Peace Corp Fellows Program in Community Development Western Illinois University
How to Apply - Communities

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis for communities interested in hosting a Peace Corps Fellow.  Peace Corps Fellows serve an eleven month internship and are placed each year in either January or September.  The application process is very competitive, thus applying early is advised.

Program Overview

The Peace Corps Fellows Program in Community Development began in 1994 with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  Since its inception, the Fellows Program has placed Fellows in over 100 rural Illinois communities.  The primary purpose of the program is to provide high quality students, who have served overseas in the Peace Corps, an opportunity to earn a master’s degree with a specialization in community development.  As part of their degree plan, Peace Corps Fellows serve an eleven-month internship in which they gain practical experience while assisting rural communities in achieving their development goals. 

The Fellows

All Fellows have a minimum of two years overseas experience with the Peace Corps.  Many Fellows have significant life and professional experiences in addition to Peace Corps.  When applying to the program, the Fellows select a master’s degree program from one of the following departments:

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Economics
  • Political Science (Public Administration)
  • Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration
  • Geography (Regional Planning and G.I.S.)
  • Health Science (Community Education)

As part of their degree plan, Fellows take specialized coursework in community development in addition to the courses required by the academic departments listed above.

How the Program Works

  • Any small town, group of towns, local, county or regional agency is eligible to host a Fellow.
  • Selections are made in a competitive process, matching a community’s needs with the skills and professional goals of the Fellow.
  • Communities or agencies that have a strategic plan for community development or have participated in a strategic visioning program will have preference.
  • The sponsorship fee of $22,500 defrays salary and training expenses during the Fellow’s eleven-month internship.  The host also provides mileage reimbursement and office space with telephone and e-mail access for the Fellow.
  • Expert guidance, on-site visits, and support resources are provided by Western Illinois University and the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.

Application Information

Applications are accepted year-round.  Applications can be requested from the Peace Corps Fellows office or downloaded. Click here to download an application. Questions or completed applications should be directed to the Peace Corps Fellows office at or 503 Currens Hall, Macomb, IL 61455.


Peace Corps Fellows Program   ·  Western Illinois University   ·  1 University Circle - 503 Currens Hall   ·  Macomb, IL 61455
(800) 526-9943   ·  (309) 298-2268   ·  

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The PCF program is a unit of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs.