ETSU partners with Peace Corps to offer new academic program

Dr. Megan Quinn

JOHNSON CITY – (Dec. 22, 2015) East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health has inked an agreement with the Peace Corps to offer a new program for graduate students through a partnership with the international service organization.

“Students seeking a master’s in public health through the Master’s International (MI) program at the university will serve with the Peace Corps for 27 months to meet their field experience requirements to earn their degrees,” said Dr. Megan Quinn, assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology and coordinator of ETSU’s application for the MI program.

The program will be beneficial to both the Peace Corps volunteers and to other students at ETSU, according to Dr. Randy Wykoff, dean of the College of Public Health.

“The entering volunteers will have the opportunity to take advantage of ETSU's long-standing commitment to providing students the skills necessary to address a wide range of real-world public health challenges,” he said. “At the same time, the volunteers can provide us feedback to ensure that our training is relevant and current to meeting the public health needs of low-resource areas.”

Master’s International students will be given two options for program completion. The first requires them to complete 18 months of coursework either on campus or online through ETSU and then 27 months of Peace Corps service. The second option requires students to complete 12 months of coursework before going into the Peace Corps. During the 27 months with the Peace Corps, they would complete the remaining six months of work required for the degree online. 

“We are delighted to partner with East Tennessee State University to give students the opportunity to incorporate Peace Corps service into their graduate studies,” said Carrie Hessler-Radele, Peace Corps director. “Peace Corps volunteers develop cross-cultural, leadership and language skills during their service that – in combination with a graduate degree – make them extremely competitive candidates in today’s global job market.”

The Peace Corps has MI program partnerships with more than 90 leading academic institutions nationwide that offer more than 160 degree programs. Established in 1987, the program aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with high levels of education and technical expertise, and to support schools’ efforts to provide substantive, internationally focused experiences for their students.

The ETSU College of Public Health offers a master’s in public health with concentrations in community and behavioral health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health services administration and environmental health. Over the past three years, the M.P.H. program has received applicants from 43 states and 30 foreign countries.

The college anticipates recruiting up to eight MI students per year for the first three years of the program, which official began this month. The first class is expected to start in August 2016.

For more information about the new program at ETSU, call 423-439-4427. For more about Peace Corps’ MI program in general, visit

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