Come Face-to-Face with Influencers

Washington Semester students at the Center for National Interest

The Washington Semester Program provides a platform for ambitious and diverse learners to explore newsworthy topics. As a part of your seminar classes, you will meet with national and global experts who impact your life today.

Transfer Credits to Your Home University

We help you earn the credits you need to graduate on time. Whether you spend 1 or 2 semesters in the program, you can transfer American University credits to your home university degree.

Additionally, you may choose to enroll in an American University elective courses during your WSP semester.

Fall and Spring Courses

Enhancing your professional internship experience, you will participate in an internship class. This course focuses on the key skills you need to land an internship and become a successful employee in today's workplace.

Learn Career Skills:

  • Set goals for your internship
  • Explore common challenges and opportunities in the workplace
  • Communicate effectively with co-workers
  • Build awareness to diversity in the workplace
  • Reflect on projects and share experiences
  • Access extensive faculty supervision

To curate your Washington Semester, we have designed interdisciplinary seminars to provide broad opportunities for students pursuing diverse academic fields: American Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Economics & Business, Justice & Law, Public Health, Communications, and Journalism. 

You may select two of the following interdisciplinary seminars: 

Political Transitions and Policy Implications American Politics, Global Economics & Business, Justice & Law Concentrations

Every two and four years, our nation experiences the departure of mayors, governors, members of Congress, presidential appointees, and many other officials at all levels of government. How are these transitions handled operationally and politically? How have these transitions impacted politics and policy throughout U.S. history? This course will examine U.S. politics, policies, and institutions through the lens of governmental transitions utilizing lectures, simulations, and guest speakers.

Managing the Pandemic in Globalized SocietiesForeign Policy, Global Economics & Business, Journalism & New Media, Public Health Concentrations

Not since the 1918 Flu Pandemic have the fields of international relations, public health, and global business and economics come into such a degree of overlap and interdependency. How did the political and diplomatic actions of China, the U.S., and other world powers influence the spread of COVID-19 across the globe? How has the public understanding of medical science impacted trade and the global economy? How will the innovation of science and industry prepare us to recover from markets and industries thrust into steep depression? This course will explore the complex consequences and intersections brought about by a global pandemic through lectures, guest speakers from the various fields, and critical analysis.

Criminal Legal System: Roots of Mass Incarceration and Racial DisparityJustice & Law, American Politics Concentrations

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. You 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. You will discover the foundations of rioting historically and recently that challenge the underpinnings of how our society has its laws enforced.

National Conversations in Times of CrisisJournalism & New Media, Foreign Policy, Global Economics and Business Concentrations

The modes of conversation from the individual level to the societal level have undergone swift evolution due to declining print media, the growth of internet forums and social media, and the increasing polarization on how we should live and govern our society. All of these points have now crashed into the upset of daily life due to pandemic and the poignant fight against racial injustice. This course will explore how journalism, public relations, the public health community, and diplomacy are tackling these realities from their various professional lenses. The course will include lectures and guest speakers from these different fields offering insights on the changing communication landscape in 2021 and beyond.

You can enroll in an AU elective course in addition to your WSP coursework. Your WSP academic advisor will review course selections during the registration process to ensure that electives do not conflict with your WSP course or internship schedule.

Please note that electives are only open to credit-seeking students.

WSP offers rigorous research project courses in which you will take advantage of the myriad of resources at AU and our nation's capital. You'll work one-on-one with a 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 or 4 credit course. Also, offered as a non-credit course for our international non-credit students.

Summer Courses

Choose between a US Government or International Affairs internship course where you'll come face-to-face with national and global expert guest speakers.

Learn Career Skills:

  • Set goals for your internship
  • Explore common challenges and opportunities in the workplace
  • Communicate effectively with co-workers
  • Build awareness to diversity in the workplace
  • Reflect on projects and share experiences
  • Access extensive faculty supervision