Peace Corps with a Master’s degree

October 18, 2011

Written by Nina Holtz in News on Oct 18, 2011 4:20

The Peace Corps Master’s International Program is now available for master’s students to apply. CU’s newly adopted program allows students to obtain a master’s degree while also performing service work in the Peace Corps.

According to the Institute of Ethical and Civic Engagement’s website, the Master’s International Program is only available for students obtaining either MBA in Business Administration, a Master of Arts in education or geography, or a Master of Science in environmental studies.

Peter Simons, director of the Institute for Ethical and Civic Engagement, said that these four fields were selected due to their ability to be applied to Peace Corps projects.

“We purposely chose four of our strong graduate programs to start with, and each of those programs are very applicable to the Peace Corps service,” Simons said.

Simons said the four subjects could be applied by working towards sustainable solutions in developing communities within the environmental studies masters and social entrepreneurship in the business MBA.

In the course of the program, students spend one year on campus, serve two years in the Peace Corps, and then finish their degree in one final year on campus.

He said the coursework and credits required in the Master’s International Program do not differ from that of a normal master’s degree.

However, the six academic credits the students earn during their two-year Peace Corps service must be incorporated into their studies.

“Those six credits are tied into some type of research you might be doing as part of your academic program, and/or your thesis,” Simons said. “Each department will have a different requirement for those six credits, but in terms of the regular courses students take here, nothing changes.”

The idea to adopt the Peace Corps Master’s International Program first formulated around five years ago, Simons said. The university had to wait for Peace Corps to enter a period of accepting applications from schools for the program, which happened about a year and a half ago.

Devon Uwate, a 22-year-old senior environmental studies and biology major, said that she is considering doing the Master’s International program, and plans to apply next fall.

“I think it’s great that I can earn credit, while doing something that I have always wanted to do,” Uwate said.

Uwate said that she had a desire to go to graduate school and join the Peace Corps, but did not know it could work out before now.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity because I have wanted to go to grad school, and it’s one of those things, if I were to join the Peace Corps, I’m sure it would look good on a grad school application. But there is that delay,” Uwate said.

Uwate said that the program’s ability to allow a student to simultaneously serve in the Peace Corps and complete graduate school is the perfect solution to the “time delay” problem.

Simons said that he believes the Master’s International Program can give students a leg-up when applying to jobs or doctorate programs.

“It’s an opportunity that not only enriches your education, but also gives you two years of work experience on top of getting your Master’s degree,” Simons said.  “It’s a program students will hopefully take advantage of.”

Contact CU independent Staff Writer Nina Holtz at

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