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Peace Corps Master's International Degree Program

In coordination with the Peace Corps, The LBJ School of Public Affairs offers the Master's International (MI) program for students bound for the Peace Corps and pursuing one of two fields of study: (1) the Master's of Public Affairs (MPAff) with a specialization in either Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies or Social and Economic Policy; or (2) the Master's of Global Policy Studies (MGPS) with a specialization in Energy, Environment and Technology or International Development. MI partnership allows students to integrate their service abroad as international Peace Corps volunteers with coursework leading toward a master's degree. The MI program produces graduates with an impressive portfolio of academic and practical skills for potential employers, and invaluable life experiences unique to the international service component of the Peace Corps.

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Master in Global Policy Studies (MGPS) Master’s International Program

  1. The MGPS degree program consists of a minimum of 49 credit hours (four semesters). Nine credit hours are awarded for Peace Corps service (six hours of credit applied to a Policy Research Project and three hours of elective credit). Peace Corps service will also satisfy the LBJ School’s internship requirement (zero credits). If applicable, service abroad could also satisfy the language requirement necessary for graduation (zero credits). Participants in the program will complete a minimum of 24 hours (two semesters) of graduate coursework in residence at The University of Texas prior to their Peace Corps Service. 
  2. In addition to the MGPS core coursework, which considers the full range of influences on contemporary global policy – governments, private industry, and non-governmental organizations, students in the MI program will select the specialization in either Energy, Environment, and Technology or International Development to build a deep substantive knowledge base in sustainable natural resource management and environmental preservation.
  3. Upon completion of the degree requirements, participants will be awarded the Master of Global Policy Studies (MGPS) degree with a specialization in Energy, Environment and Technology or International Development.

During the first year (before Peace Corps service), students in the MI program will take three substantive courses in their specialization. Specialization courses are selected from a list of available courses in consultation with a faculty mentor. Specialization courses tap the expertise of The University of Texas faculty in a broad range of fields; MI students will likely draw from the Energy and Earth Resources program in the Jackson School of Geosciences, the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering program in the Cockrell School of Engineering, and from the Community and Regional Planning program’s offerings in sustainable development, as well as International Development offerings from the LBJ School and University of Texas Departments of Government, History, Sociology, Economics, Geography and others. 

Upon returning from Peace Corps service, MI students will write a Professional Report. Two faculty mentors with expertise directly related to the returning volunteer’s area of service will advise the student during preparation of the Professional Report. The second year of study includes the capstone Global Policy Simulation course, six additional hours of courses in the student's specialization, and the balance of elective courses required to meet the program’s graduation requirements.

 MGPS Sample Curriculu     |   MGPS Specializations

Master in Public Affairs (MPAff) Master’s International Program

  1. The MPAff degree consist of a minimum of 48 credit hours. Participants will be awarded six credit hours for Peace Corps service. Participants in the program will complete a minimum of 24 hours (two semesters) of graduate coursework in residence at The University of Texas prior to their Peace Corps Service.
  2. In addition to the MPAff core coursework, which establishes quantitative and analytical skills for public policy practitioners, students in the MI program will select a specialization in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies or Social and Economic Policy to acquire skills and knowledge in the three pillars of civil society studies: Nonprofit Studies, Philanthropy, and Volunteerism and Community Service, as well as skills and knowledge in a wide breadth of areas related to social and economic policy. 
  3. Upon completion of the degree requirements, participants will be awarded the Master of Public Affairs (MPAff) degree with a specialization in Nonprofit and Philanthropic  Studies or Social and Economic Policy 

Before their Peace Corps service, students will take a minimum of nine hours of substantive courses in nonprofit management. Potential courses in the Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies specialization include: Fundraising in the Public and Nonprofit Sector, Nonprofit Management and Strategy, Principles and Practices of Effective Leadership, Nonprofit Field Study, and Nongovernment Organizations in Developing Countries. Potential courses in the Social and Economic Policy specialization include Advanced Policy Economics, Program Evaluation, Evaluation of Social Policies and Programs, and Social Entrepreneurship. Additionally, prior to service, students will complete a set of core requirements. The core includes an Empirical Methods for Policy Analysis class designed to offer students skills to help with creative problem-solving in the kinds of complex situations they are likely to encounter in the field; this methods course covers traditional statistical analysis and regression methods with an emphasis on systematic thinking, data gathering, and problem-driven analysis. The core curriculum also includes courses on economic analysis and government processes, to include courses on Public Management. Additional core courses, which can be selected to include an emphasis on Nonprofit Management and Social and Economic Policy, include Politics and Process, which addresses the process of developing policies for and in nonprofit organizations, the policy-making environment, stakeholders and implementation issues; and, Advanced Policy Economics, which address economic issues such as Income Security and Community Asset Building and Human Capital Theory and Applications.

Of special note in the first year of the MPAff core curriculum is the two-semester Policy Research Project. This course is devoted to organized group research on a policy issue of concern to a public sector client. During the course of this project students are provided a comprehensive opportunity to practice and develop primary and secondary research methods; problem solving, synthesis and analysis skills; team building, teamwork, management, and leadership abilities; and oral and written communication skills. Recent Policy Research Projects in the area of Nonprofit Management and Philanthropic Studies have included: Outcome Evaluation: Improving Assessment in Child Advocacy Centers, and The Study of Performance Measurement Methodology in Nonprofits.  

MPAff Sample Curriculum    |     MPAff Specializations


If you have questions about either of these programs, please contact the LBJ School Admissions and Recruiting Coordinator, at

Application should be made to the specific LBJ School master's program of interest to you (MPAff or MGPS).  Upon acceptance to the LBJ School, students submit application to the Peace Corps for the MI program. Specific admissions information for both LBJ School degrees programs can be found on the prospective student home page.  Students must be admitted to both the Peace Corps and the LBJ School to participate.  Peace Corps Master's International Home Page | How to Volunteer