University of Alabama - Birmingham - School of Education

Why you should consider this program

The UAB School of Education (SOE) offers Coverdell Fellows the opportunity of selecting from among three degrees: Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.), Master of Science (M.S.), and Educational Specialist (Ed.S.). Program options include an M.A.Ed. and Ed.S. in TESOL, an M.A.Ed. in Educational Studies, an M.A.Ed. in Community Health; and an M.S. in Exercise Physiology.

Consisting of 30-36 credit hours, these Coverdell programs target highly motivated RPCVs committed to serving disadvantaged communities. Coverdell Fellows bring unique knowledge and skills to share with the populations that they will serve in their future careers. At UAB, they pursue a degree within the intimate atmosphere of their selected program. Yet, they also enjoy the advantage of being on a large university campus located close to an international airport.

In their respective Coverdell programs, Fellows take courses in a cohort manner that facilitates personalized interaction with their classmates and instructors. Each program’s standards-based, inquiry-focused curriculum fosters collaboration and reflection as well as application from theory to practice, with a focus on serving high needs populations. In most Coverdell programs, Fellows begin receiving hands-on experience as of their first semester at UAB.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 14,850 $ 1,350 $ 13,500
Out of state $ 35,178 $ 21,678 $ 13,500
* 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 above chart represents the 2019-20 tuition for a 33-credit graduate program with face-to-face classes. Costs are correspondingly higher for a 36-credit program. Slight yearly increments may occur.

This chart represents the value of a 3-credit reduction for MA-TESOL Fellows (from 33 credits to 30 credits); this reduction is currently not available in the other Coverdell programs. Not included in this chart are fees such as $84 per online credit hour and $100 for a field supervision course.

Coverdell Fellows pay in-state tuition, which represents a savings of 58% for out-of-state Fellows. With strategic scheduling, Coverdell Fellows in a 30-credit program can complete their degree in 12 months. This reduces costs by facilitating a one-year housing lease. Varied housing options exist within a 9-block radius of the Education Building. By walking or biking to campus, Fellows minimize transportation costs, such as not needing to buy a parking decal.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)

From 1 to 8

Other benefits or opportunities

Coverdell Fellows are encouraged to seek on-campus employment as tutors for international students in the INTO UAB Learning Resource Center and/or for athletes in the Academic Success Center. Other types of student employment are also available.

For fun and camaraderie with other RPCVs, Coverdell Fellows are encouraged to join the Greater Birmingham Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (GBRPCV), a vibrant and passionate group of students and professionals from diverse careers.

UAB has 11 schools and colleges on a campus comprised of 100+ city blocks that is both metropolitan and traditional. Having started in 1945 as a medical school and in 1969 as an autonomous university, UAB is now the largest single employer in the State of Alabama. With 23,000+ employees and 22,000+ students from over 100 countries, UAB has been described by The Princeton Review as a “mecca of multiculturalism” and was ranked among the top ten U.S. colleges and universities for diversity for 3 consecutive years. UAB was named for 3 consecutive years to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a university can achieve for commitment to civic engagement and service-learning. During the past 2 years, UAB was also named as the top young university in the United States. UAB’s growth as a world-renowned research university and medical center has driven the social, cultural, and economic revival of Birmingham. More fun facts about UAB are available at

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 13,200

Application fee waived?



During their respective internships, Coverdell Fellows participate in the translation of their global experience to advance the third Peace Corps goal “to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.” They meet this goal by engaging in meaningful experiences with underserved communities in the greater Birmingham area. Fellows complete their Coverdell internship through placements arranged by their respective degree programs.

Coverdell Fellows are SOE graduate students and, as such, must do field experiences, internships, and/or clinicals as part of their regular coursework. They meet the Coverdell internship requirement by carrying out their field-based course requirements with high needs populations. In addition to helping underserved families in community centers located throughout the greater Birmingham area, Fellows do specific internships within their career path. For example, TESOL Fellows teach English to immigrants and other English learners.

Jobs for program alumni

Immediately following graduation, alumni from SOE graduate programs usually find employment in their professional field. For example, our TESOL graduates have found employment in 41 countries, 32 states, and 43 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

Other details

Program length

Usually one year

Application requirements

Admission requirements are as follows: GRE (290+ score) or Miller Analogies Test (388+), college transcripts, and an essay.

Admissions process

Before submitting your degree seeking application to UAB's Graduate School, contact the School of Education's Coverdell Coordinator, Dr. Susan Spezzini, at [email protected], and provide the following documents: your Peace Corps DOS, your resume/CV, and the UAB School of Education's inquiry form for RPCVs who wish to become Coverdell Fellows.

Program begins

mid August and early January

Non-traditional options

Most of the courses are in the evening. The rest of the courses are on Saturdays or are fully online. This allows students to work in the daytime.

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Dr. Susan Spezzini, Professor and Program Director

1720 Second Ave South - EB 101
UAB School of Education
Birmingham, AL 35294-1250