Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Who would be my advisor if I joined the Master's International (MI) or the Coverdell Fellows program?
A. Professor Looye is the advisor for all MI and Coverdell Fellows students.
Q. Are the classes geared towards teaching students about theoretical aspects of planning or do they focus on the application of planning theory in the real world?
A. Our program has a nice balance of theory (for your entire career) and practice (to prepare you for your first job, in large part).
Q. What are the chances of getting financial aid in the form of assistantships or scholarships?
A. The School of Planning has a limited number of graduate assistantships, which go to the best applicants. These cover 100 percent tuition and have a work stipend to go with them. Other students receive partial tuition, generally, and we have most of our students placed in planning agencies (broadly understood - government, private, and NGOs) for the same pay as graduate assistantships. Loans are handled through UC's central administration and it is best for you to contact them directly for more information.
Q. Will a high GRE score or anything else increase my chances of getting non-loan financial aid?
A. Yes, although we have a small applicant pool and can accept students who don't shine in every way (GPA, GRE, letters, experience, essays), the "best" money goes to those who do look most outstanding.
Q. Is it required that hard copies of the letters of recommendation be sent with the application? Is it acceptable for them to be sent electronically or faxed?
A. If the letters of application are e-mailed or faxed directly by the recommender, we can accept electronic or faxed letters.
Q. Should I send my resume as part of my application? Where should I send the digital copy?
A. Yes. Send a paper copy to Connie Dean with your application, as well as a digital copy to Professor Looye.
Q. What are the main differences between the MI and Coverdell Fellows programs?
A. Students in the MI program complete their Peace Corps service between their two academic years, and must complete a certificate in International Development in conjunction with their degree. Coverdell Fellows students have already completed a Peace Corps assignment, and they may choose how to concentrate their studies.
Master's International Program Questions
Q. Does your department already have agreements set up with certain countries for the MI program, or will the Peace Corps office place me in a country the same as they will for all other volunteer applicants?
A. It's just like every Peace Corps assignment.
Q. What is the typical thesis completion time after students return from their service?
A. Our returned Master's International students have all completed their theses on schedule, during their second year on campus. They also have had the added benefit of two years to define their thesis topics and conduct research while serving in the Peace Corps.
Q. Is it easy to take the required classes while completing your Peace Corps assignment?
A. We sandwich the Peace Corps in between two years of study (as a substitute for the summer internship), so you would just take a normal course load each academic year.
Q. Is it common for MI students to not complete their master's after they complete their Peace Corps assignment?
A. Our Master's International students successfully complete their Peace Corps service and master's degrees upon returning to campus in about the same proportion as regular MCP students.
Q. If I do not complete my full Peace Corps assignment can I still finish my MCP?
A. If you opt for an "early termination" (ET), you can still complete your MCP degree without earning the MI certificate. If the Peace Corps determines that you have successfully completed your term of service, you may complete the MCP and receive an MI certificate."
Q. Is the application to the MI program a separate process from the graduate program (i.e., separate essays, recommendations, and application, etc.) or do all materials need to be sent to the graduate school with no distinct Fellows application?
A. There is only one application for both the MCP program and the MI program. Indicate MI program on the application form and send Dr. Looye a digital copy of your resume. Additionally, if your general essays do not address why you want to pursue the Coverdell Fellows program, please send an essay explaining your reasons to Dr. Looye.
Q. Is there a deadline for the MI program application?
A. The deadline for the MI program application is the same as that for the School of Planning application. Generally, we begin to distribute financial aid on March 1, so you should have everything submitted by that time to be considered.
Master's Coverdell Fellows Program Questions
Q. How does the Coverdell Fellows program differ from the regular MCP?
A. The main difference between the Fellows Program and the regular MCP program is that almost all students in the Fellows program receive some financial aid (tuition and/or graduate assistantship) in exchange for working as an intern with a community organization involved with underserved groups. In addition, each student in the program is required to take a special Peace Corps seminar class that meets several times a semester.
Q. What types of internships do Coverdell Fellows students get?
A. Currently we have students working in the following agencies: Working in Neighborhoods, Communities United for Action, Groundwork Cincinnati, Green Umbrella, Center for Great Neighborhoods, and SmartMoney Community Services. Many of these organizations have websites that you can access to find more information.
Q. What is the Peace Corps seminar like?
A. The primary purpose of this course is to explore ways in which overseas Peace Corps service relates to domestic work with underserved communities. Through lectures, open discussions, and writing exercises, students will explore issues of community development work as a professional planner, including reflection on how to use the knowledge and skills developed during overseas service to improve people's lives in the US and vice versa.
Q. What specializations do most returned volunteers study?
A. RPCVs specialize in all areas, depending on their background and interests.
Q. Is the application to the Coverdell Fellows program a separate process from the graduate program (i.e., separate essays, recommendations, and application, etc.) or do all materials need to be sent to the graduate school with no distinct Coverdell Fellows application?
A. There is only one application for both the MCP program and the Coverdell Fellows program. Indicate Coverdell Fellows on the application form, include your description of service (DOS), and send Dr. Looye a digital copy of your resume. Additionally, if your essays do not address why you want to pursue the Coverdell Fellows program, please submit a short essay explaining your reasons to Dr. Looye.
Q. Is there a deadline for the Coverdell Fellows application?
A. The deadline for the Coverdell Fellows application is the same as that for the School of Planning application. Generally, we begin to distribute financial aid on March 1, so you should have everything submitted by that time to be considered.
Q. I did not complete my full term as a volunteer and opted for an early termination (ET). Does this affect my eligibility for the Coverdell Fellows Program?
A. Your eligibility for the Coverdell Fellows program depends on "satisfactory completion" of the Peace Corps. You would need to send our office a copy of your DOS (Description of Service). We would then check with the Peace Corps as to your eligibility. No matter the situation with the Coverdell Fellows program, you are welcome to apply to the Master of Community Planning program.
Q. Do you accept students for the Coverdell Fellows program for the spring term or do you only accept students for the fall?
A. We do accept students for the spring term; however, there is less financial aid available at that time.