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MPS with Peace Corps Option: Overview

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This innovative Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Agriculture degree program, also known as Master's International, combines two semesters of interdisciplinary coursework followed by two years of Peace Corps field experience. The program is administered by International Programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP/CALS) at Cornell. The degree's academic training allows students to become better prepared for their Peace Corps field assignment and to develop professional relationships with their on-campus support team.


Offered in the Following Fields:

Admission Requirements:

  • Students must apply and be accepted into both the MPS program at Cornell and the Peace Corps.
  • Graduate School admission requirements are dependent on chosen field of study.
  • Your statement of purpose (Cornell Graduate School admission requirement) must contain your chosen field of study and indicate Peace Corps option.
  • A copy of the Graduate School's offer of admission must be sent to the Peace Corps.
  • International Programs of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP/CALS) must be notified of your application to the program.

Degree Requirements

On-Campus Program:

Each student will enroll in appropriate course work for two full academic semesters, beginning in most cases in the fall. Satisfactory completion of 24 credit hours of course work related to the candidate's professional interest. Cornell does not prescribe a specific curriculum for MPS students. In consultation with their Special Committee and approval, students select a program of study tailored to their professional interests and needs. In developing an individualized program of study, students can draw on faculty members and course offerings from across the university.

Students will have a support team comprised of a Cornell faculty member serving as academic advisor - usually a member of their Special Graduate Committee, the Senior Associate Director of IP/CALS, James Haldeman, and the campus Peace Corps Coordinator, Joseph Tamburello.

Field Experience:

After the two semesters of academic work, the student will undertake his/her Peace Corps assignment. Assignments are determined by the Peace Corps according to the needs and requests of host countries. While overseas, the candidate's primary responsibility is the project and community he/she has been assigned to. The project paper will grow out of your Peace Corps work.

Project paper:

Following the field experience, the candidate will prepare and submit a problem-solving project paper under the supervision of his or her Special Committee. The paper will draw on the Peace Corps experience and what has been learned at Cornell. The project paper may analyze and evaluate the execution of a particular program, the development of a plan of action for dealing with a selected problem, the development of materials or methodology for field programs, or the development and execution of research appropriate to a selected problem of development. Six credit hours are awarded for satisfactory completion of this paper.

Students participating in this program are encouraged to enroll for one additional semester of study at Cornell following their Peace Corps experience. An additional semester will provide an opportunity for the student to share his or her field experience with other students and faculty through class discussions and special seminars and to get feedback and suggestions for better understanding and integrating elements of the field experience. The student could enroll in additional academic courses to complement and reinforce prior academic and field experience.

The student's Special Committee will determine when all of the degree requirements have been met.