Pennsylvania State University - University Park - School of International Affairs

Why you should consider this program

The Penn State School of International Affairs will help you build on your international experiences gained in the Peace Corps and equip you with the tools to make a positive difference in the world. We are an interdisciplinary program that provides an intimate, small-classroom environment while also giving you access to the wealth of academic resources available at one of the world's top research universities. We offer a personalized degree that you can shape to suit your interests and professional goals. We offer nine optional concentrations ranging from international business and economics to development policy, as well as the option to develop your own individualized concentration. In addition to international affairs courses with former ambassadors, diplomats, military personnel, and scholars, we also allow you to take courses in any of Penn State's world-class graduate level programs, allowing you to create the degree that's best for you and your future. In addition to our distinguished faculty and flexible academics, our students also benefit from the School of International Affairs' over 95% career placement and the worldwide Penn State alumni network. We are your gateway to a great global career, you want to change the world. We can help you do it.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 43,504 $ 11,000 $ 32,504
Out of state $ 73,212 $ 18,400 $ 54,812
* 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

Fellows will receive a minimum scholarship of 25% of tuition/fees per academic year and an application fee waiver. These savings are eligible to stack with additional need- and merit-based financial aid, which over two-thirds of students receive.

Note:  Tuition are subject to change every year, but the student will still receive 25% of tuition/fees of that year.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 16,000

Application fee waived?



Coverdell Fellows at the Penn State School of International Affairs will work with local organizations and non-profits to benefit undeserved communities in the university and local community. We have established partnerships with Global Connections, a State College-based NGO that extends assistance to international populations in the region and promotes intercultural learning for all area residents, and the Jana Marie Foundation, a non-profit that promotes educational opportunities and scholarships to empower young women. Both organizations are eager to host Coverdell Fellows as interns. Additionally, the SIA Office of Career Services will work with Coverdell Fellows on an individual basis to identify other opportunities as needed to support our Fellows' interests and goals.

Jobs for program alumni

The Penn State School of International Affairs boasts an over 95% career placement rate for our students in government agencies, private enterprise, and non-governmental organizations. Our graduates have gone on to work at the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Institutes of Health, Barclays Bank, USAID, Bloomberg LP, Chemonics, Booz Allen Hamilton, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, the Organization of American States, the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Cooperative Business Association, the Corporate Council for Africa, and many more.

Other details

Program length

2 years

Application requirements

Two letters of recommendation, current resume or CV, copies of official transcripts from all previous institutions, official GRE score report, and a statement of purpose. International applicants from most countries are also required to submit English proficiency test scores.

Admissions process

In your statement of purpose, note your Peace Corps experience and indicate your interest in the attending the School of International Affairs as part of the Coverdell Fellowship Program. When notifying you if you’ve been accepted into the program, we will also indicate if you’ve been accepted as a Coverdell Fellow.

Program begins


Non-traditional options

The Penn State School of International Affairs offers a joint J.D./M.I.A. program with Penn State Law, allowing Coverdell Fellows interested in international law to pursue both degrees simultaneously.

Penn State Law is housed in the same facility as the School of International Affairs, offering students extensive access to world-class professors and scholars at the top of their fields in both law and international affairs. Coverdell Fellows interested in the joint J.D./M.I.A. program must be accepted into both Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs. Financial assistance through the Coverdell Fellowship Program can only be applied to tuition for the School of International Affairs.

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Grant Littke, Director of Career Services

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802