Peace Corps Prep Program

The Matsunaga Institute has partnered with the Peace Corps to bring the Peace Corps Prep Program (Prep) to the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) at Mānoa. UH Mānoa strongly supports the Peace Corps mission that peace and cooperation among nations can best be achieved through global engagement. The Prep combines academic coursework, hands-on experience, intercultural skills, and leadership development to enable you to be a strong applicant for the Peace Corps service area that fits your interests and skills, as well as enables you to potentially earn UH Mānoa Peace Studies Certificate.

Combining traditional academic instruction with a significant component of service-learning, the program enhances the educational experience of students and prepares them to be leaders in their communities and across the globe. Students will choose one of six Peace Corps work sectors: Education, Health, Environment, Agriculture, Youth in Development, or Community Economic Development. UH Mānoa's Prep seeks to have a diverse cohort, with students from a variety of majors and backgrounds.

Prep will assist you to develop a perspective and acquire the skills needed to achieve success as a leader serving in communities abroad. As a Prep participant, you will have the opportunity to develop your foreign language skills, gain leadership, and professional development experience. The Prep is a certificate that complements any undergraduate degree at UH Mānoa and helps prepare students broadly for global careers, and more specifically, prepares students to apply for Peace Corps after graduation. Although participation in the Prep does not guarantee that you will be accepted for the Peace Corps service, the specialized academic coursework and service experience will make you a strong candidate.


  • The certificate is awarded by the Peace Corps, not UH Mānoa.
  • If the Peace Corps discontinues the certificate at any time, termination procedures including notice and awarding of certificates is at the discretion of the Peace Corps and not UH Mānoa.
  • The certificate provides an advantage but does not guarantee acceptance as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Peace Corps Prep Program vs. Peace Studies Certificate?

The Prep and the Peace Studies Certificate have a lot of overlapping coursework, both emphasize experiential learning, gaining intercultural competencies, and developing skills to make a difference in the world both at home and abroad. The Prep will enable you to earn the Peace Studies Certificate, but there are important differences between the two.

Peace Corps Prep Program Peace Studies Certificate
May Have Overlapping Coursework
Intercultural Competency Skills Gained
Experiential Learning Required
Courses can be in one's major or minor
Desire to make a difference in the world
8 courses + 50 experiential learning hours 5 courses + 79 experiential learning hours
Foreign language required Foreign language optional
Certificate of completion from the Peace Corps Certificate listed on UH Official Transcript
Motivation is Peace Corps Service Motivation in Peace Studies
Resume development and review required Resume development and review optional
Interview skills development required Interview skills development optional

Completing the Prep and earning the certificate will require:

1. Training and Experience in a specific sector

  1. Complete 9 credits in approved sector courses
  2. Complete at least 50 hours of volunteer or professional experience in the sector

2. Foreign Language Skills

  1. Foreign language instruction is strongly encouraged, especially if a student hopes to serve in a Spanish or French-speaking country

3. Intercultural Competence

  1. 3 credits in an approved core course and 6 credits from approved elective courses, or
  2. 3-6 credits from approved courses and a substantial intercultural experience

4. Professional and Leadership Development

  1. Complete a resume review by Mānoa Career Center
  2. Attend a workshop on interviewing skills with the Mānoa Career Center
  3. Plan and execute one significant leadership experience on campus (student-led service initiative, a minimum of 25 hours)

For more information contact:

José Barzola

José Barzola
Peace Corps Prep Coordinator

Peace Corps Prep Certificate