Peace Corps Prep Program
In April 2011, the University of Montana unveiled its new ‘Peace Corps Prep’ program, becoming the third university in the country - and the first U.S. public university - to offer certificates of preparation recognized by the Peace Corps. The University of Montana, in partnership with the United States Peace Corps, has developed the Peace Corps Prep Program to give students an advantage in the competitive application process for Peace Corps service. Students attending the University of Montana can earn a Peace Corps generalist certificate by completing the International Development Studies minor program of study. Preparatory coursework aids in increasing volunteer effectiveness and better equips students for international service. Students at the University of Montana also have the opportunity to complete additional coursework to prepare for Peace Corps service in the following special assignment areas: Environment; Health and HIV/AIDS; Youth and Community Development; Business and Information Communication Technology; Agriculture and Forestry; Education; and Civic Engagement.
The International Development Studies (IDS) minor is the foundation program for the Peace Corps Prep generalist certificate. The IDS minor, an interdisciplinary program of study, focuses on the interconnected processes of social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental change taking place in low-income countries and disadvantaged regions of wealthy countries. Coursework in the minor emphasizes global and practical perspectives on sustainable development as well as critical analysis of the role of internal and external influences on the development process. Students minoring in IDS will develop knowledge and skills appropriate for graduate study and for working in non-governmental organizations, international and bilateral government development organizations, and/or community-development associations. The IDS minor requirements are four core courses and three content courses including seven upper-division credits. Up to six credits of equivalent course work completed at a university other than The University of Montana can be counted toward the content requirements of the IDS minor upon approval by the IDS Program Director (see Courses for full IDS curriculum).
- Agriculture and Forestry
- Community and Economic Development
- Civic Engagement
- Youth in Community Development
Non-UM students can complete the PCPP generalist certificate, and/or a specialist certificate, in one year of residence at The University of Montana. Once completing the Peace Corps Prep Program, the US Peace Corps will issue students a certificate then students can return to their home university to complete their studies.
UM and The Peace Corps
In the 50 years since its inception in 1961 by executive order of President John F. Kennedy, 765 UM grads have served in the Peace Corps. Per capita, Missoula leads the nation among metropolitan areas for volunteers serving with the Peace Corps while the state of Montana ranks third in the country. Regional office manager Janet Allen at the Peace Corps Northwest Regional Office in Seattle reports that “We’re delighted to see the University of Montana leading the way with this new and innovative program. [This] university is already one of our top Peace Corps schools and a valued partner through our Peace Corps Master’s International Program. [The Peace Corps Prep program] provides another opportunity to showcase the commitment to service we continue to see from University of Montana students and alumni.”
Students preparing to graduate with a PCPP generalist or specialization certificate must:
- Meet with the UM Peace Corps recruiter who will provide students with a signed form verifying the meeting.
- Meet with IDS and/or Specialization Faculty Advisor to fill out the program exit interview and completion paperwork verifying the sucessful completion of courses requirements.
- Return form signed by UM Peace Corps representative to the IDS office SS 301.
* Steps one and two can be done in any order.
Once courses have been completed (or are in progress in the students final semester) and all paperwork has been submitted, the PC will issue students their PCPP certificates. Students should recieve their certificates in late May or June of the academic year in which they graduate.
Peace Corps Links