Programs offer opportunities to ambitious public servants to combine graduate education with national or international service.
Last week I wrote about choosing between grad school and service if you are a rising college senior and facing the worst job market of your lifetime.
Some programs are specially designed to let you participate in both, simultaneously.
Consider the Master’s Community Development Program at SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, VT, to serve as an AmeriCorps*VISTA as partial fulfillment of a graduate degree program. After completing the program’s coursework, students can participate in a VISTA year to fulfill practicum requirements–while paying 50 percent of the usual practicum fees. Students are responsible for ensuring the VISTA placement is relevant to their graduate degree (and an appropriate practicum).
Another prominent grad school – service partnership is that of Peace Corps’ university programs (of which SIT is also a partner). Peace Corps offers the Masters International program that allows incoming Volunteers to study for a year or two at a partner graduate institution, and then to participate for two years in Peace Corps in partial fulfillment of the graduate requirements. To learn more, check out the Peace Corps website, or listen to the Idealist podcast show featuring Peace Corps’ Eileen Conoboy on the topic.
Many teaching corps, such as Mississippi Teacher Corps, Chicago’s Inner City Teaching Corps, and NYC Teaching Fellows offer access to grad school — master’s degrees in education-related fields — to their participants.
If you are weighing your options and decide you truly want it all, go for it! Through these programs (and probably others — let me know) you can have the best of graduate education and service.