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DC Internships: Students at a site visit to the Center for National Interest

The Washington Semester Program's seminar course, taught by distinguished American University faculty, is a unique and unparalleled opportunity to gain exclusive access to the inner workings of DC.

Our instructors not only possess expertise in their respective fields, but also have extensive connections throughout the city, bringing in a diverse range of guest speakers to provide you with a VIP experience.

Through our 15+ site visits and guest speakers (fall/spring program), you will have the chance to engage with top influencers, respected decision makers, and experts from a variety of global, national, and local organizations.

Recent Site Visits & Guest Speakers from:

  • Capitol Hill
  • US Supreme Court
  • House Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • State Department
  • United Nations
  • The World Bank
  • US Institute of Peace
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • 3M Corporation
  • Google
  • Greenpeace
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • American Enterprise Institute
  • Hudson Institute
  • Cato Institute

What kind of course load is normal for Washington Semester students?
We're flexible and look forward to collaborating with you and your home university to meet your course and credit requirements.

In general, most students enroll in 12-15 credits. Please see options below:

Option I
12 credit total

  • internship course (4 credits)
  • 2 WSP seminars (8 credit total)

Option II
15+ credit total

  • internship course (4 credits)
  • 2 WSP seminars (8 credit total)
  • 1 additional course:
    • WSP elective (3 credits)
    • AU elective (3 credits) (must be after 5 PM)
    • research course (3-4 credits) or
    • independent study (3-4 credits)

Fall and Spring Courses

Get ready for an empowering internship experience! 🚀

This course is your support system—designed to equip you with essential skills, training, and guidance throughout your internship and in your future career.

Meetings: 4-5 group sessions plus 1:1s with your Professor, anytime you need!

Your Professor isn't just your teacher--they're also your internship coach! They're here to guide you throughout your internship, offering personalized guidance and solutions.

Example: If your internship lacks meaningful work, reach out! Your Professor will help you manage up to navigate the situation, teaching you how to showcase initiative and earn your supervisor's trust.

Topics:

  • Set goals for your internship
  • Explore common challenges and opportunities in the workplace
  • Communicate effectively with co-workers
  • Build awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in the workplace
  • Reflect on projects and share experiences
  • Extensive guidance and mentorship from your professor/coach throughout your internship

Prepare for an exclusive Washington Semester journey! Dive into diverse academic fields through our meticulously curated interdisciplinary seminars.

While your internship spans any area of interest, immerse yourself in two dynamic seminars tailored to these concentrations:

  • American Politics
  • Foreign Policy
  • Law + Social Justice
  • Global Economics & Business
  • Communications & Journalism

Please select  2 the 5 immersive seminars listed below. 

Fall 2024 Seminars - Tenative
 

The US Presidency: History and Current Controversies
Concentrations: American Politics, Justice + Law

Seminar Description: Do executive orders undermine democracy? Should the president be limited to two terms? May the president pardon himself? In this course, we will take an in-depth look at the presidency from three complementary perspectives. First, we will undertake a broad, historical overview of the institution and the men who have served as president. Second, we will examine classic political science texts to track the evolution of our understanding of the job. Third, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of key issues facing the modern chief executive, and then discuss how recent presidents have handled them. 

International Peace + Security
Concentrations: Foreign Policy/International Relations


Seminar Description: The course will introduce students to the major concepts and issues currently shaping the fields of international peace, conflict and security studies. In this course, students will analyze a variety of contemporary conflict issues and challenges to peace to gain a better understanding of the threats that states and communities face in the 21st century. Over the duration of the semester students will explore key challenges to peace and the main strategies for responding to conflicts and learn how to recognize and critique the assumptions upon which these strategies rest. The topics include classic security concerns ranging from causes of violent conflicts to terrorism, but also a broad range of extended challenges to human security including topics related to environmental, health, gender, and resource security.

Criminal Legal System: Mass Incarceration and Racial Disparity

Concentrations: Law + Social Justice, American Politics
Seminar Description: This course will explore the roots of mass incarceration and racial disparity in the Criminal Legal System. The course will critically analyze policing that precedes incarceration, and recent calls for defunding the police. Students will learn the intersections of public law and how it impacts the way society is policed and has led to a massive increase of those incarcerated particularly of underrepresented racial and social identities. Students will discover the foundations of rioting historically and recently that challenge the underpinnings of how our society has its laws enforced

Globalization in Crisis
Concentrations: International Business, Law + Organization Policy Issues

Seminar Description: This course explores business, legal and institutional policy issues arising in the interdependent global economy. The class discussions focus on current events and academic and policy research on international actors including multinational firms, civic groups, states, and international organizations. The weekly topics include growing inequality, the COVID pandemic, the infodemic, vaccine nationalism, climate change, economic and sustainable development, taxing and regulating big tech and big pharma, financial crises, trade protectionism, a rising China, clean and affordable water as a human right, and corruption. In the class sessions, we will concentrate on globalization’s complex problems and analyze the policy solutions.

Global Communications
Concentrations: Communications, Journalism + Digital Media, Foreign Policy, Global Economics + Business

Seminar Description: This survey course seeks to connect the politics and policies of a global capital city like Washington, D.C. with the technological, social, cultural, and economic aspects and implications of our contemporary communication and media ecology. To this end, we will consider the key actors, structures, policies, and issues that affect our understanding and use of global communications. We will also explore how the global communication system impacts different levels of society: local communities and identities, regional and national politics and economics, and across international boundaries, including the United Nations System.

Expand your horizons! Alongside your coursework, dive into our featured fall elective--Presidential Elections.

Your Washington Semester academic advisor will review your course selection during the registration process to ensure that your electives do not conflict with your seminars and internship schedule.

Featured Fall 2024 Elective


Course Title: Presidential Elections

Course Description: Explore the thrilling world of U.S. presidential campaigns and elections. In this evening course, you'll examine:

  • election primaries
  • caucuses
  • the Electoral College
  • advertising strategies
  • campaign finance
  • and debates

Dive into case studies from recent presidential races, including the 2024 matchup between President Joe Biden and his Republican opponent. Gain valuable insights into American democracy during this pivotal election year.

WSP offers rigorous research project courses in which you will take advantage of the myriad of primary resources at AU and our nation's capital. Students will often take this course to satisfy a senior seminar or other home school requirement.  

You'll work one-on-one with an experienced WSP faculty member who will help you develop a research topic and guide you in the methodology and presentation of your research.

The WSP Research Project is available as a 3-credit, 4-credit, or non-credit course.

The Independent Study project (3 credit hours) is a unique opportunity for you to conduct intensive analysis on a topic of interest to you. This work should complement the knowledge you will acquire in the seminar and internship components of the Washington Semester program. Ultimately, you will produce a 10 to 15 page original paper on a topic of your choice. The final product should show evidence of your research activity throughout the semester, including detailed knowledge on the topic and original analysis of your primary source information.

Explore the AU course catalog. Your AU electives need to occur after 5 PM because of your internship and seminar schedules.

You can work with your Washington Semester Program academic advisor to select an American University elective.

Some AU Electives have prerequisites and to meet those requirements, your transcript needs to show a background in the topic.

 

Global Economics & Business Track

New Option for Fall & Spring!
Maximize your business potential with WSP's Global Economics & Business Track. Get a competitive edge through a combination of experiential WSP seminars, business courses at American University's prestigious Kogod School of Business, and a business-focused internship.

  • WSP seminars
  • Upper-level business courses
  • Professional business intership
    You'll land a business-focused internship in Washington, D.C. with the guidance of expert career coaches from the Kogod School of Business.

Questions?
Email us at washsem@american.edu

Option I
15 credits

  • Internship + Internship course (4 credits)
  • WSP Seminars (4 credits each)
    • Required: Globalization in Crisis: International Business, Law, and Organization Policy Issues
    • 1 additional WSP seminar of your choice
  • 1 business course at Kogod School of Business
    See Fall 2023 course listing below.

Option II
14 credits

  • Internship + Internship course (4 credits)
  • WSP Seminar (4 credits)
    Globalization in Crisis: International Business, Law, and Organization Policy Issues
  • 2 business courses at Kogod School of Business (3 credits each)
    See Fall 2023 course listing below.

Elective Business Courses

  • Accounting & Taxation
    • ACCT-551-001: Forensic Accounting
    • ACCT-560-001: Government & Not-for-Profit Accounting
  • Finance & Real Estate
    • FIN-576-003: Student-Managed Investment Fund
  • International Business
    • IBUS-461-001: Alt Fin: Islamic Finance Global Economy
  • Information Systems & Tech
    • ITEC-467-001: Cybersecurity Governance
    • ITEC-470-001: Database and Big Data
    • ITEC-496-001: Futures/Foresight/Sustainability
  • Management
    • KSB-496-001: Invest Strategic Philanthropy
    • MGMT-301-001: The Entertainment Industry
    • MGMT-304-001: Protecting the Creative Class
    • MGMT-361-001: Global Entrepreneurship
    • MGMT-409-001: Leading High Performance Teams
    • MGMT-471-001: Peace Through Entrepreneurship
    • MGMT-496-001: Sustainable Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
    • MKTG-301-002: Consumer Behavior
    • MKTG-311-001: Foundations of Digital Marketing
    • MKTG-421-001: Brand Management
    • MKTG-541-001: Sports Marketing Management
    • MKTG-551-001: Marketing for Social Change

We offer even more courses!
Reach out to us at washsem@american.edu for more information.

Summer Courses

Embark on a dynamic learning experience with our summer internship courses. Our courses are designed to give you credit for your internship! You have the opportunity to select from a 3 or 1 credit internship class.

While all courses share identical career readiness content, the distinguishing factor lies in your choice of site visits and guest speakers.

All courses integrate essential career readiness content, including:
goal-setting, workplace communication, diversity awareness, reflection on projects, and mentorship.

Select one course from the list below:

  • Internship Course (Politics + Law)

    • Credits: 3
    • Modality: Hybrid
    • Hours at Your Internship: Minimum of 210
    • Career Readiness Content: 3 classes
    • Site Visits + Speakers: 4 (Politics + Law)
       
  • Internship Course (International Affairs)

    • Credits: 3
    • Modality: Hybrid
    • Hours at Your Internship: Minimum of 210
    • Career Readiness Content: 3 classes
    • Site Visits + Speakers: 4 (International Affairs)
       
  • Internship Course (Varied Areas of Interest)

    • Credits: 3
    • Modality: Hybrid
    • Hours at Your Internship: Minimum of 210
    • Career Readiness Content: 3 classes
    • Site Visits + Speakers: 4 (Various Interests)
       
  • Internship Course (Varied Areas of Interest)

    • Credits: 1
    • Modality: Hybrid
    • Hours at Your Internship: Minimum of 70
    • Career Readiness Content: 3 classes
    • Optional Site Visits + Speakers: 4 (Various Interests)
       
  • Internship Course (100% Virtual Option)

    • Credits: 1
    • Modality: 100% Virtual (Ideal for remote internships outside of DC)
    • Hours at Your Internship: Minimum of 70
    • Career Readiness Content: 3 classes
    • Site Visits + Speakers: Not applicable due to modality