Peace Corps Prep Program Student Guide

Contact Us

For more information, contact one of the PC Prep coordinators:

Kelly Graham
Director, Career Services
kgraham@wheelock.edu
Phone: 617-879-2056
Office: ACW 102

Lauren Thorman
Director, Center for International Programs and Partnerships
lthorman@wheelock.edu
Phone: 617-879-2447
Office: Brookline, Hawes 018

Peace Corps in Belize
Photo courtesy of Peace Corps

Download the Student Guide (pdf)

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

These four competencies or "learning objectives" as defined by Peace Corps are:

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

Peace Corps logoThis document 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 guide when completing your PC Prep application, where you'll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement.  This guide aligns point-by-point with each section of the application. All coursework taken to fulfill academic program and degree requirements unless specifically noted can also count towards the Peace Corps Prep program.

**Note: All major requirements and prerequisites must be met in order to register for any course listed as part of the Peace Corps Prep program.

1. Training and Experience in a Specific Work Sector 

3 courses (12 credits) + 100 hours of related experience

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 Peace Corps 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 your specific work sector (they can but do not need to come from your academic major or minor).  You also must accumulate a minimum of 100 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in teaching or outreach capacity.

PC PREP 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 would like to serve (www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/volunteer-openings), then review the positions' required and desired qualifications and build upon them accordingly.  In the process, you should fulfill these PC Prep requirements!

Wheelock College's Peace Corps Prep Program prepares you for the six sectors in which Peace Corps Volunteers can serve.  The sectors are detailed below.  Choose one sector to focus on then complete at least 3 courses (12 credit hours) + 100 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 Education

Education iconTeach 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.

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

  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary and Special Education
  • Math Education
  • Science Education
  • Writing
  • Sheltered English Immersion

Recommended courses:  

Course Title
EDU250 Support Young Children w/Special Needs &Their Families
EDU255 Racial and Cultural Identities
EDU305 Principles of Inclusive Early Childhood Education
EDU320 Mathematics for Young Children
EDU327 Teaching Reading to Young Children
EDU367 Foundations in Communication and Collaboration
EDU420 Advancing Communication & Collaboration with Families Professionals & Communities
MLE301 Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) 1
MLE302 MLE 303 Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) II PerK-8 Literacy and Content Instruction
EDU 456 Teaching and Curriculum in Diverse Early Childhood Settings
EDU 390 Curriculum and Program Development for Infants & Toddlers
EDP 427 Child Care Management and Administration
EDU306 Introduction to Elementary Teaching
EDU313 US Government & Teaching Elem History/Social Studies
EDU330 Elementary Mathematics
EDU337 Teaching Reading in Grades PreK-8
EDU338 Teaching Non-fiction Literacy
EDU 316 Elementary Curriculum Development  
EDU 336 Elementary Science and Technology
EDU 446 Elementary Teaching &Learning  
EDU 445 Meeting Diverse Learning Needs
HDP290 Children with Special Needs
SPE392 Teaching Students with Exceptional Learning Needs  
SPE264 Managing Behavior
SPE346 Assistive Technology
EDU 338 Teaching Nonfiction Literacy
SPE 394 Curriculum, Learning and Special Needs
SPE 481 Assessing Students with Special Needs
AUT 320 Foundations of Development in Autism
AUT 322 Assessment and Intervention in Autism
AUT 321 Family, Community and Inter-professional Collaboration
AUT 350 Advanced Study in Autism
EDU351 Teaching & Learning Science in Early Childhood Education
EDU331 Multicultural Picture Books
EDU332 Multicultural Chapter Books
MUS279 Music for Children
THE277 Movement and Drama for Children
VIS278 Art for Children
HDP227 Language Development
MAT131/132 MAT 140/141 Math Concepts and Process

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

  • Teaching in one or more of a similar form: in a classroom, with a community outreach organization or in a formal tutoring capacity.
    • The subject of teaching may be English as a Foreign/Second Language, special education, drama or a STEM subject.
  • JumpStart
  • Human Growth and Development placement - when relevant and with approval of Peace Corps Prep Committee.
  • Boston Centers for Youth and Families Mattahunt Community Center After School Program.
  • Wheelock College Math Leader, Writing Consultant or Peer Tutor.
  • Approved part-time or full-time practicum experience undertaken as required components of the Education programs including EDP 437, EDP 455, EDP 458, EDP 459, EDP 425, EDP 317, EDP 447, SPP 460 and SPP 470.

#2 - Health

Health IconServe 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 pandemic and create programs that provide emotional and financial support to families and communities affected by disease.   If you choose Health, take 3 courses from one of the following areas:

  • Child Health
  • Environmental Studies
  • Life Science
  • Social Work
  • Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy

Recommended Courses:  

Course Title
CLF 210 Child and Family Health Systems
CLF 255 Children with Special Healthcare Needs
CLF 257 Family Centered Healthcare
CFS 240 Helping Children Cope with Grief and Loss
HDS  225 Cross-cultural Perspectives on Health and Illness
CLF350  Role of the Child Life Specialist
CLF421  Child Life Methods and Materials
LSC140 Intro to Environmental Challenges
LSC201 Environmental Forum (2 semesters)
ENG220 Writing for Social Action
HDA350 Globalization and Human Rights
PSG226 Perspectives on Global Health
LSC152 Nutrition
LSC153 Human Biology
LSC250 Human Physiology
LSC302 Human Diseases
LSC305 Human Genetics
LSC335 Environmental Impacts
PSC255 Natural Disasters
PRO 275 Aids and Addiction
PRO 276 Seminar in Aids and Addiction
JJA 380 Youth Work and Youth Advocacy
SWK205   Introduction to Social Work
SWK227  Dynamics of Oppression & Privilege
SWK268 Social Research
SWK345 Human Behavior and Social Environment
SWK355 Social Welfare Policy and Services
SWK 450 Social Work Practice &Skills Lab II  - Assessment, Planning and Contracting  
SWK 455 Social Work Practice and Skills Lab III - Intervention, Evaluation and Termination

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through activity such as:

  • Volunteer or work experience in such areas as HIV/AIDS outreach, hospice, family planning counseling, emergency medical technician (EMT) or CPR teaching/certification, maternal health and hands-on caregiving in a hospital, clinic or lab technician setting.
  • Counseling or teaching in health subjects.
  • Working as a resident advisor in a dormitory, as a peer nutritionist or as a sexually transmitted infections counselor.
  • Significant experience in mechanical repairs, construction, carpentry, masonry, plumbing, hydrology or set design.
  • Related and approved practicum experience including CLF 350, JJP 401, SWK 460, SWK 465, LSC 399 and PSC 399.

#3 - Environment

Environment iconHelp 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 decision 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 3 courses from one of the following areas:

  • Environmental Studies
  • Sustainability

Recommended courses:  

Course Title
LSC140 Intro to Environmental Challenges
LSC201 Environmental Forum (2 semesters)
LSC 240 Sustainability through Community Engagement
LSC355 Environmental Impacts
ENG220 Writing for Social Action
HDA350 Globalization and Human Rights
PSG101 Issues in Globalization
PSG226 Perspectives on Global Health
LSC151 Introduction to Plants and Animals
LSC254 Introduction to Marine Biology
LSC257 Animal Behavior
LSC252 Tropical Ecology
LSC335 Environmental Impacts
PSC184 Science Inquiry and the Earth
PSC185 Discovering Planet Earth
PSC255 Natural Disasters
PSC256 Investigating Green Energy
PSG3XX Politics and Science of Climate Change

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

  • Educating the public on environmental or conservation issues or working on environmental campaigns.
  • Conducting biological surveys of plants or animals.
  • Gardening, farming, nursery management, organic or low-input vegetable production, or landscaping.
  • Providing technical assistance and training in natural resources management.
  • Volunteer with the Muddy River Restoration Project (see Dr. Ellen Faszewski for more information).
  • Work on a Whee-SEA (Students for Environmental Action) project like the establishment of a bee colony at Wheelock College.
  • Related and approved practicum experience including LSC 399 and PSC 399.
  • Approved PRO 275/276 Student Policy Fellows internship.

#4 - Agriculture 

Agriculture iconLead grassroots efforts to fight hunger in a changing world.  Agriculture 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.

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

  • Environmental studies
  • Earth sciences
  • Life sciences
  • Science for teaching
  • Sustainability

Recommended Courses:  

PSC 184 Science Inquiry and the Earth
LSC 151 Introduction to Plants and Animals
LSC 152 Nutrition
LSC 252 Tropical Ecology
LSC 240 Sustainability through Community Engagement
LSC 257 Animal Behavior
LSC 335      Environmental Impacts
PSC 256 Investigating Green Energy
PSC 184 Science Inquiry and the Earth
PSC 185 Discovering  Planet Earth
PSC 399 Field Studies in Environmental Science
LSC 140 Introduction to Environmental Challenges
LSC 201 COF Environmental Forum
COF/Wheelock Approved COF/Wheelock minor in Sustainability courses (see http://www.colleges-fenway.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/COF-Sustainability-Minor-Courses-by-College.pdf for a full list of sustainability courses by COF school) and other related courses through COF partner schools

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

  • Educating the public on environmental or conservation issues, or working on environmental campaigns.
  • Volunteer at the Muddy River Restoration Project (see Dr. Ellen Faszewski for more information).
  • Work on a Whee-SEA (Students for Environmental Action) project like the establishment of a bee colony at Wheelock College.
  • Work or volunteer for a Community Supported Agriculture farm.
  • Work/intern with local organizations and non-profits including Lands Sake Farm, Charles Watershed Association, Mystic River Watershed Association and Environmental Voter Project.
  • Related and approved practicum experience including PSC 399.

#5 - Youth Development

Youth Development iconEmpower the next generation of change makers.  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 3 courses from one of the following areas:

  • Social Work
  • Human Development
  • Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy
  • Interprofessional Studies/Select Courses from other Academic Areas

Recommended courses:  

Course Title
SWK205   Introduction to Social Work
SWK227    Dynamics of Oppression & Privilege  
SWK268 Social Research  
SWK345 Human Behavior and Social Environment
SWK355 Social Welfare Policy and Services  
SWK450 Social Work Practice &Skills Lab II  - Assessment, Planning and Contracting
SWK455 Social Work Practice and Skills Lab III  - Intervention, Evaluation and Termination  
JJA 201 Introduction to Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
JJA 301 Juvenile Courts and Law
JJA 302 Delinquency: Causes, Prevention & Intervention
JJA 380 Youth Work and Youth Advocacy
NPL 201 Leadership, Community, and Change
GEC 254 Agents of Change
ENG220 Writing as Social Action
PSG235 Theories and Practice of Conflict Resolution
HDP226 Positive Psychology
EDU367 Foundations in Communication & Collaboration
EDU355 Helping Children Heal - Northern Ireland Lessons  Includes service learning trip to Northern Ireland
EDU228 Civic Issues, Skills, and Engagement Service Learning Trip to New Orleans
HDP316 Children's Political Lives
PRO275 Aids and Addiction
PRO276 Seminar in Aids and Addiction
PRO417 Welcoming LGBT Families in Education & Human Services
PRO342 Child Welfare
PRO336 Social Policy Seminar includes 10 hours a week working with state representative on law and policy
PSG240 Social Movements
PSG220 Issues in Policy, Law, and Gender
PSG3XX Seeking Justice After War
HDP 223 Abnormal Psychology
HDP379/380 Emotional Problems of Children
HDP 301 Counseling Psychology
CFS 240 Helping Children with Grief and Loss
HDP 102 Introduction to Psychology
>HDP 104 Social Psychology
HDP 220 Theories of Personality
HDP 224 Theories of Emotional Development
HDP 385 Psychological Trauma
HDP327 Asian American Psychology
HDP 265 Achievement Motivation
HDP 282 Children and the Media
HDP 325 Memory, Identity and Development
HDP 330 The Psychology of Race
HDP 354 The Achievement Gap

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

  • Teaching or counseling in at-risk youth programs.
  • Activities that involve planning, organizing, assessing community needs, counseling and leadership in areas such as education, youth development, health and HIV/AIDS, the environment and/or business.
  • Juvenile Justice and Youth Advocacy Ubuntu project fostering youth empowerment.
  • Volunteer/work on the planning and implementation of Wheelock's yearly Youth Symposium.
  • Related and approved PRO 236/336 Student Policy Fellow internship.
  • Related and approved practicum experience including JJP 401, SWK 460 and SWK 465.

#6 Community Economic Development

Economic Development iconHarness 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 teacher basic computer skills and help communities take advantage of technologies such as e-commerce, distance learning and more.

If you chose Community Economic Development, take three courses from one of the following areas:

  • Community Based Human Services
  • Communication and Media Literacy
  • Leadership for Community and Civic Engagement
  • Political Science and Global Studies
  • Social Work
  • Minors available through the COF including business, management, public administration, communication, computer science and economics

Recommended Courses:  

CFS 340 Introduction to Human Services
NPL 201 Leadership, Community and Change
GEC 254 Agents of Change for Public Policy and Leadership
ENG 220 Writing as a Social Action
EDU 367 Foundations in Communication and Collaboration
EDU 420 Advancing Communication and Collaboration
EDU 228 Civic Issues, Skills and Engagement
PRO 236/336 Student Policy Fellow
COM 440 Media as a Tool for Social Change
COM 255 Media Literacy for Children and Youth
HDP 282 Children and the Media
HDP 316 Children's Political Lives
HDS 103 Women, Culture and Society
COM 210/410 Video Production I/II
COMM 222 Designing the Digital Image
COM 230 New Media
COM 425 Storytelling in the Digital Age
COM 412 Internship in Communication
PSG 101 Issues in Globalization
PSG130 Women in Globalization
PSG 140 Global Greed and Corruption
PSG 226 Perspectives on Global Health
PSG 240 Social Movements
PSG 410 Internship in Political Science and Global Studies
AST 265 Gender and Politics
PSG 220 Issues in Policy, Law and Gender
PSG 250 The Politics of Sex Trafficking
PSG 235 Theories and Practice of Conflict Resolution
AST/HDA 350 Globalization and Human Rights
SWK 268 Social Research
SWK 345 Human Behavior and the Social Environment
SWK 355 Social Welfare Policy and  Services
SWK 450 Social Work Practice and Skills II (Assessment, Planning and Contracting)
SWK 499 Statistics for Social Workers
COF Approved COF courses in areas such as business, management, public administration, computer science, communication and economics

 

And build 100 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

Working with businesses, organizations or cooperatives in accounting, finance, microfinance, management, project management, budgeting or marketing.

Starting and running your own business or other entrepreneurial activity.

Training others in computer literacy, maintenance and repair.

Founding or leading a community or school based organization.

Approved internship/practicums including COM 412, PSG 412, SWK 550/551.

Student Policy Fellow program - PRO 236/336.

Program/ project management with local non-profits including the YMCA and ENGAGE Boston.

Leadership role including Ubuntu project and Children's Miracle Network Dance Marathon Fundraiser.

PC PREP TIP: 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. Foreign Language Skills

Requirements vary by language.

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 requirements.

Where would you like to serve? PC Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region.

Latin America: Individuals wanting to serve in the 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.

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. Intercultural Competence

3 Approved Courses (12 credits)  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 though 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.  Courses include:

You'll take at least one of these core courses:

  • EDU255, Racial and Cultural Identities
  • SWK227 Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege

You'll choose 2 additional electives from: the lists above or below, an approved Presidential International Service Learning Program not captured below or participation in a study abroad experience.  

AST 140 Media and Race in American Society
AST 160 American Identities
AST 220 Coming to America
AST 257 Race in America
AST 258/ HDA 258 Religion in America
AST 265/365 Studies in American Popular Culture
AST 290 History, Culture, and Spirituality of West Africa (Service learning course with travel component to Benin or Ghana)
AST 412 International Summer Internship
EDU 355 Helping Children Affected by War and Conflict Heal: Lessons from Northern Ireland (Service Learning course with travel component)
GEC 248 Jungles and Jaguar Gods (Service Learning course with travel component to Belize)
GEC 251 Learning from the Holocaust (Service Learning course with travel option to Germany)
GEC 262 Global Inclusive Education and Social Development (Service Learning course with travel option to Barbados)
HDA/PSG 121 Anthropology and Globalization
HDA 225/AST 225 Anthropology of American Men
HDA 266 Anthropology of the Family
HDA226/PSG226 Perspectives on Global Health
HDP 325 Memory, Identity, and Development
HDP 327 Asian American Psychology
HDP 330 Psychology of Race
HDS 106 Sociology of Minority Groups
HDS 322 Feminist Theories
HIS 210 Global Encounters: The Atlantic World
HIS 215 Africa and Its Global Encounters
LIT 226 Literature and History of the Caribbean
LIT 230 African American Women Writers
LIT 245 Native American Literature
LIT 246 African American Literature
MUS 230 African American Music
MUS 240 World Music Traditions
PHL 150 World Religions
PHL 215 Asian Thought
PHL 240 Great Ages and Ideas of the Jewish People
PRO 212/612 Puerto Rico Cross-Cultural Inquiry (Service Learning course with travel component)
PRO 260 Guatemala Service Learning any other course with this designation that includes an International Service Learning component
PRO 417 Creating Welcome Environments for LGBT Families
PSG 101 Introduction to Globalization
PSG 130 Women and Globalization
PSG 135 Bombs & Bombshells
PSG 220 Issues in Policy, Law, and Gender
PSG 230 LGBT Politics in Film
PSG 235 Theory & Practice of Conflict Resolution
PSG/HDA 350 Globalization and Human Rights
THE 238 African American Theatre

 

Is there another course through the COF or Wheelock that you feel meets this requirement?  Please discuss it with your Academic/Faculty Advisor and PC Prep Coordinator.

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

4. Professional and Leadership Development

Resume and interview support + leadership experience

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

  1. Attend a workshop or class on resume writing presented by the Career Services office
  2. Have your resume reviewed by someone in the Career Services office.
  3. Attend a workshop or class on interview skills presented by the Career Services office.
  4. Take part in a mock interview with someone from the Career Services office.
  5. Develop at least one significant leadership experience and be prepared to discuss it thoughtfully.  For example, organizing a campus event like orientation, leading a work or volunteer project such as Dance Marathon or JumpStart, serving on the executive board of a student organization, working as a Resident Assistant, working on policy/legislation creation as a Student Policy Fellow, etc.

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