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Washington Program

The Seminar Course Syllabus

The seminar course is divided into three distinct sections.

Part 1 consists of an orientation to Washington and the policy-making process, a discussion of internships in general and the internship experiences of past and current students, and an explanation by the instructor of the other aspects of the program (research papers, student presentations, journals, etc.).

Part 2 consists of a series of seminars led by outside experts on selected aspects of public policy and the policy-making process. Typically, students have the opportunity to hear 10-12 guest speakers. An effort is made to include speakers who complement the internship experiences of the students.

 Part 3 consists of student presentations. Each student in the class is responsible for a one-hour presentation. Generally, students make their presentations on the topic covered by their research paper. The subject matter selected for the presentation should not be so narrow and technical as to be uninteresting nor so general as to be unenlightening.  Since the subject matter chosen for the presentation generally evolves out of the internship experience, it will vary from internship to internship. However, all interns will strive to uncover the political, institutional, or procedural implications inherent in the subject matter.  Ideally, the presentation should serve as the launching pad for the research paper.

Research Course Syllabus

One of the academic requirements of the semester program is the submission of a research paper of at least 5,000 words. The paper should be well-researched, carefully and completely documented, logically and coherently organized, and written in an acceptable academic style.

The uniqueness of the Washington setting and internship placement allows students the opportunity to engage in original research, which may involve examining new issues and talking with and interviewing experts on policy and the policy-making process.

It is expected that students will consult the literature and data within the field of investigation and that the paper will contain full and complete footnote (or endnote) citations. Kate Turabian's manual of style is recommended.

Internship Syllabus

Students intern four days a week (Monday through Thursday). Intern hours vary. At some offices or organizations, people work a nine-to-five day; at others, staff often work much later hours. Generally, students are expected to stay as long as the professional staff in the office or organization where they intern.

 Nearly all internships involve clerical or administrative work. As a matter of fact, the more prestigious the internship site (e.g., the Supreme Court, the White House, a leadership office in Congress), the more likely students will be asked to do clerical work. The program seeks to establish internships that are 80 percent "substantive," but students should expect that, in the early stages of the internship, they will be given a higher percentage of clerical work. Later, their responsibilities will increase.

Students should also keep in mind that they can learn by observing as well as doing and that not all time spent at the copy machine need be "wasted" time. Should students feel that they are being either underutilized or burdened with too much work, the instructor will intervene and talk with the intern's supervisor.

Students should be aware that their work product, their abilities, and their attitudes are being evaluated throughout the internship by the office internship supervisor. In particular, they should take care to make a favorable early impression.

Each student's internship work experience is evaluated by

1. The student’s internship supervisor;

2. The student, who writes a self-evaluation of the internship;

3. The program staff examination of the above and the student's weekly journal.

Summer Internship Program Syllabus

The Summer Internship program shall use a syllabus similar to the Internship syllabus described above.


For more information, contact:

Program Director
SUNY Brockport Washington Program
444 North Capital Street NW, Suite 221
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 403-8507
E-mail: washington@brockport.edu