Training and Experience

Peace Corps Prep student must earn academic 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.

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 this interactive tool (https://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/volunteer-openings/), then review the positions’ desired qualifications and build them up accordingly. In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep experiential requirements!

Choose one of five Peace Corps sectors:

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!

1) Courses

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). Also note that the below listed courses can satisfy these requirements but do not represent a comprehensive list. Student may petition the Peace Corps Prep Advisor to petition for course substitutions.

The courses listed below are not exhaustive. We will consider other relevant coursework, or major or minor courses, to count for the sector courses. Please check with the Peace Corps Prep coordinator.

Education

Teach lessons that last a lifetime. Education is the Peace Corp’s 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.

If you choose Education, take 3 courses from one of the following areas:

  • Elementary, Secondary or Special Education
    • EDUC 203 Human Disabilities in American Culture
    • EDUC 300 Intro to Teaching
    • EDUC 302 Human Growth and Development
    • EDUC 372 Human Development, Learning, and Teaching
  • English or Linguistics
    • LING 306 General Linguistics
    • ENGH 307 English Grammar
    • ENGH 362 Global Voices
  • Math
    • MATH 106 Quantitative Reasoning
    • MATH 108 Introductory Calculus with Business Applications
    • STAT 250 Introductory Statistics I
    • GOVT 300 Research Methods and Analysis
  • Computer Science or Engineering
    • CDS 101/102 Introduction to Computational and Data Sciences with Lab
    • CDS 130 Computing for Scientists
    • CDS 151 Data Ethics in an Information Society
    • CEIE 100 Environmental Engineering around the World
    • CHEM 251 General Chemistry for Engineers
    • SYST 202 Engineering Systems in a Complex World
  • Physical and Biological Sciences
    • BIOL 103 Intro to Biology I
    • BIOL 104 Intro Biology II
    • CHEM 104 Intro to Organic, Biochemical, Pharmacological , and Fuel Chemistry
    • CHEM 155 Intro to Environmental Chemistry I
    • CHEM 156 Intro to Environmental Chemistry II
    • CHEM 211 General Chemistry I
    • CHEM 212 General Chemistry II
    • GGS 103 Human Geography
    • PHYS 103 Physics and Everyday Phenomena I
    • PHYS 104 Physics and Everyday Phenomena II

Health

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.

If you choose Health, take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Nutrition or Dietetics
    • HEAL 330 Nutrition
    • NUTR 295 Introduction to Nutrition
    • NUTR 408 Introduction to Food Security
    • NUTR 420 Strategies for Nutrition Education
  • Health Education
    • GCH 205 Global Health
    • HEAL 205 Principles of Accident Causation and Prevention
    • HEAL 230 Intro to Health Behavior
    • HEAL 314 Community Health Issues and Strategies
    • HEAL 327 Women’s Health
    • HEAL 331 Men’s Health
    • HEAL 350 Interventions for Populations and Communities at Risk
    • HEAL 372 Health Communication
    • HEAL 470 Community Health Systems
    • NCLC 410 Contemporary Health Issues
  • Biology
    • BIOL 103/105 Intro Biology I with Lab
    • BIOL 104/106 Intro Biology II with Lab
    • BIOL 124 Human Anatomy and Physiology
    • BIOL 125 Human Anatomy and Physiology
    • BIOL 301 Biology and Society
    • BIOL 322 Developmental Biology

Environment

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.

If you choose Environment, take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Environmental Science
    • CLIM 102 Global Climate Change: Modeling and Predicting an Uncertain Future
    • CLIM 111/112 Intro to the Fundamentals in Atmospheric Science with Lab
    • CEIE 100 Environmental Engineering around the World
    • EVPP 110 The Ecosphere: An Intro to Environmental Science I
    • EVPP 111 The Ecosphere: An Intro to Environmental Science II
    • GGS 121 Dynamic Atmosphere and Hydrosphere
  • Natural Resources Conservation
    • BIOL 318 Conservation Biology
    • BIOL 379 Ecological Sustainability
    • CLIM 102 Global Climate Change: Modeling and Predicting an Uncertain Future
    • NCLC 210 Sustainable World
    • NCLC 334 Environmental Justice
  • Natural Resources or Biology, Botany, or Ecology
    • BIOL 103 Intro Biology I
    • BIOL 104 Intro Biology I
    • BIOL 318 Conservation Biology
    • BIOL 379 Ecological Sustainability
    • ECON 105 Environmental Economics for the Citizen
    • GOVT 361 Introduction to Environmental Policy
    • PHIL 243 Global Environmental Ethics
  • Geology
    • GEOL 101 Intro Geology I
    • GEOL 102 Intro Geology II
    • GEOL 134 Evolution and Extinction
    • GEOL 305 Environmental Geology

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.

If you choose Youth in Development, take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Social Work
    • SOCW 110 Global Perspective on Human Rights
    • SOCW 200 Intro to Social Work
    • SOCW 323 Human Behavior and the Life Course
    • SOCW 351 Social Policy and Social Justice
  • Community Development
    • COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication
    • GOVT 353 Social Entrepreneurship
    • HEAL 372 Health Communication
    • HEAL 470 Community Health Systems
    • HEAL 314 Community Health Issues and Strategies
  • Human Development or Developmental Psychology
    • ANTH 135 Becoming Human: Evolution, Cognition, and Culture
    • BIOL 322 Developmental Biology
    • EDUC 302 Human Growth and Development
    • EDUC 372 Human Development, Learning, and Teaching
    • NCLC 316 Introduction to Childhood Studies
    • PSYC 211 Developmental Psychology
    • PSYC 379 Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Family Studies
    • ANTH 114 Intro to Cultural Anthropology
    • ANTH 315 Socialization Processes: Family, Childhood, Personality in Cross-Cultural Perspective
    • COMM 344 Family and Health Communication
    • HDFS 200 Individual and Family Development
    • NCLC 317 Issues in Family Relationships
    • NCLC 321 Parent-Child Relations
    • SOCW 362 Group and Family Interventions

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.

If you choose Community Economic Dev., take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Business or Public Administration
    • EVPP 322 Business and Sustainability
    • GOVT 351 Administration in the Political System
    • GOVT 355 Public Personnel Administration
    • GOVT 364 Public Policy Making
    • PHIL 305 Business Ethics
  • Nonprofit Management
    • COMM 389 Public Relations for Associations and Nonprofits
    • ECON 355 The Political Economy of Nonprofit Institutions
    • GOVT 354 Third-Party Government and the Nonprofit Sector
    • GOVT 358 Nonprofit Financial Planning
    • NCLC 331 The Nonprofit Sector
    • NCLC 431 Principles of Fundraising
  • Accounting, Banking, and Finance
    • ACCT 203 Survey of Accounting
    • ECON 104 Contemporary Macroeconomic Principles
    • ECON 310 Money and Banking
    • GOVT 356 Public Budgeting and Finance
    • GOVT 367 Money, Markets, and Economic Policy
    • NCLC 423 Management in the Global Marketplace
  • Computer Science
    • CDS 101/102 Introduction to Computational and Data Sciences with Lab
    • CDS 130 Computing for Scientists
    • CDS 151 Data Ethics in an Information Society
    • NCLC 245 Digital Literacy
  • Graphic Design or Mass Communications
    • AVT 104 Studio Fundamentals I
    • AVT 311 Graphic Design Methods and Principles
    • COMM 302 Foundations of Mass Communication
    • COMM 305 Foundations of Intercultural Communication
    • COMM 350 Mass Communication and Public Policy
    • COMM 375 Mass Communication Advertising and Promotions
    • NCLC 345 Intro to Multimedia
    • NCLC 348 Digital Futures
  • International Business
    • ECON 360 Economics of Developing Areas
    • ECON 380 Economies in Transition
    • ECON 390 International Economics
    • GOVT 332 International Relations Theory
    • GOVT 343 International Political Economy
    • GOVT 446 International Law and Organization
    • SOM 100 Business in American Society

Nearly two-thirds of Peace Corps Volunteers serve in Education or Health. Coursework and meaningful experience in one of these areas—especially teaching English as a second/foreign language—produce some of the strongest candidates.

2) Related Experience

PC Prep students must accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity. Mason recommends, but does not require, students select a work sector and a subsector. Student should take courses related to work subsectors, to strengthen their applications.