Little Rock, Arkansas Colleges and Universities

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Not only is Little Rock the capital city of Arkansas, it is also the largest city in the state. While the city itself only had a population of 195,000, the larger Little Rock–North Little Rock metro area, to which the city belongs, has a population of nearly 900,000. Little Rock is located in Pulaski County, which forms the core of the Little Rock metropolitan area.

Little Rock has a subtropial climate. It’s quite hot and humid during the summer, reaching upwards of 114 �F during its peak, and extremely cold (-12 �F) during the winter. Most of the year, temperatures are mild. In fact, most people who visit or live in Little Rock say that the climate is quite accomodating. Little Rock truly is a great place to live and work.

The city has a strong and growing economy and career opportunities are plentiful. Many major corporations, including Dillard’s, Acxiom and Windstream Communications are based in Little Rock. Other larger companies that have strong presences in Little Rock include Raytheon Aircraft Co., Fidelity National and Dassault Falcon Jet. However, one of the largest employers in the city isn’t a corporation at all, rather a public education institution–University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) and affiliated divisions. UAMS employers over 10,500 people statewide.

For those looking to prepare for a career, Little Rock offers a large selection of two and four-year academic and career-oriented colleges and universities. The two largest universities in the city are the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences. Little Rock is also home to two smaller four-year colleges, Arkansas Baptist College and Philander Smith–a United Methodist Church institution.

Unquestionably, the most well known of Little Rock’s higher education institutions is the University of Little Rock. This university was established as a junior college in 1927 and in 1957 when the college began offering four-year bachelor degrees was re-chartered as a four-year university‐Little Rock University. In the fall of 1969, Little Rock University joined the University of Arkansas system of public higher education institutions and its name was changed to University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Between 1969 and 1998 the university grew from roughly 3,400 students to over 10,000. Today the university offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees and is fully accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It also offers online degree programs, off-campus college classes, evening courses and adult education programs, as well as several joint degree programs through partnerships with other schools within the University of Arkansas System.

The University of Arkansas also has a division (the Clinton School of Public Service) located in downtown Little Rock that offers a master’s degree program in public service.

Also a member of the University of Arkansas System, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is made up of six academic schools and colleges: the College of Nursing, College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Health Related Professions, College of Public Health and the Graduate School. Together these academic divisions educate over 2,200 students each year. UAMS works in partnerships with several other local and regional medical institutions, including the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, among others.

In addition to higher education institution, UAMS is the state’s premier medical research institution. UAMS is well known throughout the world for its research on aging, cancer, and several other medical areas. UAMS supports an extensive outreach program that serves the needs of individuals throughout the state. It has health education centers located in the cities of Jonesboro, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Helena, Pine Bluff, Forth Smith and Texarkana, Arkansas.

Philander Smith is one of the historically black colleges located in Little Rock. It is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and has a total annual enrollment of about 850 students. Even though it’s a historically black Methodist school, it accepts students from diverse faiths and races. Notwithstanding, the majority of student are black.

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is another one of Little Rock’s historically black colleges. It was established in 1884 as an institute to train black ministers and has slowly evolved over the years into a more secular higher education institution. It has a total annual enrollment of roughly 1,100 students.

Located in what was previously the Little Rock Expo building is the Pulaski Technical College, another popular higher education institution in Little Rock. Pulaski is a two-year college that offers a variety of academic and career-oriented two-year associate degrees and professional certificates. One of the colleges largest divisions (which occupies over 50% of its one-building campus) is the Pulaski Technnical College Transportation Technology Center, which offers career-focused programs in collision repair, automotive technology, diesel repair, truck driver training, motorcycle/ATV repair and small engine repair.

In Little Rock-South, Pulaski Technical College has an independent culinary arts school, which is located within an actual cafe. The cafe (“The Finish Line Cafe”) is operated by the college’s faculty and students.

Pulaski Tech’s third campus, in Little Rock-West, offers courses in the arts, health sciences and services, history, education, English, business and various social sciences. Classes are offered during the day, evening and on weekends. This campus is also the home of the college’s Office of Government Relations.

Below you can view profiles for colleges and universities located in and around Little Rock, Arkansas. To learn more about a specific college simply click on the link below the listing.

Arkansas Baptist College
1621 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Little Rock, AR 72202
main phone: (501) 370-4000, admission phone: (866) 920-4222

Arkansas Baptist College, or ABC, is a historically black private college that was started as the Minister’s Institute in 1884. At first, the school received funding from contributions by the Colored Baptists of Arkansas. It remains the only historically black college or university (HBCU) west of the Mississippi. ABC’s baseball team plays in the National Junior College Athletic Association, Region 2, with home games scheduled at Gary Hogan Field. The college has a total enrollment of 620+ students and provides Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees and programs.

Philander Smith College
One Trudie Kibbe Reed Drive, Little Rock, AR 72202-3718
main phone: (501) 375-9845, admission phone: (800) 446-6772, admission fax: (501) 370-5225

Philander Smith College is a private, historically black school associated with the United Methodist Church. The college has about 850 students but only about 70% of those are full-time students. Eventhough Philander Smith College has been known as predominently black school, it does accept students of every race.


University of Arkansas Little Rock
2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72204-1099
main phone: (501) 569-3000, admission phone: (800) 482-8892, admission fax: (501) 569-8956

University of Arkansas Little Rock (UALR) is the second largest university in the state of Arkansas and one of the larger univerities in the United States. The university was originally founded as Little Rock Junior College in 1927, then changed to a private, four-year institution, Little Rock University, in 1957. In 1969, the school became public again, under the name it is known by today, University of Arkansas. The school’s campus is situated on 200 acres. UALR is made up of 40 buildings, including a cyber caf�, television station, radio station, several art galleries, a speech and hearing clinic, and a learning resource center. The university library has more than a half million volumes, 8,300 movies and CDs, 700,000 microform items, and has subscriptions to 2,625 periodicals. In addition, students and faculty enjoy a wireless network that reaches over the entire campus.

As Little Rock is the state capital of Arkansas, students have the advantage of being close to leaders in business, government, industry, information technology, and medicine. UALR is the only metropolitan university in Arkansas and belongs to the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities. The school gives the community specific focus by actively connecting the campus, commerce, and the community itself.


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