John Rohrback MS/MI '13 and students during summer school - celebrating how they just learned how long it takes things to decompose!
Whether you have already served, or are hoping to serve, consider earning your master's from Bard CEP in coordination with your Peace Corps experience.
University Contact: Molly Williams
Fellows and MI Coordinator
Bard Center for Environmental Policy
Through Bard’s MI Program, future Peace Corps volunteers gain valuable skills before starting their overseas assignment. The critical thinking, reasoning, and practical skills acquired at Bard, in addition to the themes and concepts learned, prepare MI students for meaningful service work, benefiting both the host community and the student.
MI students graduate from Bard with a master’s degree and enter the job market with the unique combination of an advanced degree plus two years of professional experience in an international setting. Peace Corps volunteers have the added benefit of receiving a stipend upon completion of service and one year of noncompetitive status to apply for federal jobs.
MI students engage in their Peace Corps assignment after finishing the first year of cources at Bard. After completion of their service overseas, MI students return for a final semester of instruction at Bard and work on the master’s thesis. Successful completion of the final semeter of classes and a public presentation of the thesis are the final requirements of the degree.
Focused Peace Corps Assignment
MI students commence their Peace Corps service, a life-defining leadership experience, while enrolled as a full-time graduate student. Before departure, students meet with their Bard CEP academic adviser to outline a communication plan for the 27-month period of service. Upon starting their assignment, students work with their adviser to develop a master’s thesis topic, and plan the necessary field research.
Peace Corps aims to assign students to areas that best match their skills with the needs of the communities in which they will serve. The Peace Corps assignment fullfills the internship component of MS curriculum.
Assignments for Bard MI students include:
• Coastal resource management
• Protected areas management
• Ecotourism and economic development
• Biodiversity conservation
• Sustainable development
• Environmental education
Master’s International students accepted to the Bard CEP graduate program are eligible for CEP fellowships, campus employment, and other forms of aid in their first year. After successfully completing their service overseas, MIs are eligible for a fellowship worth at least $10,500 in their final year of study. Students must submit their Description of Service form to qualify.
Before and During Service: Master's International Program
The environmental and climate dimensions of the Center’s graduate programs and its commitment to civic engagement are of particular interest to students who have worked overseas on environmental issues and would like to pursue a career in policy. In recognizing the tremendous service Peace Corps volunteers provide to communities around the world, the Coverdell Fellows Program at Bard gives returned Peace Corps volunteers the unique opportunity to earn a master’s degree with the benefits of financial assistance and professional internship opportunities. Admitted Peace Corps Fellows are eligible for 33% tuition fellowships in the first year, and a fellowship worth at least $10,500 in the second year.
Pioneering Curriculum Design
The Bard CEP curriculum integrates the core disciplines of science, policy, law, and economics into a cohesive and comprehensive first year of graduate course work. Through close collaboration with faculty and an innovative program of study, students learn to think across disciplines to understand the complexities of today’s environmental problems and challenges. In addition to projects assigned in each course, students work with a professional writing instructor throughout the first year to hone their writing skills.
Fellows enter the program along with the incoming cohort and enroll as full-time graduate students in either one of our MS programs. Applicants to the Fellows Program should apply normally for admission to either degree program, and are required to submit an official Description of Service form to be eligible for the financial assistance listed above. Although not required, Bard anticipates that selected Fellows will have worked on environmental projects during their service oversees.