The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the State, tracing its history back to the days of segregation. It was founded in 1873 and was then known as Branch Normal College – the segregation in the education system that then existed meant that African-Americans could not be admitted to the present-day University of Arkansas (then known as the Arkansas Industrial University).
Branch Normal College later changed names to become the Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in 1927. By then, it had broken ties with Arkansas Industrial University and it became an independent university and acquired its current name in 1972.
In its initial days, the college struggled with many financial burdens especially given that it was not very popular with the people it was created to serve – most could not afford the fees and others simply shunned it as they considered it nothing more than an experiment. For these reasons, the college started with a class of only 7 students and numbers enrolling did not increase much in the following years.
Apart from its troubled beginnings, UAPB holds the distinction of being the oldest historically black university. And from its humble beginnings, the university has expanded over the years and today serves over 3,000 graduate and undergraduate students.
UAPB offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees in a great variety of areas of study. The university’s undergraduate programs are offered in four different schools – the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Management and the School of Education.
Of the four schools, the School of Arts and Sciences is the largest and comprises of nine departments. These nine departments offer Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in very diverse areas including nursing, social and behavior science, criminal justice, art, history, political science, social studies, psychology, social work, mathematical science, physics and chemistry.
From the very beginning, the education offered by UAPB has been geared at improving the lives of the local people and especially people in the rural areas. The School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences (SAFHS) has been tasked with the responsibility of developing programs to serve this need. Under this school, the department of agriculture offers a bachelor’s degree with six program options. These include agricultural business, agricultural economics, plant science, animal science and agricultural education.
A prominent department under SAFHS is the Aquaculture/Fisheries (AQFI) Center of Excellence which is a leading provider of teaching and research services in aquaculture in the State. The center offers B.S. degrees in fisheries biology and an M.S. in aquaculture/fisheries. In appreciation of the important role it plays in the State, the center receives financial and in-kind support from the Arkansas aquaculture industry.
The School of Business and Management offers three B.S. degrees in accounting, business technology and business administration. The degree options offered by the School of Education are many and varied including art education, human science education, mathematics education and business education.
Graduate degrees offered by the university include three master’s degrees offered by the School of Education (M.A. in teaching and Master’s of Education in early childhood and secondary education). The School of Arts and Sciences offers an M.S. in addiction studies while SAFHS offers M.S. degrees in agriculture regulations and aquaculture/fisheries.
Most Popular Fields of Study
UAPB operates two types of admissions – unconditional admission and conditional admission. Students admitted unconditionally are those who have completed the college prep curriculum and obtained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0. In addition, the applicants are required have taken ACT, SAT or ASSET tests.
Students who do not meet the minimum unconditional admission requirements above could still get admitted when they present a satisfactory GED certificate or those who are coming from an acceptable home school program. Where the student applying for admission has graduated from a school outside the State, the university will evaluate the transcripts submitted to determine whether the applicant will be admitted conditionally or unconditionally.
Students are admitted conditionally when their ACT scores are below 19. Such students are then assigned developmental courses by the university’s Basic Academic Services. The applicants will then be required to complete at least 12 core credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0.
When an applicant is admitted conditionally and fails to meet the outlined developmental requirements, the university puts him or her on probation and could also recommend suspension.
The university’s 6 graduate programs have varying admission requirements. Students applying to join the Master of Arts in Teaching Program are required to have obtained a baccalaureate degree from an accredited four-year institution with an overall GPA of 2.75. They should also submit their resumes, letters of interest, provisional teaching licenses and their passing scores in Praxis I and Praxis II.
Financial aid for students attending UAPB is available in the form of scholarships, grants and loans from various sources. Scholarships and grants provide a great source of aid as the student does not have to shoulder the burden of repayment.
Residents of Arkansas who obtain admission to UAPB can apply for the Arkansas Society of Professional Sanitarians (ASPS) Scholarship. The society offers scholarships ranging between $250 and $500 to students studying in an environmental field. Applicants for this scholarship must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, must demonstrate financial need and must submit a short essay about their career goals.
The Arkansas Lottery Scholarship benefits both incoming freshmen as well currently enrolled students. The scholarship awards varying amounts and could be as high as $5,000 per year. To qualify, the applicant must be a resident of Arkansas who has not yet earned a baccalaureate degree. The applicant must also have filed an application with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and should be certified to be completely drug-free. High school graduates applying for this scholarship are required to have obtained a GPA of 2.5 or higher.
Students attending UAPB could also apply for grants awarded by federal authorities. The Federal Pell Grant is awarded to needy students who meet certain satisfactory academic progress requirements. Amounts awarded under this grant program vary but could be in excess of $5,000 per year.
Amounts awarded under federal grant programs are determined by FAFSA. Students who qualify for Pell grants could also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The latter is awarded to students whose financial needs are considered exceptional by FAFSA.
UAPB also participates in both federal and State work-study programs which enable financially challenged students to obtain paid part-time employment. Students who are unable to obtain either loans or grants should consider applying for federal subsidized and federal unsubsidized Stafford loans. Unlike loans from private lenders, these loans have low interest rates and come with highly flexible repayment terms.
Student Financial Aid Details
For students with interests in extra-curricular activities, there close to 100 organizations and clubs which one could join. The activities of these organizations are governed by the Office of Students Activities and while many are created to bring fun activities on campus, many have been developed as a supplement to the academic training offered to students.
The university is home to many organizations and clubs representing the various departments as well as religious organizations, hometown clubs, special interest organizations, social fraternities and many activity and service clubs.
One of the clubs that has been very active in providing health-related information not only to its own members but also the entire UAPB community is the HIV/AIDS Peer Educators (HAPE). The club not only carries out presentations on the university’s campus but also other locations in the Pine Bluff area.
On campus, student entertainment is enhanced by programming from the university’s own radio and TV stations – KUAP Radio 89.7 FM and UAPB TV.
The long history of the university and the many changes it has undergone have been recorded and preserved at the University Museum and Cultural Center. This center holds not just the history of the university but also that of the entire Arkansas delta.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
There are many athletic activities at UAPB including basketball, soccer, softball, tennis, cross country, volleyball, football and track and field. The university’s teams, whose colors are gold and black, are known as the Golden Lions.
The Golden Lions are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
While the performance of most of the teams has been average in recent times, two teams made remarkable achievements in 2010. The women’s soccer team, the Lady Lions, won the conference tournament and made it to the NCAA Championship. A similar feat was achieved by the men’s basketball team.
- “About UAPB”. University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. 21st May 2011
- “University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)”. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. 21st May 2011
- “University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff”. Soul of America. 21st May 2011