A female peace corps volunteer smiles with two young Philippine girls as they break from sports

Peace Corps Prep

Earn a certificate to strengthen your application to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer, attend graduate school or pursue a new profession.

At a Glance




Core competencies critical to Peace Corps fieldwork: language, leadership, intercultural competency and sector-specific skills

Program Features:

Certificate program


Peace Corps


Michele Hockett Cooper
Peace Corps Prep Faculty Advisor

How can you prepare to be the best Peace Corps Volunteer you can be?

This program at UT will help you earn a certificate and strengthen your application to be a Peace Corps Volunteer. Peace Corps Prep (PC Prep) program is a certificate granted by Peace Corps focused on preparing students to be the best Peace Corps Volunteer possible.

Why Peace Corps Prep?

PC Prep is designed to make it easier for students whose interests align with the Peace Corps to gain recognition for activities that may make them a competitive Peace Corps Volunteer candidate, such as coursework and extracurricular service.

Besides the certificate from Peace Corps, completion of PC Prep gives students a competitive edge in their Peace Corps application should they choose to pursue this path. Even those who do not apply to Peace Corps can showcase the PC Prep certificate on their resumes or in applications for graduate school and leverage the skills developed in pursuit of the certificate in their careers and other post-graduate work.

Program Requirements

The program is focused on four core competencies that are critical to the intercultural fieldwork Peace Corps Volunteers do:

Sector-Specific Skills

Choose one sector to focus on then complete at least 3 courses offered at UT Austin and 50 hours of related work or volunteer experience in that sector. To learn more about each sector and find pre-approved classes, please refer to the Student Guide below.

  • Education
  • Health
  • Environment
  • Agriculture
  • Youth in Development
  • Community Economic Development

Visit our resources page for a list of volunteer opportunities in the Austin area. You may also reach out to The Longhorn Center for Community Engagement (LCCE) for other volunteer opportunities around Austin and at UT!

Foreign Language

Requirements vary by language and region:

Latin America / Spanish

Individuals wanting to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing SPN 601D, 610D, 611D or SPN 604, 612.

West Africa / French

Individuals wanting to serve in French-speaking African countries should be proficient in any Romance Language.

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 always helpful to have taken at least one foreign language class.

Please refer to the Foreign Language Requirements for UT Austin to find the number of classes needed for both beginning and intermediate levels for all languages offered.

Intercultural Competence

Students should deepen their intercultural competence through a mix of three self-reflective courses focused on diversity and inclusion or the study of marginalized groups. With prior approval of the Peace Corps Prep faculty advisor, a prolonged intercultural experiences—such as studying/volunteering abroad, supporting new Americans/immigrants in the community, or teaching in diverse schools—may partially fulfill this requirement.

Connect with the UT Austin Education Abroad Team to learn more about different opportunities around the world.

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 reviewed by the Peace Corps Campus Recruiter.
  2. Attend a workshop or class on interview skills at 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.

PC Prep will help you develop these four competencies, integrating coursework with hands-on experience and professional development.

Learn more about PC Prep program requirements and eligible courses in the PC Prep Student Guide. Use this guide to map out your PC Prep course of study and refer to it while completing your PC Prep application, as you’ll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement.

Download Student Guide

Get Started

  1. Select a sector of focus for your certificate. While not required, meeting with the Peace Corps Campus Recruiter before selecting your sector is highly encouraged. 
    • Education
    • Health
    • Environment
    • Agriculture
    • Youth in Development
    • Community Economic Development
  2. Join the PC Prep Canvas Page
    • Click the link above to self-enroll to this canvas page where you can track your progress.
    • You can also find the official PC Prep enrollment form that you must complete on canvas. Students without an enrollment form will not be considered participants in the PC Prep Program.
  3. Begin completing your certificate and stay connected with the PC Prep team! 
    • Contact the PC Prep Faculty Advisor (Michele Hockett Cooper) with any questions on classes, including pre-approval, and general certificate requirements.
    • Contact the Peace Corps Campus Recruiter for how to best leverage your certificate to start your Peace Corps Journey.