College of Public Health at East Tennessee State University

Why you should consider this program

Located in the beautiful lakes and mountain region of central Appalachia, the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health offers a range of flexible and affordable options for Coverdell Fellows. With a strong focus on “applied” and “real world” skills ETSU offers five Masters of Public Health degrees, three Doctor of Public Health degrees, a range of graduate certificates, and internship opportunities with over 300 national and international partners. The award-winning Project EARTH curriculum teaches students practical skills necessary for low-resource settings while building team-work, creativity, and resilience. Both the MPH and the DrPH can be completed part time or full time and several of the MPH concentrations can be completed in a totally on-line format. Coverdell Fellows can receive in-state tuition waivers, online student discounted rates, tuition scholarships, or graduate assistantships—all of which offset the cost of the degree programs.  Further, Coverdell Fellows may qualify for scholarships to complete their field placement in an under-served setting.  In addition to receiving “student-centered, community-focused and real-world tested” degree programs, returned Peace Corps volunteers will have the opportunity to share their experiential learning with the College and the community, helping to address the unique health challenges of central Appalachia. 

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 25,092 $ 20,070 $ 5,022
Out of state $ 54,504 $ 49,482 $ 5,022
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

The Fellowship’s cost savings comes from either a tuition scholarship or a graduate assistantship.

Tuition scholarship: 100% tuition waiver, student is still responsible for student fees, plus 10 hour per week research assistantship.

Graduate assistantship: 100% tuition waiver and a monthly stipend, student is responsible for student fees, plus 20 hour per week research assistantship. 

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

Fellows will be provided with leadership and career development opportunities in the College of Public Health and through our Academic Health Sciences Center.  Opportunities include participation in the Leading Voices in Public Health series, interprofessional education and research program, special lecture program, and activities at our Eastman Valleybrook Campus with the award-winning Project EARTH (

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 29,746

Application fee waived?



The MPH and DrPH programs each have a 300 contact hour field placement, “internship” requirement.  Coverdell Fellows will complete an internship in an underserved American community, addressing the internship requirement for both the degree program and the Coverdell Fellows program.  East Tennessee State University is located in central Appalachia, which is an economically disadvantaged and medically under-served community with long-standing health challenges related to poverty, poor health behaviors, and limited educational and employment opportunities.  The College of Public Health has over 300 affiliated field sites that Coverdell Fellows may choose from based on their interests. Examples of internship placements include: local and regional health departments, rural hospital systems, the Indian Health Service, and a range of local non-profit and non-governmental organizations working to improve the health of the region. Additional information on affiliated sites can be found here:  

Coverdell Fellows who receive Graduate Assistant (GA) support will have further opportunities to work with faculty on regionally important issues such as opioid abuse, obesity, tobacco policy, poverty and other issues. Other GA opportunities include working with the award-winning Project EARTH—helping to teach students and community members those skills necessary to support public health in low-resource areas

Jobs for program alumni

Virtually all alumni (98.6%) report that within a year of graduation, they are gainfully employed or pursuing further graduate education, with 96.5% of those in a health related field.  In addition to those pursuing further graduate or professional training, alumni have pursued training or employment opportunities programs with national professional organizations (such as the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Environmental Health Association), Federal Agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education) State, regional and local health departments, both in Tennessee and other states, Academic Positions, and with a range of health systems.  Some alumni have taken international positions. Over the last five years, 97% of alumni who have been in the work force for at least a year, report that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their overall educational experience and 96% of employers rate our students as high, or highest in overall competence in their field of study.  

Other details

Program length

MPH: 2 years (full time); 3-4 years (part time); DrPH: 3 years (full time); 4-5 years (part time)

Application requirements

Applications for fall 2020 must be submitted by June 1, 2020. The GRE is not required for fall 2020 admissions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional admissions requirements are found on our website:

Admissions process

Students should indicate that they are a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and interested in the Coverdell Fellows program in their SOPHAS application. Departmental admissions committees evaluate applications and recommend applicants for admission to the ETSU School of Graduate Studies. Applicants receive communication from the College of Public Health stating that they have been recommended for admissions. Applicants are then provided directions to complete the ETSU School of Graduate Studies application and pay the application fee. The School of Graduate Studies then notifies the applicant of admission to ETSU. 

Once the applicant has been recommended for admission by the department and admitted to ETSU from the School of Graduate Studies, the Coverdell Fellows Coordinator will work with applicants to identify funding for the Coverdell Fellows opportunity.  The applicant's SOPHAS application is used for their Coverdell Fellows application, there is no additional application needed for the Fellows program. 

Program begins

Mid to late August

Non-traditional options

  • Low residency or distance learning
  • Online degree program
  • Option to pursue degree part time while receiving the Coverdell Fellowship

Our MPH program with concentrations in biostatistics, community health, epidemiology, and public health administration can all be completed fully online. Students in the onsite program can take advantage of online courses as well.  To qualify for graduate assistantship or tuition scholarship opportunities, Coverdell Fellowship students must be enrolled full time in an onsite program.

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Megan Quinn, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Coordinator for Global Health Initiatives

156 S. Dossett Dr.
Box 70259
Johnson City, Tennessee 37614