School of Social Work at University of Maryland - Baltimore

Why you should consider this program

The Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program attracts RPCVs into graduate social work study at the University of Maryland School of Social Work Master of Social Work (MSW) program in Baltimore, MD—conveniently located within an hour of Washington, DC, within two hours from Philadelphia, PA, and less than four hours from New York, NY. Our MSW program is the youngest program to be ranked in the top 25 schools of social work and prepares students for careers to improve the lives of individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, nations and the world. Social Workers do more than most people think. From policy advocacy to program management, participatory action research to motivational interviewing, and counseling to building community power, the MSW degree prepares graduates for a variety of career paths.

“Social workers are my collective heroes. They sit at the juncture between those with too much power and those with not enough. “

-- Gloria Steinem

Returned volunteers make good social workers due to an interest in relationships, understanding of diverse communities and experience with different cultures. To entice RCPF’s to enter UMB’s MSW program, the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program offers a stipend of up to $10,000 over a two-year period.  

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 32,000 $ 10,000 $ 22,000
Out of state $ 68,000 $ 10,000 $ 58,000
* 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 offers a $10,000 stipend, paid over two years. 

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

Many of our fellows apply for the federal work-study program (acceptance contingent upon need).

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 20,000

Application fee waived?



Internships, or “field placements” are coordinated by the Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) which operates as a social service agency within the School of Social Work. SWCOS' mission is to advance social justice through mutually transformative community-university partnerships.  The vision of SWCOS is that all communities will be equitable and promote well-being, self-determination, individual and collective power.

SWCOS is able to place, supervise, and support graduate social work students in diverse, community-based organizations across the Baltimore City region.

Field Placement sites and work plans vary but can accommodate the variety of concentrations and specializations offered at the School of Social Work. Examples of various Field Placements include working with public schools on family engagement strategies, providing in-home interventions with children and caregivers, advancing neighborhood agendas around affordable housing, etc. 

Jobs for program alumni

  • Presidential Management Fellowships 
  • Health and Human Services 
  • Housing and Urban Development 
  • Social Service Agencies 
  • Local non-profit sector jobs in Baltimore City

Other details

Program length

Two years (or one year for Advanced Standing Students based on Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and additional application qualifications)

Application requirements

Minimum requirements for consideration for admission to and enrollment in the Master of Social Work program are: Factors that are favorably considered by the Admissions Committee include the following (You should not assume that any factor, by itself, will either ensure or bar your admission):  

  • A baccalaureate from a regionally accredited college or university 
  • A minimum of 60 credit hours of liberal arts coursework 
  • A 3.0 grade point average on the last 60 semester hours leading to the baccalaureate is required. --Applicants with a GPA below a 2.5 are required to submit a GRE or MAT score. 
  • Applicants who do not complete their undergraduate degree by May, will not be eligible for Fall admission. 
  • Although interviews are not a routine part of the selection process, at the discretion of the Admissions Committee, individual applicants may be asked to appear for an interview. 

  • Above-average academic performance, either in the baccalaureate or in post-baccalaureate work
  • Length and relevance of related experience, either voluntary or paid, as reflected in the required resume 
  • A well-crafted personal statement comprised of three essay question responses that expresses a degree of personal reflection 
  • References that verify that the applicant possesses the qualities necessary for success in graduate school and in social work practice, written by those who have the skills and experience necessary to assess these qualities 
  • Contribution to the diversity of the incoming class by virtue of personal characteristics such as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, and geography, as well as life experiences such as career history, experience dealing with a significant personal challenge, belonging to or working in or among another culture or overseas (for the purposes of evaluating applicants, culture includes, but is not limited to, ethnic communities and alternative lifestyles), economic disadvantage, knowledge of more than one language, and/or deep and broad life experiences 
  • Suitability for professional social work practice You must own a computer and have access to the Internet when you enroll in the program 

Essential Requirements: 

Matriculation into the School requires a certain essential level of cognitive, emotional and communication skill. Students must be able to acquire client-related information, communicate effectively, and maneuver physically in an adequate manner so that service can be provided to client populations. Students must be also able to problem-solve, through analysis, synthesis, and reasoning. Problem solving must occur in a timely fashion. Students must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, and the prompt completion of all responsibilities related to service to clients. This includes being able to function under stressful situations and to adapt to changing environments. Students must be able to perform their duties with compassion, integrity, and concern for others. Social work is a profession governed by a code of ethics that student practitioners are required to uphold. A summary of the Social Work Code of Ethics is provided on the NASW website:

Admissions process


We recommend students complete their application for the school of social work before applying to the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows program. Remember that your application for Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows cannot be awarded until your application for admission to the University of Maryland School of Social Work has been accepted.

Write a 1-2 page letter containing the following information:

  • Your name, address, phone number(s), e-mail, and any other contact information.
  • Where you served, what you did there, what language skills you bring. (Please include in your application a copy of your Description of Peace Corps Service-- PDF and Word versions are acceptable.)
  • The skills and experience you bring to the field of social work
  • The skills and knowledge you want to acquire while being a Fellow in the program
  • What you see yourself doing when you graduate
  • Your GPA to indicate your preparedness for graduate education A copy of your current resume

Send the above to:

Mr. Lane Victorson

Coordinator for the Peace Corps Coverdell Fellows @ UMB SSW 

Social Work Community Outreach Service 

University of Maryland School of Social Work

525 West Redwood Street

Baltimore, MD 21201

[email protected]

*Electronic submissions are welcome. Do not assume your application has been received until you receive an email acknowledging a successful transmission.

Application deadline for Fall Admission is March 1st, however earlier applications are advised for best consideration.

Program begins

End of August

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Lane Victorson, Clinical Faculty Instructor Director of Community Organizing at SWCOS

525 W. Redwood St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21201