Michigan Technological University - Department of Civil and Environmental and Geospatial Engineering

Why you should consider this program

The Coverdell Fellows program at Michigan Tech is a great way to reenter the United States after Peace Corps service, or a great mid-career opportunity to upskill through a service-oriented master’s program. Houghton is rural and remote, surrounded by forests and Lake Superior, with lots of outdoor recreation opportunities. Michigan Tech has an active Peace Corps community. Our Fellows program utilizes internships with VISTA through Conservation Legacy and the Great Basin Institute, which have active programs working in underserved communities. Graduate classes are small and focused. The program is typically one year on campus, one year of an internship, and one more academic semester to complete a research project. Flexible part-time options are also available.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 39,460 $ 22,180 $ 17,280
Out of state $ 39,460 $ 22,180 $ 17,280
* 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

1/3 tuition reduction based on RPCV status, 3 no-cost credits during VISTA service, $6495 Segal Education Award based upon one year of VISTA service.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

Other research and teaching assistantships and general graduate awards are available on a competitive basis.

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 9,710

Application fee waived?



The year-long VISTA internships are conducted in coordination with Conservation Legacy and the Great Basin Institute. Fellows often work in communities that have been economically or environmentally damaged by prior mining or other extractive industrial activities. The communities have needs such as stream and watershed restoration, infrastructure renewal, historic preservation, economic development, and broader community development programs. Returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) enhance the program by bringing their experience with community development to the program. It is a natural fit for RPCVs who want to continue to work in rural development and improve their skill set by obtaining a graduate education in the appropriate field of study.

Jobs for program alumni

Program alumni find rewarding jobs in both the private and public sectors. Examples include working for engineering consulting firms, state and federal agencies, environmental nonprofits, and international NGOs.

Other details

Program length

Typically one year on campus, one year VISTA, and one semester after VISTA to complete a research project. Flexible part-time options are also available.

Application requirements

  • All returned Peace Corps Volunteers must submit their Description of Service (DOS). Current Peace Corps Volunteers should submit a letter of support from their Country Director specifying that the applicant is in good standing until the DOS is available.
  • Online Application, Transcripts, Statement of Purpose, Personal Statement, Letters of Recommendation, Resume/CV (optional). Details are on our website: http://www.mtu.edu/gradschool/admissions/requirements/.

Admissions process

List Peace Corps Fellows as an interest on the application, and the application will be tracked separately. Other steps in the application process are the same. Prior consultation with a faculty member and/or the Fellows program coordinator is recommended.

Program begins

Late August or Early January

Non-traditional options

  • Online degree program
  • Option to pursue degree part time while receiving the Coverdell Fellowship

A National Service Graduate Fellowship is also available to RPCVs. 

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



David Watkins, Ph.D., Professor

Michigan Technological University – CEGE
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931