About the Prep Program

The Peace Corps Prep Program is an undergraduate certificate that complements the SIS BA in International Studies. The SIS undergraduate curriculum offers an interdisciplinary liberal arts and sciences approach to thinking clearly and critically about the most pressing global challenges. It also affords an opportunity for students to find their truest vocations, to discover their passions, and to become active and engaged citizens in a complex global world that defies simple explanations or solutions.

The Peace Corps Prep Program provides students with additional knowledge, experience, skills, and mentors needed to prepare for service in the Peace Corps. It serves as an additional optional credential for SIS undergraduate students, preparing them in core areas and competencies emphasized by the Peace Corps and potentially* offering an advantage in the Peace Corps application process.

American University has been recognized year after year as ranking in the top among medium-sized universities as producing the most Peace Corps Volunteers. The Peace Corps Prep Program offers additional recognition, mentorship, resources, and opportunities to our students preparing for Peace Corps service.

*Program Disclaimer: Completing the Peace Corps Prep program does not guarantee acceptance as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The many factors considered in the selection and placement of a successful Peace Corps applicant include the individual qualifications vis-à-vis the needs of the position, the other candidates applying, and background and health screenings of each candidate. While acceptance is not guaranteed, the SIS Peace Corps Prep Certificate offers a likely advantage when competing with other qualified candidates.

International studies majors and minors wishing to participate in the Peace Corps Prep program will need to submit an application by the date posted on this website. Applicants must be international studies majors (SIS undergraduates) and will need to write a brief statement of purpose.

Participants are encouraged to identify their choice of both a primary and secondary area of specialization from the following three recommended thematic areas: Global Inequality and Development; Environmental Sustainability and Global Health; or Identity, Race, and Culture, Gender. Students will complete two 200-level gateway course and three 300-level courses within their chosen thematic areas. Students are required to register in the additional one credit Community Service-Learning Program (CSLP) which will be linked to one of the 300-level courses. The CSLP entails completing an additional course assignment, 40 hours of relevant service work, and related reflection activities.

Students will also participate in a special section of a SISU391 PC PREP. This course section will be reserved for participants of the Peace Corps Prep program as they conduct their internships in a field of their chosen sector and thematic area.

These SIS International Studies thematic areas closely associate with preparation for a professional service placement in one of 5 possible sectors that the Peace Corps identifies (please note that SIS does not offer prep courses to prepare for the additional Peace Corps sector which is agriculture):

  1. Education
  2. Health
  3. Environment
  4. Youth in Development
  5. Community Economic Development

To meet the demands of a successful Peace Corps application and to be competitive in the eyes of organizations in the highly competitive professional arena of international development, the Prep program guides students towards strengthening and leveraging their professional development. Prep students participate in a RPCV mentorship program, career workshops, informational interviews, and networking opportunities.

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