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What is Peace Corps Prep?

Peace Corps Prep is a certificate program offered to undergraduate students interested in serving with the Peace Corps or within the international development and service communities.  The program launched in 2007 and is currently offered at many colleges and universities nationwide.

Who is eligible to apply?

UMBC undergraduate students in good academic standing are eligible to apply prior to or by the start of their junior year in order to allow for two full years of program participation.

When can I apply?

Peace Corps Prep accepts applications on a rolling basis and the program runs each Spring.  The application is online and located on our website here.

Is my application to Peace Corps Prep the same as an application to the Peace Corps itself?

No, students who successfully complete the Peace Corps Prep program at UMBC receive a signed certificate of completion from the Peace Corps. While they are not guaranteed acceptance into the Peace Corps, the students will be strong candidates for service.  An official application will still be required to join the actual Peace Corps.

Can any major apply?

We accept students from all majors and disciplines.  But please be aware that your academic plan or history should follow the guidelines here.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to apply to Peace Corps Prep?

No, we gladly welcome students from all nationalities and backgrounds as we feel this greatly contributes to our goal of educating global citizens.  Further, we include education on other international service organizations aside from just the Peace Corps.  Please be aware that you must be a U.S. citizen to join the Peace Corps, but many other organizations exist that accept all nationalities.

Do I have to do Peace Corps Prep to apply to the Peace Corps?

Nope! Peace Corps Prep will help you prepare to be a Peace Corps Volunteer and will help your application more competitive, but is in no way a requirement of applying to the Peace Corps.

I have a medical condition, that I think will disqualify me from Peace Corps service.  Can I or should I still apply for Peace Corps Prep.

Yes!  Medical conditions do not disqualify anyone from the Peace Corps Prep program.  As for a future application to the Peace Corps, some medical conditions will limit your potential country of service, but ultimately this decision will be made Peace Corps medical.  Here are two useful websites describing the Peace Corps’s approach to medical conditions.

Peace Corps Wiki: Medical Restrictions
Peace Corps: What About Health?

What does the program involve?

Once you apply and are accepted, you will be registered for a Peace Corps Prep orientation course. This is a non-credit, non-fee “Prac” that is self-guided through blackboard. Peace Corps Prep is made up of two parts, an orientation(Prac 103) and a capstone (Prac 104), to be completed during two different semesters; we typically offer the courses only in the Spring. Please contact us if you need to take one of the courses in Fall in order to finish before graduation.If you decide that Peace Corps Prep isn’t for you, simply complete the orientation prac and let us know. There is no obligation to continue further.

During the orientation students complete a series of online tutorials, meet with a Peace Corps Prep advisor and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and attend a Peace Corps recruitment event and an international event on campus.  The Peace Corps Prep advisor will plan with students to make sure the courses they take as a part of their undergraduate curriculum also satisfy the Peace Corps Prep requirements.

The capstone will be meeting/class oriented and provide students with a chance to connect with each other, discuss key ideas and questions related to international service and development, interact with diverse guest presenters, and receive mentoring and assistance with their applications to the Peace Corps or other post-graduate plans.  Students will also create their own website/online portfolio that highlights their strengths and individual experiences with the program.

Do I have to complete all the course or service requirements while I am enrolled in the program or can I carry them in from my previous higher education experience?

If you’ve completed classes which match our course requirements before you enroll in the program, they will still count towards the Peace Corps Prep requirements.  The same goes for your service and leadership requirements.

Do general education classes count towards the Peace Corps Prep course requirements?

Yes, as long as they have an international or service or development focus.  For instance, Economics 101 would not count, but International Economics 102 would.  Likewise U.S. History 102 would not count, but World History 202 would. If in doubt you can ask your Peace Corps Prep adviser.

Is a study abroad trip required for Peace Corps Prep?

No, we accept many forms of service, international education, and work experience to meet the Work Sector Experience requirement for Peace Corps Prep.

I have a question that was unanswered on this site.  How can I contact the program staff?

Please feel free to email us with any questions at