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Master of Community Planning (MCP)/Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

A degree program offered in collaboration with the United States Peace Corps

The School of Planning, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning of the University of Cincinnati offers a special course of study within its MCP degree program. The purpose of the program is to work in collaboration with the US Peace Corps to take advantage of students’ experience from their Peace Corps assignment to serve local communities in Cincinnati. In addition to earning a master’s degree from an accredited graduate planning program at one of the largest schools of planning in the Midwest, students will gain experience in domestic community planning organizations.

The Peace Corps is a voluntary organization of the United States government founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Since then, more than 210,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps Volunteers, including two professors in the School of Planning. For many, it has served as the introduction to a rewarding international development career. The mission of the Peace Corps is “To help people of interested countries in meting their need for trained men and women; To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of peoples served; To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of American.”


The courses comprising the MCP/Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program are graduate level courses offered in the School of Planning and elsewhere in the university, as with the regular two-year MCP program. The MCP/Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program is comprised of four semesters of on-campus studies, with a focus on core competencies in urban planning and specialized courses in economic development, environmental planning, international development, physical planning and urban design. Each semester on campus, students will also be placed in internships with community organizations consistent with their experience and interests. In addition, students will enroll in Peace Corps Seminar, conducted jointly with the Peace Corps Master’s International Program. This seminar and the courses throughout the program will allow students to reflect on their experience as Peace Corps Volunteers – particularly in their area of focus. Students also have the opportunity to complete a thesis based off on their work they carry out while working overseas or locally.

Students may receive credit for prior graduate study; however, Peace Corps experience is not eligible for graduate credit. Paul D. Coverdell Fellows students enroll in the Peace Corps Seminar each semester they are on campus (up to two of these credits counts toward the total number of credits required for the MCP degree.)

Upon completing the MCP/Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, students will possess an invaluable combination of overseas and domestic work experience, and they will have the credentials to pursue a career as professional urban planners.

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Curriculum Requirements

Required Courses

School of Planning

23-PLAN-7076/7077: Peace Corps Practicum I/II

Community Service Internship

Each semester, students are expected to work/volunteer in agencies that support underserved U.S. communities. In general, this totals approximately 1,000 hours over the course of their MCP enrollment.


While all normal admissions requirements for the MCP degree at the University of Cincinnati must be satisfied for acceptance into the MCP/Coverdell Fellows course of study, additional requirements must also be met. That is, to participate in the MCP/Coverdell Fellows Program, all applicants must be American citizens and have to have successfully completed service in the Peace Corps.

Application Procedures

Interested individuals should contact the School of Planning’s MCP/Coverdell Coordinator to discuss admission to the University and present evidence of the dates and location of their completed Peace Corps assignment. In order to be considered for the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, the following must be submitted to the School of Planning Peace Corps Coordinator:

  • A copy of the applicant’s Description of Service (DOS)
  • An essay indicating how their Peace Corps service directly relates to pursuing a career in community planning and their interest in studying in the School of Planning at the University of Cincinnati
  • A digital resume appropriate for placement in a community agency

It is recommended that all materials be submitted no later than February 1.