Peace Corps or grad school? Why not both?
How Bard GPS aligns with the purpose of the Peace Corps
Bard GPS graduates work in social enterprises, sustainable development, and international environmental policy across the world—on food security, water and sanitation, protected area management and environmental education, and climate adaptation and clean energy. Many of these alumni gained critical professional experience through Peace Corps service. Bard GPS offers the opportunity to directly integrate the Peace Corps into the M.S. and M.Ed. degree programs, along with dedicated financial support for Peace Corps volunteers and returned volunteers, through the Coverdell Fellows program for all GPS degree programs.
Watch the webinar, From the Peace Corps to a Sustainability Career:
How to join the Peace Corps and study sustainability
Combined MS/MEd + Peace Corps Service
Students interested in international service through the Peace Corps begin this option by completing the first-year curriculum from one of the Bard MS or MEd degree programs while simultaneously applying to the Peace Corps. Once accepted into the Peace Corps*, they then meet with their Bard CEP academic adviser in the spring of their first year to outline a communication plan for the 27-month period of service, and commence their Peace Corps service in the summer or fall. Upon starting their assignment, students work with their adviser to develop a Master’s Project topic and plan the necessary field research. Upon completion of their service, students return for the second year of course work at Bard and complete the Master’s Project. Returning students received a 50% tuition discount in their final year at Bard.
Examples of past Peace Corps assignments for Bard students
• Coastal-resource management
• Protected-areas management
• Ecotourism and economic development
• Biodiversity conservation
• Sustainable development
• Environmental education
Sample schedule for MS/MEd + Peace Corps programs
Year 1: First-year courses in chosen M.S./M.Ed. degree. Apply to, and be accepted by the Peace Corps
Years 2 and 3: Peace Corps (27 months): Academic requirements include one blog post per semester and coordination with Bard advisor
Year 4: Finish Peace Corps assignment and return home. Enroll in second year of M.S./M.Ed. program and complete the degree requirements.
*All students must apply to the Peace Corps. Acceptance into the Peace Corps is independent of Bard student status and Bard has no role in the Peace Corps selection/acceptance process. If a current MS/MEd student is not accepted into the Peace Corps, they will continue in their chosen degree program as a traditional second-year student.
Peace Corps scholarships
Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program
Fellows students begin the program after having fully completed a Peace Corps assignment. Fellows students enroll in any of the GPS degree programs traditional graduate student. The only specific Fellows requirement is that the student, in practicing the third goal of Peace Corps, carries out a service project in an underserved U.S. community. Fellows enjoy the full benefits of Bard’s unique curricular structure, while receiving academic credit and financial assistance.
Tuition assistance for Peace Corps Fellows
Fellows students receive a minimum Bard GPS fellowship worth 33 percent of tuition. A signed copy of the Description of Service is required to guarantee these fellowships.
Coverdell-Eligible GPS Degree Programs:
- M.S. in Environmental Policy
- M.S. in Climate Science and Policy
- M.Ed. in Environmental Education
- M.B.A. in Sustainability
Want to learn more?
We love to chat one-on-one with aspiring change agents. Our team is happy to schedule a call to discuss your sustainability career goals and tell you more about our various programs. We can also get you connected with an alum, professor, or student doing work you are interested in learning more about.