About the Program
The Peace Corps Prep Program emphasizes leadership, social justice and global relationship building. It is excellent preparation for service in the Peace Corps, and the skills you will acquire through the program can also help you obtain and succeed in other globally-oriented service or professional roles.
The program requirements are designed to build your skills in four areas:
- Academic knowledge and service experience in a particular area of focus (sector)
- Foreign language abilities
- Intercultural competence, self-awareness, and cultural empathy
- Professional preparation and leadership experience
After completing the program, students earn a certificate from the Peace Corps.
You must be an undergraduate student (in any major) to participate in the program.
You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to earn a Peace Corps Prep Program certificate, but only U.S. citizens can serve in the Peace Corps.
- Not sure if the Peace Corps Prep Program is right for you? Unsure about the requirements? Want to discuss which sector is the best fit? Contact Program Coordinator Caroline Krafft at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.
- Once you have a plan, fill out the application. See the student guide or meet with the program coordinator to plan out how to fulfill the requirements.
- Start fulfilling your requirements (you may have finished some before even applying). The program coordinator will check in regularly about your progress and is always available to answer questions.
Work Sector Training and Experience
The program requires three courses and 50 hours of related experience in one of the six Peace Corps work sectors:
- Youth in Development
- Community Economic Development
See the student guide for details on course options in each sector.
Foreign Language Skills
Foreign language study enables program participants to interact professionally using a non-English language. The course requirements vary by desired placement region:
- Latin America: Students interested in serving in Spanish-speaking countries must complete two 2000-level courses or learn Spanish through another medium.
- West Africa: Students interested in serving in French-speaking African countries must complete one 2000-level course in French or another Romance language, or learn the language through another medium.
- Everywhere else: Students interested in serving anywhere else do not have specific language requirements to complete the Program, but are encouraged to study a foreign language.
Note: If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement!
Engaging across cultures takes practice. This requirement helps develop students’ self- awareness and cultural empathy. Students will take three courses to fulfill this requirement.
Students will specifically take either: (1) CORE 3990W: A Global Search for Justice Study Abroad course (or one with a significant domestic immigrant or indigenous culture experience) or (2) COMM 3100: Communication Across Cultures: Identities and Differences.
In addition, you will select two courses from the following list (fieldwork /service learning denoted by *; it is recommended you take at least one of these.)
- EDUC 2070: Teachers as Leaders*
- COMM 1000: Voter Access (required service learning component)*
- ENGL 2470: Teaching English as a Second Language*
- COMM 3030: Rhetoric and Civic Discourse*
- ECON 1120: Economics of Social Issues
- ECON 3450: Development Economics: Examining Poverty and Inequality
- SOCI 3450: Women's Issues, Global Perspectives
- SOCI 2200: People, Stories, and Images - Qualitative Social Research
- SOCI/CRST/WOST 2700: Social Movements and Social Change
- SOCI/CRST/WOST 3250: Cultural Anthropology
- POSC 3300: Haves and Have-Nots
- POSC 3350: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
- POSC 3150: Women and Globalization
- POSC 3500: Model UN
- PSYC 2944: Prejudice, Discrimination, and Privilege
Other electives taken abroad that have a substantial intercultural component may be approved at the discretion of the program coordinator.
Professional and Leadership Development
Professional positions abroad, such as the Peace Corps, require well-developed professional skills and leadership experience. The program requires three specific activities to prepare you for professional life and leadership:
- Have your resume critiqued by someone in Career Development.
- Attend the Backpack to Briefcase events series through Career Development to develop your interview and negotiation skills.
- Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully. For example, organizing a campus event, leading a work or volunteer project, or serving on the executive board of a community or student organization or in Student Senate.
D’Ann Urbaniak Lesch
Community Work and Learning
Economics and Political Science
Education, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer