University of Pennsylvania - School of Social Policy & Practice

Why you should consider this program

The School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2) entered into a partnership with Peace Corps in 2016 to bring the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program to qualifying Peace Corps volunteers looking to attain their Master's degrees in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. This wonderful opportunity allows selected Fellows to examine complex social issues through an interdisciplinary perspective, both in the classroom and through internships in the form of field placements. Fellows will be able to incorporate and share the many skills they have gained as international Peace Corps volunteers while working in field placements in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. All Fellows will receive $35,000 in scholarship over the duration of the two year program. In addition, eligible recipients are able to receive $2,000 of work-study funding to be used in conjunction with their SP2 field placement.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 98,007 $ 35,000 $ 63,007
Out of state $ 98,007 $ 35,000 $ 63,007
* 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

$35,000 tuition scholarship

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

$2,000 federal work-study for eligible students

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 29,000

Application fee waived?



Internships, in the form of Field Placements at service agencies, are the signature pedagogy of the Master of Social Work degree. All students in the MSW program complete two field placements, one in their first year that relates to general social work practice and one in the second year that relates to the students area of concentration (clinical or macro social work). These field placements are completed in conjunction with required, core practice classes and under the supervision of an MSW. Internships are developed and monitored through the Office of Field Education at SP2. The Office of Field Education works closely with students to secure internships that will align with their interests and the MSW curriculum. Each student is assigned a field supervisor within the agency to oversee their learning opportunities. In addition, a field liaison from SP2 conducts bi-annual site visits, sees students weekly in their Social Work Practice Class, and meets with students for additional support as needed.SP2 has relationships with over 600 agencies across 6 states. As Penn is an urban university, the vast majority of agencies are within Philadelphia communities. We place students in agencies that provide learning opportunities consistent with professional social work education.

Jobs for program alumni

Alumni of the School of Social Policy & Practice are employed throughout the United States and around the world. Examples of recent job placements are available in the Career Plans Survey Reports.

Other details

Program length

Two years

Application requirements

All returned Peace Corps Volunteers who satisfactorily complete their service have lifetime eligibility for the Coverdell Fellows program. Applicable only towards the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree on a full-time basis, which requires two years of study. Must apply online and have all supplemental admission materials submitted by priority deadline of February 1st to be considered for the fellowship. Completed applications received by the priority deadline will be reviewed and notifications will be made in early March by selection committee.

Admissions process

Students must complete the regular application process for the MSW program. All application materials (including letters of recommendation) must be submitted by the priority application deadline of February 1st. In the online application, students should indicate _yes” to the question _Have you served in the Peace Corps?” Completed applications received by February 1st will be reviewed for Coverdell consideration by the selection committee. Coverdell Fellowships will be awarded in early March.

Program begins

Fall only

Non-traditional options

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

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Pamela Gordy, Director of Financial Aid

School of Social Policy & Practice
3701 Locust Walk, Room 112
Philadelphia, PA 19104