Peace Corps Prep Certificate program coming to UT-Austin

Hannah Ortega

The Peace Corps Prep Certificate program is coming to UT in January and will help students take courses relevant to the service group.

UT-Austin will join the University’s Dallas and El Paso locations as a partner school of the program. Peace Corps Prep is not a degree plan or UT program and will not appear on a student’s transcript, but is instead a certificate granted by the Peace Corps. Students who receive the certificate are not guaranteed entry into the service group. 

“This program has been in the works for about three years now, and it fits in with the president’s and the chancellor of the UT System’s vision for internationalizing the campus,” said Michael Mosser, faculty adviser for Peace Corps Prep. “It’s a University-wide certificate program in the sense of every college at the University can contribute students.”

Peace Corps Prep requires students take certain UT courses and participate in professional and leadership development activities. Students must take a foreign language and choose three intercultural competency courses from a list provided by the program. They can also choose to replace one to two of those courses with a study abroad program or other substantive cultural experience. 

Students need to complete three courses within one of six work sectors: education, agriculture, health, environment, youth in development or community economic development. At least fifty volunteer or work hours must also be completed within the chosen sector.

“Chances are very good that students are already taking courses in these sorts of sectors, so what Peace Corps Prep does is it allows them to kind of leverage the courses that they’re already taking and kind of map that out,” Mosser said.

Peace Corps campus recruiter Jacqui Stewart Hobbs said she suggests students begin working on the certificate early in their college years.

“We have targeted more intro level classes because … we want people to start thinking about it earlier, because Peace Corps can be competitive to get in,” Stewart Hobbs said.

History freshman Sam Thielman said he may be interested in pursuing a certificate. 

“(Peace Corps) is something that I’m interested in, so any sort of prep work for that would be nice,” Thielman said. “I feel like I have a pretty full plate as it is … but it’s definitely something I would look at.”