The PCMI Program Has:

  • 9-12 months of preparation, just like every other grad program: choose a program; communicate with prospective major professors, take the GRE if needed, assemble the OSU Grad School Application, be accepted, and move to Corvallis;
  • at least 9 months (3 academic quarters) of on-campus coursework;
  • a 3-6 month Peace Corps application process while a resident student at OSU;
  • 1-3 months of transition;
  • 3 months of Peace Corps training;
  • 24 months of Peace Corps service
  • 3-9 months of post-Peace Corps academic program wrap-up.  And when you're done you HAVE IT ALL!
  1. 1 Year Before You Want to Start Grad School: "All the Ducks in a Row"

    1. Be in contact with the MI program coordinator to discuss your interests (degree program, degree type, emphasis/option, prospective major/mentor professor...)
    2. Take the GRE if your degree program requires it...
    3. Connect with a Mentor Professor. The key to the application process is being accepted by the faculty that houses the particular degree program-- that happens immediately after the OSU Graduate School accepts your application.  Your complete application is then made available to the faculty that serve as major professor for the preferred academic program.  Like any graduate degree, it begins with conversations with the professor most likely to serve as your major professor and academic advisor.  Find the teaching faculty who share your interests and e-mail/phone/visit them!  Get on their radar, and if a strong connection is made, getting into your specific grad program is much easier. A teaching faculty member needs to agree to serve as your major professor by signing your application. This is undoubtedly the slowest and most difficult part of the application process. Your application, including letter of intent, GRE scores, and transcripts are important here.
    4. Apply to the OSU Grad School. Review the University academic requirements for admission.  As the aforementioned website notes, "Applicants who meet these requirements and apply for admission [with plenty of time prior to the time they intend to begin] may be considered on an individual basis if supported for admission by their intended academic department."
  2. As you Begin Grad School... First Quarter (Fall)

    1. An MI student will typically begin enrolled in the fall quarter (begins in September)
    2. Consider taking courses specifically for internationally minded/bound students (2015 examples):
      • WSE 599: Forestry in the Developing World
      • BEE 511 (Ecampus course): Global Environmental Change: Using Spatial Data to Inform Decision. 
      • ANTH 374 – Anthropology & Global Health.  This is in the Contemporary Global Issues category (Synthesis).
      • ANTH 574 – Cross Cultural Health & Healing graduate seminar
      • ANTH 482/582: Bryan Tilt's "Anthropology of International Development" 
      • ENGR 499/599: Brian Wood's and David Hill's "Engineering Design in Low-Resource Environments" (first offered in Winter 2015)
    3. The MI coordinator for your academic program will provide PCMI students a letter of acceptance to be used as proof of your graduate program.
    4. With the new expedited Peace Corps application process, you won't need to apply to Peace Corps until December (6-9 months prior to  your preferred departure date).
      1. This includes medical check: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/travel-medicine
      2. This includes finger-printing: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/files/fingerprinting.pdf
  3. Second Quarter (Winter)

    1. Classes are going well; You should have initiated your Peace Corps application at this point.  You and your major professor, along with the returned Peace Corps community at OSU and the MI coordinator, are helping you pursue coursework that enhances your training. You likely have determined where in the world, regionally, you'll likely be placed as a volunteer.
  4. Third Quarter (Spring)

    1. Classes are going well; you're feeling prepared and excited for your Peace Corps service and to pursue your graduate degree project or thesis work overseas. You know the country in which you'll be serving and you can be researching accordingly.
  5. Summer

    1. (Note that you can complete more than 1 year of coursework prior to leaving for Peace Corps service.  When you leave is up to you and your mentor professor, but needs to be timed with the Peace Corps placement schedule for your work sector.)

    2. At this point you have three full quarters of coursework under your belt, and you've met and spoken with many returned Peace Corps volunteers about everything from the application process to the trials and tribulations of service. You are both a budding academic professional, as well as an aspiring Peace Corps volunteer.

    3. Leaving on a jet-plane for "Staging" (getting ready with Peace Corps staff and then "Training" (usually in your host country or a neighboring country).
  6. 3 Months Into Peace Corps Service

    1. You have finished your Peace Corps training period, and now you are placed into your host community. We'll stay in touch via cell phones, e-mail, Skype, etc., as often as you find it possible.
    2. For the first few months you'll be focusing on your communities (coworkers, host community members, etc.), establishing work goals, developing mutual trust and respect, and understanding your environment.
    3. After several months you'll be in good position to begin your degree-related work-- your research/project topic will be developed over time, likely over the second year of your service, and with increasing detail over time.
  7. 27 Months Into Peace Corps Service

    1. You have 9 months of academia, 3 months of Peace Corps training, and 24 months of Peace Corps Service under your belt.
    2. You are now "closing service", leaving your host country and returning to OSU for one quarter or more (if necessary or desired)-- this is when you wrap up your academic program requirements.
    3. This is also a great time for you to help our community via the Peace Corps' third goal: "helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans."
  8. Upon Return to OSU

    1. This often occurs 1-3 months after close-of-service because returned PCVs often travel internationally on their way back home.
    2. You take whatever remaining course requirements are required for your degree program, wrap up your thesis/project work, and defend/present your work.
  9. Graduation

    1. You now have a master's degree.
    2. You are an OSU Beaver.
    3. You are an RPCV and a PCMI graduate.
    4. You are an international traveller and worker.