Peace Corps' Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Peace Corps logo

The School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) entered into a partnership with the Peace Corps in 2016 to bring the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program to qualifying Peace Corps volunteers looking to attain their Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2018, the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program also entered into a partnership with the Peace Corps. The program allows selected Fellows to examine complex social issues through an interdisciplinary perspective, both in the classroom and through internships in the form of field placements (MSW students) and leadership practicums (NPL students). Fellows will be able to incorporate and share the many skills they have gained as international Peace Corps volunteers while working in field placements in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

SP2 is committed to addressing complex social problems through a global lens for social change. An interdisciplinary perspective allows students to learn the importance of considering and respecting cultural norms, political structures, and local and foreign policies. Similarly, the Peace Corps provides its volunteers a unique opportunity and experience to be of service internationally towards sustainable change. Given the dynamic experiences of international service, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) are a natural fit for study within the MSW and NPL programs at SP2.

Eligibility

Students can be considered for a Coverdell Fellowship from SP2 if they meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfactory completion of service according to Peace Corps regulations (please see the Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program webpage for details regarding satisfactory service completion);
  • Pursual of the full-time, two-year Master of Social Work (MSW) program or the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) program;
  • Submission of application and all supplemental materials, including letters of recommendation, by the priority application deadline of January 25th (MSW) or February 1st (NPL).

Fee Waiver

All returned Peace Corps participants are eligible to receive an application fee waiver. In order to obtain this waiver, email apply@sp2.upenn.edu with your name and state that you are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.

Scholarship

SP2 will provide two MSW Coverdell Fellowships per year. Each Coverdell Fellow will receive a scholarship of $8,750 per semester, for a total scholarship amount of $35,000.* In addition to the scholarship award outlined, MSW students who are eligible for federal work study support can also earn up to an additional $2,000 per year.

SP2 will provide two NPL Coverdell Fellowships per year. Each Coverdell Fellow will receive a scholarship of $21,825 (distributed over the course of the program). In addition to the scholarship award outlined, NPL students who are eligible for federal work study support can also earn up to an additional $2,000.

*Coverdell scholarships and SP2 scholarship awards cannot be combined.

Application Process

Students must complete the regular application process for the MSW or NPL programs. All application materials (including letters of recommendation) must be submitted by the priority application deadline of January 25th (MSW) or February 1st (NPL). In the online application, students should indicate “yes” to the question “Have you served in the Peace Corps?”

Completed applications received by the priority deadlines will be reviewed for Coverdell consideration by the selection committee. Coverdell Fellowships will be awarded in early March.

Contact Information

For general admissions inquiries or questions involving the online application system, please email Admissions at apply@sp2.upenn.edu.

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