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Peace Corps, WKU partner to combine service with graduate studies

The Peace Corps and WKU are pleased to announce a partnership that will give selected students the opportunity to apply Peace Corps service toward graduate degrees in biology, and environment and natural resources. It is the first such agreement with a university in Kentucky.

The new partnership is a part of the Peace Corps’ Master’s International program, which allows volunteers to combine Peace Corps service with a master’s degree program and receive credit for their Peace Corps service abroad. Participants must apply to Peace Corps and WKU separately.

“The Peace Corps welcomes Western Kentucky University to the Master’s International program,” said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. “With this new partnership, our volunteers – who will also be Western Kentucky University students — will be able to meet the worldwide demand for highly skilled professionals in the field of biology and environment and natural resources. This program will help create a new generation of leaders who will bring the Peace Corps experience back to the United States.”

“The Peace Corps Master’s International program at Western Kentucky University is propitiously timed with our strategic directions. Service and internationalization are the pillars of our mission and embedded in our institutional spirit,” said Richard Bowker, dean of Graduate Studies and Research. “We are especially pleased to see this program emerge from our Department of Biology which has a long record of both scientific research and global outreach.”

Participants in more than 60 Peace Corps Master’s International programs typically finish one year of graduate school in the U.S. before earning additional academic credit while serving as Peace Corps volunteers abroad. Upon their return, Master’s International participants complete any remaining academic degree requirements. Many of Masters International partner schools also offer volunteers financial benefits such as scholarships and reduced tuition. Further information on Master’s International is available online.

Founded in 1906, WKU has produced 106 Peace Corps Volunteers since the Peace Corps’ inception and 28 within the past five years. The university places special emphasis on its international reach and is home to the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 77 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

Contact: Casey Lowman, (312) 353-3406

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