The Peace Corps Prep program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you'll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. These four competencies, or “learning objectives,” are the following:
- Training and experience in a work sector
- Foreign language skills
- Intercultural competence
- Professional and leadership development
This document explains each of these requirements in detail. Use this guide to map out your Peace Corps Prep course of study. In particular, refer to this when completing your PC Prep curriculum, where you'll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement. This guide aligns point-by-point with each section of the application!
1. Training and experience in a specific work sector
Required: 3 courses + 50 hours related experience
Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through this PC Prep program, you will begin to build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well whether or not you become a Peace Corps Volunteer.
For PC Prep, you need to complete at least 3 courses that align with a specific work sector (they can but do not need to come from your academic major or minor). You also must accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity.
Peace Corps Tip: If you intend to apply to the Peace Corps, the best way to assure that you will be a strong candidate is to identify the type of assignments in which you'd like to serve through Peace Corps Openings then review the positions' desired qualifications and build them up accordingly. In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep experiential requirements!
There are six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers serve—detailed below. Choose
one sector to focus on then complete at least 3 courses + 50 hours of related experience
in that sector.
Note: Actual Peace Corps assignments are based on local needs, and thus may or may not align seamlessly with your qualifications. Flexibility is central to the Peace Corps experience!
2. Foreign Languages
Requirements vary by language
Working across cultures often entails verbal and nonverbal languages distinct from your own. Building foreign language skills is thus a second key component of the PC Prep curriculum.
Where would you like to serve? PC Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region.
- Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 2000-level courses.
- West Africa: Individuals wanting to serve in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in French (or, in some cases, any Romance Language), usually through two 2000-level courses.
- Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries. However, the ability to learn languages is augmented by the study of linguistics, such as two 3000-level linguistics courses.
Note: If you are a strong native speaker and want to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement!
3. Intercultural competence
Required: 3 approved courses
Engaging thoughtfully and fluidly across cultures begins with one's own self-awareness. With this learning objective, you will deepen your cultural agility through a mix of three introspective courses in which you learn about others while reflecting upon your own self in relation to others. The goal is for you to build your capacity to shift perspective and behavior around relevant cultural differences. Some example courses:
- ANTH 2302. [ANTH 2346, 2351; HUMA 2323] Introduction to World Cultures and Ethnology (3). The rich complexity of peoples and cultures in the world as studied by anthropologists. Discussion of basic concepts such as ethnography, linguistics, and social organization. Fulfills core Social and Behavioral Sciences and multicultural requirements.
- ANTH 2304. Global Forces and Local Peoples (3). Anthropological perspective on critical problems facing humanity: the aftermath of colonialism, the fate of indigenous peoples, changing family systems, and the reassertion of ethnic identity.
COMS 3332. Intercultural Communication (3). Explores communication and culture within global, national, and local contexts. Examines cultural group values, practices, and communicative behaviors from diverse perspectives. Applies topics such as cultural barriers, cultural similarities/differences, prejudice, and privilege to everyday communicative encounters.
ENG 3338. Global South Literatures (3). Prerequisites: 3 hours of 2000-level ENGL courses. Representative African, Asian, Caribbean, and/or or Latin American authors. May be repeated once for credit when topic varies. Fulfills multicultural requirement.
GEOG 2351. [GEOG 1303] Regional Geography of the World (3). An introduction to the geography of world regions for students who have had no previous geography courses. Fulfills multicultural requirement. Fulfills core Social and Behavioral Sciences requirement.
- HIST 2322. [HIST 2321] World History to 1500 (3). Introduction to basic narrative and major themes in world history from origins to 1500. Fulfills core Language, Philosophy, and Culture requirement. (AAL)
- HIST 2323. [HIST 2322] World History since 1500 (3). Introduction to basic narrative and major themes in world history since 1500. Fulfills core Language, Philosophy, and Culture requirement. (AAL).
- HIST 3308. United States Diplomatic History to 1913 (3). A survey of U.S. diplomatic history from the American Revolution to 1913 with an emphasis on the development of the U.S. as a world power. (US)
- HIST 3309. United States Diplomatic History since 1913 (3). A survey of U.S. diplomatic history from 1913 to the present with an emphasis on the U.S. as a world leader. (US)
- HIST 3340. War and Memory (3). Examines how the experience and trauma of war (victory, defeat, heroism, war crimes, and loss) are later integrated into a society's sense of identity. (US)
- HIST 3382. Modern Latin America (3). Survey of the principal events in Latin American history beginning with the independence movement and reaching into the contemporary scene. Fulfills multicultural requirement. (AAL)
- HIST 3383. Modern Mexico and Central America (3). Covers major themes in Mexico and Central America since Independence. (AAL)
- HIST 3384. History of Brazil (3). Brazil from preconquest times to the present with emphasis on unique characteristics of Brazilian culture in the context of world history. (AAL)
- HIST 3389. The British Empire, 1783 to Present (3). Studies the growth of the British Empire in the nineteenth century and its later decline in the twentieth century under the impact of war and nationalism. (E)
- HIST 3394. Religion, Family, and the State in Asia (3). Surveys the main religious traditions of Asia and modern transformations; explores traditional and modern notions of family; examines changing political patterns. (AAL)
- HIST 3395. Africa: Empires and Civilizations (3). A survey of the development of Africa's civilizations and cultures from ancient Egypt to the West African trading states of the eighteenth century. Fulfills multicultural requirement. (AAL)
- HIST 3396. Africa: Revolution and Nationalism since 1800 (3). Surveys the colonial impact on African political, social, and economic life; the rise of African nationalism; and the creation of new nations. Fulfills multicultural requirement. (AAL)
- HIST 3398. The Modern Middle East, 1800 to the Present (3). The history of the Middle East from ca. 1800 to the rise of Arab and other nation-states and the coups and revolutions of recent decades. Fulfills multicultural requirement. (AAL)
- POLS 3301. Selected Topics in International Relations (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. Varying global and international topics of current interest. Consult department for current topic. Repeatable for up to 12 hours with different topics. Note that to grade replace this course, the topics must be the same.
- POLS 3363. International Organization (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. A comparative study of the major organizations of the League of Nations and the United Nations; approaches to peaceful settlement of disputes, collective security, disarmament, regional organizations, and the future of world order.
- POLS 3375. South American Governments (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. The government and politics of countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Includes consideration of special problems such as land tenure and terrorism.
- POLS 3376. Asian Governments and Politics (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. Political culture, party systems, political structure, policy-making, and foreign policy in selected Asian countries. Primary attention focused on Japan, China, and South Korea.
- POLS 3365. War and Security (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. Considers the basic problem in international relations; how to survive. How do countries attempt to secure themselves against foreign threats?
- POLS 3368. Transnational Issues (3). Prerequisite: POLS 1301. Survey of current politics of human rights, migration, environment, and technological change.
SOC 3323. Race and Ethnicity (3). Sociological and global analysis of racial and ethnic groups. Analysis of diversity and multiculturalism from a global perspective. Fulfills multicultural requirement.
WS 2305. Intersectionalities: Race, Class, and Gender in a Global World (3). The study of women's experiences as influenced by such social statuses and identities as race, class, and global status.
4. Intercultural Experience Abroad
See your advisor for details