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What is Peace Corps Prep?

A page within Peace Corps Prep

The Peace Corps Prep program will prepare you for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service. To accomplish this, you will build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience, and professional development support. These four competencies are the following:

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

This page 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 application, where you will need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement. This guide aligns point-by-point with each section of the application!

Frequently Asked Questions

Application Deadlines

Application deadline: Rolling

There’s no formal deadline to apply to join the program, but you should plan early and consider submitting an interest form even if you are still trying to decide what to do. 

Once you submit your interest form, one of the UWL Peace Corps Prep co-coordinators will contact you with additional details about the next application and orientation sessions and/or how to setup a meeting to complete the full application to the program.

Eligibility to Join

All degree-seeking, undergraduate students at UWL are eligible to join the UWL Peace Corps Prep program.

This includes international students and others who may be ineligible to serve in the United States Peace Corps, but feel the program would enhance their chances to engage in international development fieldwork with other organizations upon graduation.

Training and experience in a specific work sector

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.

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!

PC Prep Sector Areas


Teach lessons that last a lifetime. Education is the Peace Corps' largest program area. Volunteers play an important role in creating links among schools, parents, and communities by working in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools as math, science, conversational English, and resource teachers or as early grade reading and literacy teacher trainers. Volunteers also develop libraries and technology resource centers.


Serve on the front lines of global health. Health Volunteers work within their communities to promote important topics such as nutrition, maternal and child health, basic hygiene, and water sanitation. Volunteers also work in HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs to train youth as peer educators, develop appropriate education strategies, provide support to children orphaned by the pandemic, and create programs that provide emotional and financial support to families and communities affected by the disease.


Help forge a global movement to protect our planet. Volunteers lead grassroots efforts in their communities to protect the environment and strengthen understanding of environmental issues. They teach environmental awareness in elementary and secondary schools and to youth groups and community organizations, empowering communities to make their own decisions about how to protect and conserve the local environment. Volunteers also address environmental degradation by promoting sustainable use of natural resources.


Lead grassroots efforts to fight hunger in a changing world. Agricultural Volunteers work with small-scale farmers and families to increase food security and production and adapt to climate change while promoting environmental conservation practices. They introduce farmers to techniques that prevent soil erosion, reduce the use of harmful pesticides, and replenish the soil. They work alongside farmers on integrated projects that often combine vegetable gardening, livestock management, agroforestry, and nutrition education.

Youth in Development

Empower the next generation of changemakers. Volunteers work with youth in communities on projects that promote engagement and active citizenship, including gender awareness, employability, health and HIV/AIDS education, environmental awareness, sporting programs, and info technology.

Community Economic Development

Harness 21st-century tools to help communities lift themselves. Volunteers work with development banks, nongovernmental organizations, and municipalities to strengthen infrastructure and encourage economic opportunities in communities. They frequently teach in classroom settings and work with entrepreneurs and business owners to develop and market their products. Some Volunteers also teach basic computer skills and help communities take advantage of technologies such as e-commerce, distance learning, and more.

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?

  • 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.

PC Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region.

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!

Intercultural competence

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.

PC Prep Intercultural Courses

You will take at least 1 of these core courses:
ANT/ECO/GEO/HIS/POL/SOC 202 Contemporary Global Issues
ANT/ECO/ENG/PHL/POL/WGS 212 Search for Economic Justice
ANT 101 Human Nature / Human Culture
EDS 203 School, Society, and Teachers
EDS 206 Multicultural Education
EFN 205 Understanding Human Difference
ENG 200 Literature and Human Experience
ERS 100 Introduction to Ethnic and Racial Studies
POL 205 Women and Politics
POL 234 Comparative Politics
POL 244 International Relations
PSY 282 Cross-Cultural
WGS 100 Gender, Race, and Class Psychology
And choose 2 additional electives from the above list or these below:
ANT/ERS 362 Hmong Americans
ANT 375 Language, Power, and Inequality
ART 301 World Art
CHI 320 Introduction to Chinese Civilization
ECO 120 Global Macroeconomics
ECO 336 Women in the U.S. Economy
ENG/ERS 207 Multicultural Literature of the United States
ENG/ERS 210 Literature of Black America
ENG/ERS 215 African American Authors
ENV 201 Introduction to Environmental Studies
FRE 220 France and the Francophone World
GEO 110 World Cultural Regions
GEO 200 Conservation of the Global Environments
HIS 306 Ethnic America
HIS 336 Hispanics in the United States
MIC 130 Global Impact of Infectious Disease
MLG 304 Heritage Language: Advanced
MUS 201 Musical Cultures
MUS 204 Latin American Music: Its Context and Impact
MUS 209 History of Jazz Culture
PHL 335 Multicultural Philosophy in the United States
PHL 336 International Multicultural Philosophy
PHL 349 Asian Philosophy
PHY 142 Navigating Global Nuclear Issues
PSY 285 Culture and Mental Health
PSY 318 Psychology of Women
SAH 307 Changing the Culture, Women in Science
SOC 225 Racial and Ethnic Minorities
THA 351 World Theatre
WGS 130 Women's Diversity: Race, Class, and Culture

Is there another course in the catalog that you feel meets this requirement? Please discuss it with your PC Prep Coordinator.

Note: Many of these courses will also help you satisfy general education requirements.

Optional substantive intercultural experience in place of electives:

There are many other opportunities to engage in intercultural experiences outside of the classroom, such as studying abroad, and you may be able to apply these experiences towards the intercultural competence requirement. Please contact your PC Prep Coordinator for more information.

PEACE CORPS TIP: Prolonged intercultural experiences—such as studying or volunteering abroad, supporting new immigrants or refugees acculturate to the United States, or volunteering in diverse schools—would also strengthen your Peace Corps candidacy significantly.

Professional and leadership development

Peace Corps service and similar international development work opportunities are highly professional and selective. PC Prep requires three specific activities that will strengthen your candidacy for the Peace Corps (or any other professional endeavor):

  1. Have your resume critiqued by a professional career advisor in Career Services.
  2. Attend a workshop or class on interview skills hosted by Career Services.
  3. 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: Keep an eye out for opportunities and workshops just for PC Prep participants.

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