» The Washington Semester Program

The Washington Semester Program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to complete a semester internship in Washington, D.C. For more information about applying for the Washington Semester Program contact the Center for Global Education Staff at (714) 997-6830.

Washington Semester Program Brochure 

Established in 1947, the Washington Semester® Program at American University is an academic experiential learning program for students who, at the time they participate in the Program, will be at least in their second semester of their second year of college. It includes 8 credits of academic seminar in one of 12 topic areas, 4 credits of internship, and the option of taking an additional 3-4 credits of independent research or an elective course.

The seminar will give you the chance to meet professionals who are chest-deep in the fields you are studying so that you gain valuable expert insights first-hand. At your internship, you'll get real-world work experience while making connections with leaders in Washington, D.C. The research project or elective course lets you take your experience one step further and use the valuable resources that AU and Washington, D.C. have to offer.

Topic Areas
American Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Economics and Business, International Law and Organizations, Journalism & New Media, Justice and Law, Justice and Law: Public Law, Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East and Beyond, Public Health, Sustainable Development)

Sample of Internship Sites
American Red Cross, Children’s Defense Fund, Financial Services Roundtable, Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce

Sample of Speakers, Site Visits, Events
The White House, Netflix, United Nations Foundation, Colman McCarthy, Embassy of China, Ebay, Graduate School Fair, Laura Lane (President, Global Public Affairs, UPS)

Core Components

Seminar (8 Credits)
For three days of each week, you'll participate in intellectual discussion with professionals who are chest-deep in the field you are studying. You'll go "behind the scenes"; into the offices of most of the speakers to get an insider's view of the week's topics of discussion. Some of the speakers are big names and some are not, but one thing's certain, they are all major players at the local, national, and international levels who are passionate about their stance, present valid viewpoints, and are invited to challenge your point of view. You'll definitely leave class with a real world perspective.

The Internship (4 Credits*)
We provide you with an instant network of organizations to look through. Six to eight weeks before the semester begins, you'll gain access to all of the internships in our database that are relevant to the program into which you have been accepted. We'll give you all the information you need about each organization, including descriptions of internship positions and address and phone numbers for our contacts. You can start your search right away, or wait until you arrive in D.C. Either way, you'll have nearly two weeks at the beginning of the semester to attend interviews and make your selection. We suggest you have at least three interviews. Before you arrive, we will also provide you with resources to help you write an effective résumé and cover letter.
*Note that the Public Health track has a 6-credit internship component.

Optional Components

Research or Elective Course (3 or 4 Credits)
You have the option of choosing to conduct an in-depth research project using Washington, D.C. as a laboratory of information or to take an elective class from AU's hundreds of offerings to fulfill an academic requirement from your home school. Member school students should check with their member school representative to see if their school requires students to conduct a research project while on the program. International Certificate students (from non-U.S. universities) enrolling in the elective or research course incur additional fees per-credit fees.