Skip to main content

Master of Community Planning (MCP)/Master’s International 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 prepare students for hands-on urban planning experience they will receive while on their Peace Corps assignment. In addition, students will earn a master’s degree from an accredited graduate planning program at one of the largest schools of planning in the Midwest. Ultimately, this will position them to pursue a career in either domestic or international urban planning.

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/MI Program are existing graduate level courses offered in the School of Planning and elsewhere in the university, as with the regular two-year MCP program. The MCP/MI Program begins with two semesters of on-campus studies, with a focus on core competencies in urban planning and specialization courses in international development planning. Following this, students will complete a 27-month assignment with the Peace Corps, during which they will maintain regular contact with their School of Planning advisor and conduct research for their master’s thesis or capstone project. Upon their return to Cincinnati, students will complete their MCP degrees with two additional semesters of study. The courses in the final year will allow students to reflect on their experience as Peace Corps Volunteers through further coursework in their area of specialization. They will also have the opportunity to complete the thesis work they carried out while volunteering. Throughout their students on campus, students will enroll in a Peace Corps Seminar, conducted jointly with the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows Program.

Upon completing the MCP/MI 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

Students in the MCP/MI Program will complete a specialization in International Development Planning, including urban issues and the field methods courses before their departure. Upon their return, students will complete their remaining coursework. Students may receive up to six credits for their Peace Corps experience if they pay tuition and make arrangements with the Peace Corps Coordinator. MI students enroll in the Peace Corps Seminar each semester they are on campus, of which two of these credits count toward the total number of credits required of the MCP degree.) While overseas, students maintain enrollment in an International Guided Study course.

International Development Planning Curriculum Summary

Required Courses
School of Planning
7080: Issues and Policies in Urban and Regional Planning in Developing Nations
7094: Field Research Methods in Planning
7076/7077: Peace Corps Practicum I/II
7078: Peace Corps – Int’l Guided Study (for enrollment while overseas)
7012: Methodologies of Economic Development Planning

Anthropology: 6071: Ethnographic Methods
Sociology: 7005: Intermediate Graduate Statistics; 8040: Qualitative Sociology
Women’s Studies: 7042: Gender, Sexuality, and Globalization; 7047: Feminism and Global Justice


While all normal admissions requirements for the MCP degree at the University of Cincinnati must be satisfied for acceptance into the MCP/MI course of study, additional requirements must also be met. That is, to participate in the MCP/MI Fellows Program, all applicants must be American citizens and satisfy admission criteria for both the School of Planning and the Peace Corps. Students who do not receive a Peace Corps service assignment are eligible to continue their MCP degree like any other graduate student.

Application Procedures

Interested individuals should contact the School of Planning’s MCP/MI Coordinator to discuss admission to the University and a Peace Corps Recruiter to initiate the Peace Corps application process. Applicants must be prepared to tell the recruiter the following:

  • The school to which they are applying for is the University of Cincinnati
  • The degree they wish to pursue is the Master of Community Planning degree
  • The estimated time of availability for Peace Corps service is 27 months, based on the University’s program of study and Peace Corps regulations.

It is recommended that all materials be submitted to the University of Cincinnati no later than February 1.