Skip to main content
Jump to Footer

Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program

Shippensburg University’s Social Work and Gerontology Department is proud to partner with the Peace Corps to offer the Coverdell Fellows Program. The program is a graduate fellowship for returned Peace Corps Volunteers wishing to pursue a Master of Social Work.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows Program

  • Half-time graduate assistantship: 6 credits per semester tuition waiver ($6,192 annual for in-state and $9,288 for out-of-state)
  • Graduate Assistant salary (up to $1,250 per semester, totaling $2,500 annual pay)
  • Free graduate housing (waiver of $3,600 annual cost)
  • $200 book stipend per term (totaling $600 per academic year per Fellow)
  • Waived graduate program application fee ($45 waived)

Value of benefits:

  • For in-state students: $25,829
  • For out-of-state students: $32,021

Application Requirements

GPA - A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.8 on a 4.0 scale from all regionally accredited undergraduate institutions applicants attended. In exceptional cases, applicants who lack the required grade point average may be admitted on a provisional basis. Applicants admitted provisionally must earn a 3.0 grade point average by the end of the first 12 credits. If a student has attended more than one undergraduate institution, all undergraduate GPAs will be used in the calculation of the overall GPA.

Required Liberal Arts Foundation Courses - Students must demonstrate that they have successfully completed coursework with substantial content in each of the following areas: human biology, economics, government/political science, psychology, sociology, and statistics. Applicants can be admitted with up to three course deficiencies.

Advanced Standing Program - Students will be considered for the Advanced Standing program if:

  1. They have earned a baccalaureate degree in the last eight years from a CSWE-accredited social work program with an overall GPA of 2.8 and a major GPA of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale and
  2. They submit the appropriate recommendation form from their BSW program director indicating their readiness for graduate education in social work. If a student has attended more than one undergraduate institution, all undergraduate GPAs will be used in the calculation of the overall GPA.

Applicants must demonstrate a combination of personal qualities and values that are considered essential for the professional practice of social work. The following documents are required to serve as evidence and must be submitted to your admissions portal:

  • Academic records of all institutions of higher education you have attended
  • A resume
  • A four-to-five page statement of purpose that describes the following:
    • Events and experiences that led you to apply for a master’s degree in social work as a profession;
    • How the MU-SU MSW Advanced Generalist program will further your career goals;
    • Your experiences with issues of diversity; and/or human rights; and/or social justice in practice and/or life;
    • The reasons why you should be admitted to the program.

Three References - Two from previous faculty and supervisors. One of the references should be completed by one of the applicant’s supervisors in the Peace Corps. Returned Peace Corps volunteers will also be required to submit their official Peace Corps Description of Service, while currently serving volunteers will need to request a letter from the applicant’s Country Director.

For Applicants Who Are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers:

  1. During the preliminary review, they will be evaluated on whether they meet basic requirements for the GPA and liberal arts foundation courses.
  2. The admission committee will review all the submitted materials and rate the applicants on the following criteria: experience, references, self-awareness, values compatible with social work, writing skills and GPA to make decisions on admissions.
  3. Skype/Zoom interview for the graduate assistantship.

Students will be admitted for the summer term only. This term begins in mid-May. Applications are accepted beginning in the fall semester. Admission review of completed applications typically begins in January. Applications will be accepted until March 31 or until the program is full.

Upon approval for admission to the program, the candidate will be interviewed (face-to-face or through Skype/Zoom) for the Coverdell Fellow half-time Graduate Assistantship (GA) position by the directors of the MSW program and the International Studies Program.

For more information contact, Dr. Jennifer Clements, director of the MSW program and co-coordinator of the Coverdell Fellows Program:

  • Phone: 717-477-1633
  • Email:
  • Fax: 717-477-4051
  • Address: 335 Shippen Hall, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
Contact the Social Work and Gerontology Department 382 Shippen Hall 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1717 Fax: (717) 477-4051