Washington Semester Program
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.
Applicants must be a student in at least their second semester of their second year in college at the time of participation.
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.
American Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Economics and Business, International Law and Organizations, Journalism & New Media, Justice & Law, Public Health Policy, Sports Management & Media, and Sustainable Development
Sample employers through the Washington Semester Program:
Internship Employers that Chapman students have interned for through the Washington Semester Program
|American Association for Justice
||American Enterprise Institute
||American Society of International Law
||Congressmen and Senators (various)
||Department of Commerce, International Trade Admin
||Department of Education
||Department of Health and Human Services
|Department of Justice
||Democratic National Committee
||Earth Day Network
||Fox News, WJLA ABC News, The Columbus Dispatch
||La Clinica del Pueblo
|Metropolitan Police Department
|Republican National Committee
||Sherman Wealth Management
||U.S. State Department
||White House, Office of Presidential Correspondence
||World Bank Group
||Youth Leadership Foundation
Sample of Speakers, Site Visits, Events
- Congressmen and Senators
- Foundation for Defense of Democracies
- House of Representatives
- House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee
- MIT Washington Office
- National Women’s Law Center
- Running Start
The White House, Netflix, United Nations Foundation, Colman McCarthy, Embassy of China, Ebay, Graduate School Fair, Laura Lane (President, Global Public Affairs, UPS)
You are required to take one seminar course and one internship course (total of 12 units) that fall under the same concentration.
Example for American Politics concentration:
- American Politics Seminar (8 units)
- American Politics Internship (4 units)
On top of the required seminar course and internship course, you may also be able to take an optional 3 or 4 unit course from among the following:
- Research Course
- WSP-Exclusive Elective Course
- Course from American University Catalog
Seminar (8 Credits)
For three days of each week, you'll participate in intellectual discussion with professionals who are knee-deep in the field you are studying. You'll go "behind the scenes"; into the offices of most of the speakers to get a first-hand 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.
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.
Students may select either the Berkshire Apartment Studio Double Room or the On-Campus Leonard Double Room for housing. If a student selects either the Berkshire Apartment Small One Bedroom Double or the Medium/Large One Bedroom Double, they will be charged the standard Chapman housing fee for study abroad plus the difference in cost to a Berkshire Studio Double Room. If they receive a scholarship from American University, the funds are credited to the students’ American University account and are only applicable to American University optional fees incurred.