1. What makes the PCMI program different than any other MS program in the above engineering disciplines? Will I get the same degree?
The PCMI program allows you to do your Peace Corps (PC) service during your MS program, and to design and conduct a field research project while you are on your service that forms the basis for your MS thesis or MS project requirement. Otherwise, you receive the same degree (MS), and the coursework and credit requirements are the same as for a non-PCMI MS program in the same field at OSU.
2. If I am an engineering student, will I have an engineering PC assignment?
Not necessarily. Your primary project is most likely to be an education assignment (sci/math), however, if there is a good fit for an engineering assignment, it is possible you could be considered for one. Your research will typically be a secondary project that you are working on during your PC service.
3. How do I apply to the PCMI program in engineering at OSU?
You apply to the regular MS degree program in your engineering of choice, and indicate on your application (e.g. in your essay) that you are interested in being considered for the PCMI program. It is also advisable to send an email to Kendra.firstname.lastname@example.org, the PCMI coordinator for Engineering at OSU, to let her know to look for your application.
4. Do I take the same classes all the other engineering MS students take?
The only “set” requirements for the PCMI program in terms of coursework are that you complete the requirements for your degree program (MS Mech Eng, MS Env Eng, etc.). You may take a slightly broader cross-section of courses than the “typical” student in an effort to prepare you for your assignment and better understand the context in which you will be working. For example, you may take some Science and Math Education courses, Anthropology courses, Public Policy courses, Public Health courses, etc. That said, if you are an engineering grad student, at least half of your program is most likely to be “pure” engineering courses. You will discuss your program of study with your adviser and it will have to be signed off on by your MS thesis/project committee.
5. If I am interested in the PCMI program but not prepared to commit 27 months overseas in the middle of my MS degree, are there any other related options I could pursue at OSU?
Yes! We do not have a formal humanitarian engineering minor or certificate yet, but expect to have one coming online in the future. Meanwhile, we are beginning to offer the core courses, including ANTH482/582 Anthropology in International Development offered in Fall term and ENGR 499/599 Engineering Design in Low-Resource Environments offered in Winter term 2015 (for engineering students only). All of the core courses will be “slash” courses meaning they can be taken by senior undergraduate or graduate students. We anticipate offering more core coursework in academic year 2015-2016.
You can look for a related research project in your area (environmental engineering, water resources, etc.) and then take these courses as part of your degree program, presuming your adviser approves them in your course of study. There is a lot of great international development work going on at OSU already – the trick is finding it and then aligning yourself with a research adviser doing that type of work. Check out the faculty profiles, the humanitarian engineering website (http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/heatosu) or the humanitarian engineering facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/heatosu) to see what we’re up to. You can also email us at email@example.com.
6. I saw something about an MEng Program – what is that? Can I do a PCMI MEng Program? How is it different from an MS Program?
Yes, you can do a PCMI MEng degree in all of the above engineering programs except Water Resources Engineering. An MEng is a coursework-only degree so there is no research requirement. Thus, you would not be using your PC experience as the basis for your graduate thesis/project research. MEng students are usually self-funded so you would not be considered for graduate teaching or research assistant positions and would be responsible for all expenses associated with your graduate study at OSU.