Students can apply at any point in their college career, but it is heavily encouraged that they wait until sophomore year to ensure they’ve fully considered their major and post-college interests, and begin no later than their first semester of junior year in order to complete all coursework in a timely manner. Interested students must first attend an informational session to discuss the program, how it works, the benefits, and the application process. These sessions will be held at the beginning of each semester.
The following requirements are necessary for the completion of every track.
A downloadable PDF of this information is available at the bottom of the page.
1. 3 courses + 50 hours of 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.
2. Foreign language skills.
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 200-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 one 200-level course.
- Everywhere else: The Peace Corps has no explicit language requirements for individuals applying to serve in most other countries. However, you will still likely learn and utilize another language during service, so it is only helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class.
3. Intercultural competency.
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.
You must take at least 1 of these core classes:
- Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 113)
- Making of the Contemporary World (HIST 100)
- What in the World is World Literature? (MLL 120)
- Cross-Cultural Psychology (PSYC 227)
- Encountering Religion in its Global Context (RLST 101)
- Society in Comparative Perspective (SOCY 105)
And choose 2 additional electives from the above list or these below:
- Anthropology of Mass Media (ANTH 253)
- Music, Human Rights and Cultural Rights (ANTH 310)
- Postcolonial Literature (ENGL 265)
- Writing the Global City (ENGL 363)
- The Global South Novel (ENGL 367)
- Expansion of International Society (INST 201)
- World Cinema (MLL 260)
- Immigration, Citizenship and National Identity (PSCI 355)
- Globalization (PSCI 361)
- Global Religions in Modern Society (SOCY 221)
- Borders and Border Crossings (SOCY 237)
- Knowledge of the Other (SOCY 249)
- Politics of Identity Formation in the Global South (SOCY 466)
- Religious Fundamentalism in the Contemporary World (RLST 335)
- Voices of Contemporary Islam (RLST 285)
- Transnational Feminisms (WGS 242)
In addition to these courses on global cultural interactions, there are many other appropriate courses in various departments that explore particular regions and societies around the world. Please discuss it with your PC Prep Faculty Advisor.
4. Professional and leadership development.
International development is a highly professional sector. It is difficult to break into, and it demands great initiative and leadership to advance professionally within the field.
PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):
- Have your resume critiqued by someone in the Career Development Office.
- Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the Career Development Office.
- 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 student organization.
Note: If you are interested in taking a course or pursing a volunteer opportunity that you believe relates to your track but do not see above, contact Stephen Volz at email@example.com to discuss whether it could be counted towards the program requirements.