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Peace Corps Prep Student Guide

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.

The following gives all the details regarding these requirements. Use this guide to map out your Peace Corps Prep course of study. In particular, refer to this information 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!

Four Core Competencies


Choose one of the  six sectors  to focus on and complete at least 3 courses and 50 hours of related experience in that sector.

  • Leveraging concrete knowledge and skill 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, preferable in a teaching or outreach capacity. 
  • Peace Corps tip!  If you intend to apply to the Peace Corps, the best way to assure that you will be a strong candidate is to explore Peace Corps’ openings and identify the   type of assignments  in which you wish to serve, then review the positions’ required and desired qualifications and build them up accordingly. In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep experiential requirements!

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.


Requirements vary by region of interest. Most students must hone their capacity to interact professionally using a non-English language. Minimum course requirements vary by desired placement 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! 


3 approved courses or 1-2 courses + substantive intercultural experience

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. Some example courses: 

Choose 2 additional electives from the list of core courses or below:

Africana Studies/Social and Behavioral Sciences (AFS)
AFS 379: Philosophy of Race 
AFS 365: Global Africa 
AFS 390: Topics in Africana Studies 
AFS 306: Gender & Public Health in Africa 
AFS 345: Culture & Gender: Women in Africa & the Caribbean 
AFS 240: Issues in Caribbean Society 
INT 401: Global Social Problems 
HIS 323:  History of Women of Color in the US 
HUS 254: Latin America Today 
GLI 212: Issues in Globalization: Global Islam
GLI 391: Women in Islam


NOTE: You may be able to exchange one or two of the electives in this category for a Study Abroad experience in a country where Peace Corps Volunteers have worked. Check the SBU Study Abroad website for program descriptions, as we offer programs in Madagascar, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Jamaica, and Peru. OR if there another course in the catalog that you feel meets this requirement, that will be reviewed. Please discuss these options with your PC Prep Coordinator. 

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. In fact, the IRC - International Rescue Committee - in New York City has hosted many volunteer interns from SBU! 


Resume and interview support + leadership experience

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):

  • Have your resume critiqued by your assigned PC Career Coach, or another career coach at the SBU Career Center
  • Attend a workshop or class on interview skills and have at least one mock or practice interview offered by the Career Center; all workshops and meetups are posted on Handshake
  • 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. Hundreds of leadership and service opportunities are available on campus; browse the Corq app through the Office of Student Activities, get involved with our new Center for Civic Justice, engage with the Undergraduate College of Leadership & Service, and access Handshake for a complete listing of on and off campus leadership experiences. 

Your PC Prep Career Coach will help you clarify your interests and select best-fit opportunities for you.