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Peace Corps Prep Program

A partnership between the Peace Corps and the School of Public Health's Global Health Initiative and the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, this certificate program will prepare you to be a competitive applicant to the Peace Corps. Upon completion of the program, students will receive a certificate from the Peace Corps. 

The Peace Corps Prep program at the University of Maryland prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer*. To accomplish this, you will build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support in the following areas: 

  1. Training and experience in a work sector
  2. Foreign language skills
  3. Intercultural competence
  4. Professional and leadership development

The Peace Corps Prep program is open to any undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park. Participation in the program does not guarantee acceptance into the Peace Corps however, the program will ensure you are prepared to apply and have a competitive application. Students who complete the program will be issued a certificate from the Peace Corps.

*While you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to complete the Peace Corps Prep program, you do have to be a U.S. citizen to be accepted into the Peace Corps as a volunteer.

The Peace Corps Prep program prepares students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, students build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support.

Training and Experience in a Specific Work Sector
  • Complete at least 3 courses that align with a specific work sector 
  • Accumulate at least 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferable in a teaching or outreach capacity 

    Foreign Language Skills (Requirements Vary by Region of Interest)

    • Latin America: Students indicating an intention to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must build strong intermediate proficiency, having completed two 200-level courses or learned Spanish through another medium.
    • West Africa: Students indicating an intention to serve in French-speaking African countries must build proficiency in French or another Romance language, having completed one 200-level course or learned the language through another medium.
    • Everywhere else: Students indicating an intention to serve anywhere else do not have explicit language requirements to complete the Program, but they should still be encouraged to study a foreign language.

    Note: If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks the same language, you can skip this requirement!

    Intercultural Competence

    • Complete at least 1 of these core courses:
      • ANTH 260: Introduction to Sociocultural Anthropology and Linguistics
      • ARHU 230: Introduction to Humanities, Health and Medicine
      • COMM 382: Essentials of Intercultural Communication
      • EDSP 220: Disability in Community: Access, Accommodation, and Adaptation
      • IMMR 400: Vital Voices: Oral Histories of the Immigrant Experience
      • PHIL 344: Philosophy of Race
    • Complete any 2 of these elective courses:
      • ANTH 263: Sexuality and Culture
      • ENES 472: International Business Cultures in Engineering and Technology
      • GEOG 202: Introduction to Human Geography
      • HESI 221: Leadership, Power and Privilege
      • HLTH 460: Multicultural Population Health
      • INST 466: Technology, Culture and Society
      • PLCY 302: Examining Pluralism in Public Policy
      • TLPL 443: Understanding Cross Cultural Communication for Teaching English Language Learners 
      • Studying or volunteering abroad may count if it is in a country that has at some point hosted Peace Corps Volunteers 
        • Studying/volunteering abroad in these countries from one week to a summer may substitute for one course.
        • Experiences that last a full semester may substitute for both electives.
      • Other intercultural experiences, such as helping new immigrants/refugees acculturate to the U.S. or volunteering in diverse schools, may also count. If they also align with one of Peace Corps’ six sectors, these experiences may simultaneously count for that hands-on experiential requirement.
        • Each distinct intercultural experience lasting at least 40 hours may substitute for one elective.

    Professional and Leadership Development

    • Have your resume critiqued by someone in the University Career Center
    • Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at the University Career Center
    • Develop at least 1 significant leadership experience (i.e. organize a campus event, lead a work or volunteer project, service on the executive board of a student organization) and write or create a video about the experience

    Application deadlines for the Peace Corps Prep Program:

    • Fall semester: October 22
    • Spring semester: March 15

    Eligibility

    Any University of Maryland, College Park undergraduate student is eligible to enroll regardless of major or citizenship.

    Students must have at least 2 semesters of coursework left prior to applying and be in good academic standing. If a student has fewer than 2 semesters left until graduation, please contact the Peace Corps Prep Coordinator.

    Steps to Apply to the Peace Corps Prep Program

    1. Request access to the Peace Corps Prep Canvas space by emailing the Peace Corps Prep Program Advisor.
    2. Review the Peace Corps Prep Student Guide 
    3. Attend a Peace Corps Prep program information session. To do via Canvas, please email the Peace Corps Prep Program Advisor
    4. Submit the Peace Corps Prep program application
    5. As needed, meet with the Peace Corps Prep Program Coordinator or Advisor

    After being admitted, students must pass required courses with a grade of C- or higher and remain in good academic standing.

    Completing the Peace Corps Prep Program

    • Complete the Exit Checklist and submit via Canvas. If submitting during the graduating semester, please submit no later than April 1 (spring graduates) or November 1 (fall graduates)