Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program in Applied Anthropology

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The USF Department of Anthropology and the U.S. Peace Corps offer the M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Anthropology to Returning Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV) as well as to returned volunteers of Peace Corps Response (PCR) and Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program.

Applied Anthropology Graduate Program

Anthropology is the scientific study of human behavior. At USF, our faculty and students apply a holistic, interdisciplinary, and global perspective to identify and understand contemporary human problems, especially in the environment, health, and development sectors. Research and teaching in our program emphasizes the following: 1) how to design and implement health education programs with community participation focused especially around HIV/AIDS, maternal/child health, water/sanitation/hygiene, and nutrition/obesity; 2) how to make use of local environmental knowledge to address ecological problems, climate change, and sustainable and equitable development; and 3) how to work with families and communities to assess food security, perceptions of risk in environmental impacts, and resource conservation strategies.

Job prospects for anthropologists with international experience from our program are very high and expected to remain high into the future. In a recent survey by the American Anthropological Association’s Committee on Practicing, Applied and Public Interest Anthropology, respondents reported being employed in a diverse array of fields, including education, community development, social services, human rights, social justice, international affairs, public policy and advocacy, public and community health, environmental resources, humanitarian efforts, and social impact assessment, among others.

A total of 40 credit hours are required for the M.A. program, and 46 credit hours for the Ph.D. program. Typically, students complete the M.A. program in two years and the Ph.D. program in four years.

Financial Support

Coverdell Fellows in Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida will receive two years of Graduate Assistant support, which includes a stipend (estimated total: $12,500 at the M.A. level and $35,500 at the Ph.D. level), tuition waiver, and $2500 for comprehensive annual health insurance. Graduate Assistants will be expected to work 20 (PhD) or 10 (MA) hours per week during the regular academic year, assisting faculty in teaching or teaching their own courses. In addition, the Department of Anthropology will reimburse the cost of the program application fee ($30) to successful applicants.

Fellows are also eligible for the Williams, Wolfe, and Freeman scholarships (which typically cover book costs); Department, Fathauer, and Graduate Studies travel grants (to conduct field research or participant in national conferences); Angrosino, Whiteford, and Borman research awards (to support professional activities); a dissertation completion fellowship (to support the writing phase of the doctoral dissertation); and other scholarships, fellowships, and sources/forms of financial aid through the university. The FastWeb site offers a detailed scholarship search. The USF Office of Graduate Studies also coordinates several programs that offer scholarship support. Graduate Studies also offers several scholarships for underrepresented students. In addition, USF students can find part-time employment in the form of Federal Work-Study, USF OPS or internships. Finally, students are encouraged to fill out their FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible. FAFSA forms are available through USF’s Financial Aid Office or online at The form is essential for receiving need-based financial aid through USF, such as Stafford loans and work-study. Information on loans is available through the USF Financial Aid Office.

Application Process

RPCVs interested in the Coverdell program in Applied Anthropology at USF can apply jointly and concurrently to both the Fellows program and the M.A. or Ph.D. program (for details: click here); or, if the student is currently enrolled in our graduate program they can apply separately to our Fellows program (contact the graduate program director for details).

We expect applicants to the Fellows program to have the following characteristics in order to be successful: 1) foreign language skills, 2) intercultural competence, 3) training and experience in a specific PC work sector, and 4) professional/leadership skills. These characteristics will be evaluated through the candidate’s statement of purpose, in which we will ask applicants to address explicitly these four criteria and how their PC experience has prepared them to undertake graduate studies in applied anthropology. Additional components of the application package include the following: admission application, resume/CV, letters of recommendation, GRE test scores, official transcripts, and a writing sample. These items will help us evaluate the goodness-of-fit between the applicant and the Fellows program. Specific countries in which our faculty currently conduct research or administer programs that yield RPCVs include: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Antigua and Barbuda, Martinique, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and Lesotho.

For more information, contact: Dr. Tara Deubel, Director: Coverdell Fellows Program in Applied Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., SOC 107, Tampa, FL 33620 USA;