Why spend a semester in our nation's capital?
The Washington Semester contributes to the political education of undergraduate students, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed for productive citizenship. Students have the opportunity for direct involvement in the national political process, which illuminates the relationship between academic knowledge and practical understanding of the political world.
The Washington Semester internship provides students with work-study experience in Washington, DC, politics. Since the program's inception, more than 600 students have been placed in Congressional offices or committees, the federal bureaucracy, interest groups, and , on occasion, with the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Academic and field supervision
The program director, as the intern's academic advisor, help the students with placement, provides the student with essential background information on the selected office, interacts with the student through on-site visits and telephone calls, provides guidance during the internship, and evaluates the intern's work upon completion. In the field, students are supervised by staff persons who have been briefed by the program objectives and academic requirements.
The program offers 16 credits. Three grades are derived in a final evaluation through examination of the submitted materials (work file, intern evaluation, field supervisor's evaluation, major research paper), and participation in the weekly seminar.
Washington-based internships in the public policy arena offer students a work-study experience equal to that of a junior or entry level professional. The student also receives the opportunity to improve reading, writing, research, and analysis skills in the work-place.
Program graduates have embarked on careers in the public and private sectors. Positions in Washington, DC have included staff directorship of a Senate subcommittee, program analyst at an executive agency, public interest advocate, and President's staff member in the White House.