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 an Undergraduate Certificate in Peace Studies (UCPS).

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 in developing a perspective and acquiring 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.

Learn more about the Matsunaga Institute for Peace.

Contact Us

(808) 956-6433

PACE Courses

Kristina Theam

What was your fondest memory at the Matsunaga Institute?

Learning and earning a Peace Corps Prep Certificate helped open up my eyes to new opportunities I can pursue after graduation!

Kristina Theam, 2022

BA in Marine Biology; Peace Corps Prep Certificate

View additional Prep testimonials.

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Additional Details

  • 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.

The Peace Corps Prep Program and the Undergraduate Certificate in Peace Studies 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 Peace Corps Prep Program will enable you to earn the Undergraduate Certificate in Peace Studies, but there are important differences between the two.


  • 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


Peace Corps Prep Program

  • 8 courses + 50 experiential learning hours
  • Foreign language required
  • Certificate of completion from the Peace Corps
  • Motivation is Peace Corps Service
  • Resume development and review required
  • Interview skills development required

Undergraduate Certificate in Peace Studies

  • 5 courses + 79 experiential learning hours
  • Foreign language optional
  • Certificate listed on UH Official Transcript
  • Motivation in Peace Studies
  • Resume development and review optional
  • Interview skills development optional

Completing the Peace Corps Prep Program and earning the Undergraduate Certificate in Peace Studies will require:

Training and Experience in a specific sector

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

Foreign Language Skills

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

Intercultural Competence

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

Professional and Leadership Development

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

For additional information, students should refer to the Peace Corps Prep Student Guide.

Students interested in the Peace Corps Prep Certificate should contact the Matsunaga Institute ( to meet with an advisor and obtain the Peace Corps Prep Application to officially declare the certificate.