Many Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are choosing to get a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree after completing their Peace Corps career — here’s why.
There are many other reasons why getting an MPA is a strategic and fulfilling choice for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We outline several more reasons in our blog article — 5 Reasons Returned Peace Corps Volunteers are Seeking Graduate Degrees in Public Administration.
“As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I chose Cornell’s MPA primarily because of the flexibility and size of the program, as well as the Cornell brand. My initial concentration was Human Rights and Social Justice, which I switched to Public and Nonprofit Management once I realized the latter was more relevant to my career path.
Cornell’s MPA helped prepare me for a career focused on homelessness and affordable housing by enabling me to take classes with both short- and long-term benefits—from affordable housing policy and real estate development to spreadsheet modeling and nonprofit management and finance. Even more importantly, the Cornell MPA alumni network helped me get a summer internship in my field that turned into a full-time job offer.”
—Sharlene Castle, Cornell MPA '18, Program Manager at Jaydot
As someone who is passionate about representing underserved communities, you will find that an MPA is the perfect degree for launching careers focused on making the world a better place. Cornell University's MPA program is specifically committed to "training leaders, improving lives."
Your Peace Corps experience may have triggered an interest in a specific area of policy study. Our interdisciplinary MPA program will allow you to explore that interest through solid foundational coursework and eight degree concentrations, including International Development Studies.
Because you can take concentration courses from Colleges and programs across the University, you will be able to work with leading experts in your area of policy specialization, allowing you to develop cutting-edge expertise in your field. Which of these concentrations will you choose?
The Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship is a graduate fellowship program that offers significant financial assistance to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers dedicated to impacting real, tangible change in a variety of fields related to public management and policy analysis. The chart below is a breakdown of the benefits of the Coverdell Fellowship:
Cornell partners with the Peace Corps to offer RPCVs a Coverdell Fellowship. Please click below to learn more about this fellowship, or start your MPA journey by contacting Thomas O’Toole, the Executive Director of Cornell’s MPA program.
We understand that the graduate school application process can be challenging to navigate. In order to simplify the process for you, we’ve included a list of “next steps” for you right here. You can also visit our Application Process page to learn more.
STEP 1: Contact Thomas O’Toole, Executive Director and RPCV Coordinator at CIPA. He will be able to answer questions regarding eligibility, academics, as well as respond to specific questions about your specific interests and professional goals.
STEP 2: Contact Jennifer Evangelista, Admissions Coordinator, to receive an Application Fee Waiver Code.
STEP 3: Complete online application form and submit unofficial transcripts.
STEP 4: Complete the GRE.
STEP 5: Submit your resume, 3 letters of recommendation, Statement of Purpose, and an Essay.
STEP 6: Await email instructions to participate in an online interview in order to complete your application.
Wondering what it’s like to be an MPA student at Cornell? Have questions about the admissions process? Interested in hearing about hands-on learning opportunities and career outcomes? You’re in luck because we have a variety of resources that are all designed to tell you exactly what you need to know about getting an MPA and jumpstarting a career in the field of public management or public affairs.
We encourage you to explore the rest of our downloadable PDFs and digital guides.