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UAB's School of Education and Human Sciences (SOE) has been hosting the Coverdell Fellows program since 2015. This Coverdell program is for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) who, upon completing two years of overseas service, have returned to the United States and now wish to pursue a graduate degree. At UAB, the SOE hosts a Coverdell Fellows program with several degree options:

To learn how Coverdell Fellows can use Peace Corps service towards a graduate degree, contact Dr. Susan Spezzini by email or at (205) 934-8357. Dr. Spezzini had served as a PCV in Paraguay ('76-'79) and now coordinates the Peace Corps program in UAB's SOE. Dr. Spezzini is Professor and Program Director in the SOE's Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Daniel Wheeler

Daniel Wheeler

Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho
English/Community Health Instructor

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Susan Schell

Susan Schell

Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia
Vocational High School English Teacher

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Seeking Admission to the Fall Semester
May 1 Submit degree-seeking application to UAB Graduate School 
May 31 Participate in an interview with the SOE selection committee for Coverdell Fellows 
June 15  Be admitted to the Graduate School and accepted as a Coverdell Fellow
June 30 Submit tutor employment applications to targeted divisions at UAB
Seeking Admission to the Spring Semester
Oct. 1 Submit degree-seeking application to UAB Graduate School
Oct. 30 Participate in an interview with the SOE selection committee for Coverdell Fellows
Nov. 15 Be admitted to the Graduate School and accepted as a Coverdell Fellow
Dec. 15 Submit tutor employment applications to targeted divisions at UAB


Coverdell Fellows are encouraged to work on campus. TESOL students can seek employment as language tutors for international students at the INTO UAB Learning Resource Center (LRC). The LRC is located on the second floor of the Sterne Library. Based on your time availability, you are scheduled to tutor during hours when the LRC is open, which is Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. To seek employment as a tutor, you must email the LRC Coordinator, Ms. Meghan Gilliland. You should explain that you will be pursuing the MA-TESOL as a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow and ask for a tutor application. Be sure to attach a copy of your resume/CV.
Coverdell Fellows in other programs can also seek employment on campus, such as at the athlete academic center.


  • As a Coverdell Fellow, your residency will be classified as in-state. Regardless of your home state, you will be eligible for paying in-state tuition. NOTE: UAB's in-state tuition is approximately 40% of its out-of-state tuition.
  • Another benefit is being able to complete your master's degree in 3 semesters (12 months). This time frame facilitates a one-year lease and, by doing so, minimizes your housing expenses.


  • Varied and affordable housing in Birmingham's Southside neighborhood, 3-10 blocks from the School of Education and Human Sciences. Most students who live in this area walk to campus and do not purchase a UAB parking permit.
  • Fully online course delivery.
  • Course progression in a cohort manner with personalized support from instructors.
  • Learner-centered instruction from theory to practice within a standards-based, inquiry-focused curriculum that fosters collaboration, reflection, and application.
  • Intimate atmosphere of a small program in a large university that is situated within 15 minutes of an international airport.
  • Birmingham chapter of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for fun and camaraderie.


UAB's Peace Corps prep program
UAB on the Peace Corps site
UAB School of Nursing
UAB School of Public Health
Greater Birmingham Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (GBRPCV)


UAB has 11 schools and colleges on a campus comprised of 100+ city blocks that is both metropolitan and traditional. Having started in 1945 as a medical school and in 1969 as an autonomous university, UAB is now the largest single employer in the state of Alabama. With 26,000+ employees and 22,000+ students from 100+ countries, UAB has been described by The Princeton Review as a "mecca of multiculturalism" and was ranked among the top 10 U.S. colleges and universities for diversity for three consecutive years. UAB was also named for three consecutive years to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a university can achieve for commitment to civic engagement and service learning. During the past 2 years, UAB was also named as the top young university in the United States. UAB's growth as a world-renowned research university and medical center has driven the social, cultural, and economic revival of Birmingham. More fun facts about UAB are available at https://www.uab.edu/didyouknow/