Peace Corp Prep Core Competencies

As you work through your Earlham graduation requirements, you’ll build four core competencies through interrelated coursework, hands-on experience and professional development support.

The information below will assist you in mapping out your Peace Corps Prep course of study as well as in completing your Peace Corps Prep application. where you’ll need to document how you plan to fulfill each requirement.

TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE IN A SPECIFIC WORK SECTOR

Leveraging concrete knowledge and skills is central to on-the-ground international development work. Through Earlham’s Peace Corps Prep program, you will build a professional specialty, which should serve your career well, whether or not you become a Peace Corps volunteer.

For Peace Corps Prep, you need to:

  1. Choose one of the six sectors on which to focus.
  2. Complete at least three courses that align with a specific work sector (they can, but do not need to, come from your academic major or minor).
  3. Accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer or work experience in that same sector, preferably in a teaching or outreach capacity.

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’d like to serve, then review the positions’ required and desired qualifications and build them up accordingly. ctual 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! In the process, you should fulfill these Peace Corps Prep experiential requirements.

Education is the Peace Corp’s 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.

Take three courses from ONE of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of the majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the Education sector):

    • AWPE/EDUC 221 Outdoor Trip Leadership
    • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
    • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance
    • BIOL/CHEM 251 Introduction to Nutrition Science
    • BIOL 350 Field Botany
    • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior
    • CCCE 120 Foundations of Education
    • CCCE 311 Wilderness First Responder
    • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
    • CS 345 Software Engineering
    • CS 410 Networks and Networking
    • ENG 203 Women in Literature
    • ENG 204 African-American Literature
    • ENG 353 Topics in Peace and Justice
    • GEOL 113 Climates Future, Climates Past
    • GEOL 314 Interpreting Earth History
    • HIST 232 African History Since 1880
    • HIST 246 European Women’s and Gender History
    • HIST 324 Race and Ethnicity in the U.S.
    • HIST 369 African American History Since Emancipation
    • MATH 140 Diversity of the World’s Mathematics
    • MATH 300 Statistics
    • PHYS 107 Physics for Future Presidents
    • PHYS 345 Electronics and Instrumentation
    • TESO 344 Studies in Language Learning and Teaching
    • TESO 348 Sociolinguistics

Also, build 50 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

    • Teach one of these or a similar form:
      • in a classroom
      • with a community outreach organization
      • in a formal tutoring capacity
    • The subject of your teaching may be
      • English as a Foreign/Second Language
      • special education
      • drama
      • STEM subject

For example, field experience can be gained through any of the following volunteer opportunities.

    • Local elementary, middle and high schools
    • Amigos: The Latino Richmond Center
    • Birth to Five
    • Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads of America Council
    • Boys and Girl Clubs of Wayne County
    • Community Action of East Central Indiana Head Start
    • Early Learning and Family Literacy Center
    • Excel Center
    • Girls Inc.
    • Hayes Arboretum
    • Joseph Moore Museum
    • Junior Achievement of Eastern Indiana Inc.
    • Morrisson-Reeves Library
    • Richmond Adult Education Center
    • Richmond Art Museum
    • Townsend Community Center
    • United Way
    • Wayne County Literacy Coalition
    • Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center Inc.

Please note: Check with career coaches in the Center for Global and Career Education for more options with Indiana Pathways Internships.

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Peace Corps 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 the pandemic, and create programs that provide emotional and financial support to families and communities affected by the disease.

Take three courses from ONE of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of the majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the health sector):

    • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance
    • BIOL 251 Introduction to Nutrition Science
    • BIOL 341 Cell Physiology
    • BIOL 343 Immunology
    • BIOL 382 Viral Disease Ecology
    • BIOL 461 Microbiology
    • BIOL 462 Parasitology
    • CCCE 101 Public Health
    • CCCE 102 Epidemiology
    • CCCE 103 Global Health
    • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
    • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
    • CHEM 371 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
    • ESEM 150 Diseases Without Borders: From Anthrax to Zika
    • PHIL 363 Bioethics
    • PSYC 116 Behavior, Health Care and Society
    • PSYC 374 Intro to Counseling Skills
    • PSYC 220 Adult Psychopathology
    • PSYC 376 Health Psychology
    • SOAN 333 Medical Anthropology and Global Health
    • SOAN 335 Health, Medicine and Society

Also, build 50 hours of related field experience through an 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 adviser 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

Volunteer and internship opportunities include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Achieva Resources
      • Animal Care Alliance
      • Area 9 In-Home and Community Services Agency
      • Aseracare Hospice
      • Birth-to-Five, Inc
      • Cutting Edge Physical Therapy
      • Fairbanks School of Public Health
      • Friends Fellowship
      • Hand-in-Hand Adult Day Care of Richmond
      • Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research
      • Jacy House
      • Premier Hospice and Palliative Care
      • Reid Health
      • Solstreme
      • Stark Neuroscience Research Institute
      • Sunrise, Inc. Therapeutic Riding for the Handicapped
      • Wayne County Health Clinic
      • Wayne County WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program
      • Wernle Youth and Family Treatment Center, Inc.
      • Whitewater Eye Center

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

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 decisions about how to protect and conserve the local environment.

Volunteers also address environmental degradation by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources.

Take three courses from one of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of the majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the Environment sector):

    • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
    • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
    • BIOL 348 Ornithology
    • BIOL 350 Field Botany
    • BIOL 352 Invertebrate Zoology
    • BIOL 357 Animal Behavior
    • BIOL 360 Conservation Biology
    • BIOL 362 Biology of Insects
    • BIOL 455 Population and Community Ecology
    • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
    • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
    • CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
    • CHEM 371 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
    • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability
    • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability
    • ENSU 341 Climate Change Adaptation
    • ENSU 353 Environmental Applications
    • GEOL 201 Earth & the Environment (or any GEOL 200-level with lab)
    • GEOL 316 Geochemistry & Environmental Change
    • GEOL 430 Water
    • GEOL 431 Soils & Sustainable Agriculture
    • GEOL 432 Climate Systems
    • MUSE 215 Engaging Audiences with Outreach and Interpretation

Additionally, build 50 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 resource management
    • Examples include, but are not limited to the following volunteer and internship opportunities:
    • Cardinal Greenway
    • Cope Environmental Center: Summer Health and Literacy Coordinator Intern
    • Earlham Environmental Action Coalition
    • Hayes Arboretum
    • Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves—Site Conservation Planning Intern
    • Joseph Moore Museum of Science and Nature
    • Miller Farm
    • Nature Conservancy—Presence Profile Intern
    • Northern Alaska Environmental Center: Outreach Intern
    • Patriot Engineering and Environmental, Inc: Environmental Summer Intern

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Agricultural 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.

Take three courses from one of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of the majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the agriculture sector):

    • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
    • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes, and Inheritance
    • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
    • BIOL 362 Biology of Insects
    • BIOL 410 Applications of GIS
    • BIOL 460 Plant Cell Biology
    • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability
    • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability
    • ENSU 341 Climate Change Adaptation
    • ENSU 353 Environmental Applications
    • GEOL 201 Earth and Environment
    • GEOL 316 Geochemistry and Environmental Change
    • GEOL 430 Water
    • GEOL 431 Soils & Sustainable Agriculture

Also, build 50 hours of related field experience through an activity such as:

    • Working with a large-scale or family-run business involving vegetable gardening, farming, nursery work, tree planting or care, urban forestry, landscaping, livestock care and management, or fish cultivation and production
    • Teaching or tutoring the public in environmental or agricultural issues/activities
    • Working on the business management or marketing side of a commercial farm
    • Examples include, but are not limited to the following volunteer opportunities:
    • Cardinal Greenway
    • Cope Environmental Center
    • Hayes Arboretum
    • Joseph Moore Natural History Museum
    • City of Richmond, Parks & Rec Department
    • Earlham Environmental Action Coalition
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Miller Farm
    • United Way

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

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 information technology.

Take three courses from one of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the youth in development sector):

  • CCCE 101 Public Health: Introduction to Public Health
  • ENSU 141 Environment, Society and Sustainability
  • ENSU 343 Economics of the Environment
  • ENSU 370 Psychology of Sustainability
  • HDSR 239 Persons and Systems
  • HDSR 479 Ethics and Social Justice
  • MGMT 334 Strategic Analysis and Action
  • MGMT 342 Leadership and Dealing with Differences
  • MGMT 361 Social Media and Marketing
  • PAGS 333 Medical Anthropology and Global Health
  • PAGS 374 Methods of Peacemaking
  • PAGS 343 Conflict Resolution
  • PSYC 116 Behavior, Health Care and Society
  • PSYC 230 Human Development
  • PSYC 352 Friends and Enemies: Research Methods in Peer Relationships
  • PSYC 364 Psychology of Women
  • PSYC 372 Psychology of Sports
  • PSYC 373 Moral Education
  • PSYC 376 Health Psychology
  • PSYC 379 Community Psychology
  • THEA 387 Theatre for Social Change
  • THEA 250 Introduction to Theatre: Collaboration, Analysis and Expression
  • WGSS 365 Women, Gender and Sexuality
  • WGSS 375 Feminist Theories
  • WGSS 440 Feminist/Womanist Theology

Additionally, build 50 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.

Examples include, but are not limited to the following Earlham facilitated volunteer opportunities:

      • Achieva Resources
      • Aseracare Hospice
      • Cope Environmental Center
      • Future Achievers
      • Grassroots Action Resource Center
      • Natco Community Empowerment Center
      • Rotary Club
      • Urban Enterprise Association of Richmond
      • Wayne County Health Clinic

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Volunteers work with development banks, non-governmental 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 teach basic computer skills and help communities take advantage of technologies such as e-commerce, distance learning and more.

Take three courses from one of the following areas:

Suggested courses (courses in any of majors listed above can count for Peace Corps Prep work in the community economic development sector):

    • AAAS 330 Criminal Justice and Moral Vision
    • BIOL 410 Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
    • CS 256 Data Structures
    • CS 370 Computer Graphics
    • CS 410 Networks and Networking
    • ECON 305 Econometrics
    • ECON 330 Money and Capital Markets
    • ECON 342 Economic Development
    • ECON 343 Economics of the Environment
    • ECON 345 Urban Political Economy
    • MGMT 141 World Business and Nonprofit Management
    • MGMT 200 Financial Accounting
    • MGMT 206 Introduction to Information Systems
    • MGMT 321 Nonprofits in Civil Society
    • MGMT 333 Managerial Finance
    • MGMT 341 Labor Economics
    • MGMT 342 Leadership and Dealing with Differences
    • MGMT 354 Entrepreneurial Marketing
    • MGMT 3XX Organizational Development
    • MGMT XXX Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship
    • POLS 342 Congress and Public Policy

Also, build 50 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
    • Website design or online marketing
    • Founding or leading a community- or school-based organization

Examples include, but are not limited to the following Earlham sponsored internships:

      • Indiana Economic Development Corporation China (IEDC): Market Specialist Intern
      • Huntington Bank: Credit Analyst Internship
      • City of Richmond: Metropolitan Development Office Intern
      • Right Sharing of World Resources (Microcredit organization)
      • Good News Habitat for Humanity: Marketing Intern
      • Global Environment and Technology Foundation: Program Intern
      • CoverMyMeds: Communications Intern
      • Exodus Refugee Immigration: LCORE Internship

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

LANGUAGES

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 Peace Corps Prep curriculum.

Peace Corps Prep minimum course requirements align with those needed by applicants to the Peace Corps itself, which vary by linguistic region. If you are a strong native speaker and hope to serve in a country that speaks your same language, you can skip this requirement.

Individuals wanting to serve in Spanish-speaking countries must apply with strong intermediate proficiency. This typically means completing two 200-level courses.

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.

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.

INTERCULTURAL COMPETENCE

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.

Required core course

  • Intercultural Civic Engagement (take during EPIC term after acceptance into the program)

Choose two additional electives

  • Any Diversity-Domestic Course (D-D), for example:
    • AAAS 114 Introduction to African, African American Studies
    • AAAS 369 African American History since Emancipation
    • ENG 203 Women in Literature
    • HIST 282 History of Science and Gender
    • HIST 352 U.S. Urban History
    • PSYC 364 Psychology of Women
    • WGSS 305 Radical Queeries
  • Any Diversity-International Course (D-I), for example:
    • AAAS 333 Gender and Sexuality in the Muslim Middle East and North Africa
    • AAAS 345 Germans of Color
    • ENG 364 Post-Colonial Literature
    • ENST 376 Power, Society, and the Environment in East Asia
    • JAPN 407 Translation: Theory and Practice
    • JPNS 362 Cross-Cultural Psychology
    • MUS 161 Introduction to World Musics
    • PAGS 240 Global Dynamics & World Peace
    • PAGS 333 Medical Anthropology and Global Health

Choose an off-campus study experience

Earlham has off-campus study experiences that match each of the six Peace Corps sectors.

Please note: Semester-long programs include Cross-Cultural Explorations I and Cross-Cultural Explorations II, which would be an asset to your Peace Corps Prep experience.

  • May terms opportunities:
    • Global Health in Peru
    • Perspectives on Immigration and Diversity in Berlin
  • Internships with global partners:
    • Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves
    • Exodus Refugee Services

The director of the Peace Corps Prep program and the Center for Global and Career Education can help you to identify the right off-campus study opportunity for you!

Prolonged intercultural experiences—such as studying or volunteering abroad, supporting new immigrants or refugees acculturate to the United States, or volunteering in diverse schools—will strengthen your Peace Corps candidacy significantly.

Talk with our career coaches in the Center for Global and Career Education about additional opportunities through Global Partnership Internships.

PROFESSIONAL AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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

Take advantage of the resources the Center for Global and Career Education offers to help you with writing your cover letter and resume.

You can also schedule an appointment with a career coach to review your current materials and discuss what could be added or improved upon.

Attend a workshop or class on interviewing tips and tricks or schedule an appointment with a career coach at the Center for Global and Career Education.

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.

For example, serving as a Co-Convener of any one of Earlham’s many student clubs, serving on Earlham Student Government, leadership in Earlham College Model United Nations, serving as a teaching assistant on an Outdoor Education program.

You will be able to track these experiences with your adviser and the director of Peace Corps Prep in AdviseStream.