 4,345 Muleriders online. Linked to 8,910 LinkedIn alumni, Southern Arkansas University has educated Tracy Lawrence, Lynn Lowe, Harry Thomason, Joyce Elliott, and more.

The U.S. News & World Report ranked SAU in the top 142 Southern colleges with the 237th best bachelor’s, 267th top business, and 291st best education degrees online nationally. On Niche, Southern Arkansas is America’s 428th safest college, 524th best athletics school, and 613rd most diverse student body. College Factual recognized SAU for the country’s 109th best agriculture, 234th best liberal arts, and 279th top physical sciences education. WalletHub placed Southern Arkansas University 377th for educational outcomes and 615th for learning experience. In The Economist, SAU is the 267th best economic value with a mid-career median salary of $65,600 from PayScale. Washington Monthly also crowned Southern Arkansas the 76th best U.S. master’s institution and 75th top regional buck.

Southern Arkansas University Accreditation Details

In June 2010, Southern Arkansas University passed an AQIP Review Panel by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC-NCA) to continue its 10-year Level III accreditation under president Dr. Trey Berry. Headquartered 786 miles away in Chicago, this regional body has authority from the U.S. Department of Education to assure institutional quality in 19 states. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education also recognizes SAU’s four associate, 30 baccalaureate, 14 master’s, and 12 certificate programs from DeQueen to Mena and online. Specific academic departments hold approvals from these:

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • National Committee for the Accreditation of Coaching Education
  • Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

Southern Arkansas University Application Requirements

Signing into online Southern Arkansas University courses will involve passing a “moderately difficult” admission rate of 69 percent reported on Peterson’s. The School of Graduate Studies considers online master’s candidates who’ve completed their senior year of baccalaureate study at accredited institutions. Exact majors aren’t generally required, except for the Online M.S. in Computer and Information Science that has STEM prerequisites. Unconditional admission needs a 2.5 GPA overall or 2.75 GPA in the last two years. Testing requirements are waived by many programs like the M.S. in Agriculture and M.A. in Teaching if GPAs breach the 3.0 mark. Otherwise a GRE composite score of 284 or greater is expected. Achieving at least 35 on the MAT or 400 on the GMAT would also be acceptable.

Southern Arkansas University suggests graduate deadlines of July 20th for Fall, December 1st for Spring, and April 1st for Summer to avoid $50 late fees. Complete the Application for Admission and sign the Code of Student Conduct fully online. Official paper documents can be mailed to MSC 9302 at 100 East University Avenue in Magnolia, AR 71753. Contact gradstudies@saumag.edu or (870) 235-4000 for extra assistance. Online master’s degrees typically request the following:

  • $25 non-refundable fee ($90 for international)
  • Bachelor’s and master’s course evaluations
  • Graduate entrance test scores or waiver
  • Contact information for three references
  • Résumé or CV of experiences and licenses
  • Foreign transcripts and English exams if applicable

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2017-18, Southern Arkansas University charged in-state graduate tuition of $285 per credit online. Non-residents pursuing online master’s degrees paid $425 per credit. A distance education fee of $45 is added to each course. Full-time online attendance will cost Arkansans $4,980 and out-of-state learners $7,005 annually, but tuition totals range. For example, the 60-credit M.S. in Mental Health Counseling adds up to $19,920 in-state and $28,020 out-of-state. The Online M.S. in Data Science has a 30-credit plan billing $9,960 to $14,010 total. Entire costs for the M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction Online are currently $11,952 in Arkansas and $16,812 outside.

According to the NCES College Navigator, 83 percent of full-time SAU Muleriders share $24.93 million in annual financial aid packages worth $9,101 on average. Online master’s students could claim the Mometrix Grad Scholarship, MBA Scholarship, Parson-Burnett Memorial Grant, Wilson Memorial Scholarship, Maya Angelou Grant, or Anne Keese Thomas Graduate Scholarship. Arkansas residents aged 60 or above receive a full-tuition waiver. Learners from six bordering states like Missouri and Oklahoma could pay in-state rates. Completing the FAFSA form with code 001107 may open Direct Subsidized or Graduate Plus loans. Online Master of Education students can apply for the TEACH Grant and up to $17,500 from the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Graduate assistantships also pay students with 3.0 GPAs or better $1,000 monthly stipends beyond tuition benefits.

Online Degrees Available

Participating in the NC-SARA, Southern Arkansas University uses Blackboard Learn to support over 1,200 working adults with 350 distance courses, including nine wholly online master’s degrees. One Building-Level Leadership Graduate Certificate is available virtually for future principals too. Reporting 64 percent retention, the Online Learning Division caps cohorts at 20 for close interaction with 47 full-time faculty. Students benefit from accessing the eLearning Support Center, Employment Resource Center, Magale Library, Online SAU Bookstore, ProctorU, and English as a Second Language Program. Two sample online graduate options are:

Master of Science in Kinesiology

Adhering to the National Standards for Sport Coaches, SAU’s Master of Science in Kinesiology takes 24 months for online post-grads to learn the physical conditioning strategies to organize victorious athletic teams. The 33-credit, NCACE-accredited program advised by Dr. Jingyang Huang builds professional LiveText portfolios with courses like Injury Prevention, Motor Learning, Coaching Psychology, and Exercise Science.

Master of Public Administration

Offering a 4+1 B.A. in Political Science route, the Master of Public Administration directed by Dr. Amber Overholser positions online SAU post-grads for leading efficient enterprises with worthy causes outside the for-profit business sector. The 36-credit, two-year degree replaces thesis research with professional projects after courses like Personnel Administration and Rural Politics with an optional Social Entrepreneurship Concentration.

Learn more about online offerings, such as the Master of Science in Cyber Security, Master of Education in Student Affairs, Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling, and Master of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management, at the Southern Arkansas University website.