Frequently Asked Questions

The Washington Semester Program (WSP) requires applicants to have completed at least two semesters of college course work with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 point scale. In some cases, we consider students who do not meet the requirement with approval from the student's home institution.

Scholarships are available. For priority consideration, complete your admissions application by March 3rd. If you've already been admitted to the program, visit the Scholarships page for more information on how to obtain a scholarship.

Once a student submits a completed application, we will evaluate the application and notify the student of the admission decision via email. At that point, admitted students must place a $400 deposit to begin the internship advising process. Students will be assigned to our Associate Director for Internships, who will offer extensive guidance to students during the application process. 

Students will also have access to our internship database which has over 5000 unique, current internship postings. The trademark of our program is the opportunity for students to gain lifelong professional development skills (resume, cover letter, interview advice, writing samples, etc.) via a series of professional development seminars and activities in which students engage during our program orientation, as well as throughout the semester. These skill-building activities enhance the students' ability to connect with internship opportunities and make networking connections that extend beyond the boundaries of participation with our program.

Internships are not guaranteed. However, we have, historically, achieved a nearly 100 percent hire rate for our students, with nearly every student receiving an internship, if they placed their deposit before the priority deadline. As such, it is very important to submit your application, and place your deposit early to ensure that you can apply for multiple internships.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee an internship with any organization. We would be happy to help students apply for a position with any agency, but whether or not a student receives an internship depends on the agency's requirements and their intern hiring needs.

The majority of the internships in this program are unpaid, but students will receive 4 AU units of academic credit for their participation. There are a few paid internships in DC, but they are extremely competitive and it is recommended to apply as possible.

To see what housing options are available, visit the Step by Step Guide and look under " Find Housing & Choose Meal Plans."

There are two parking options. At one of our residences, The Berkshire Apartments, parking passes are free to all residents. Or, you can park nearby at the campus Katzen Art Center, Bender Arena, or SIS Parking lot with the purchase of an AU parking permit. This cost will be approximately $506 for the semester.

All Washington Semester Program students are required to enroll in a 12-credit seminar/internship in their program of study. In addition to the internship component of the course, students will take a seminar component, in the subject they have selected which will occur two and a half days of the week.

This seminar component will feature lecture and discussion from your American University professor, and, as with all Washington Semester Programs, will also involve guest speakers and site visits. For example, students in Foreign Policy concentration will be likely to visit the US State Department, area think tanks, and other sites relevant to both the field of study and current issues.

Additionally, the seminar professor will provide professional development instruction in order to help enhance the internship experience and to assist students in preparing for a career in the field. Students will spend 20 hours per week working in the internship.

Washington Semester Program Courses are offered through American University and most students are able to transfer their credits back to their home schools. However, it is very important that students talk with their home school advisor and registrar regarding their school's transfer credit policies.

Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours which is comprised of 8 AU academic credits of seminar courses and 4 AU credits from the internship. Students can also take one of our elective courses for 3 AU credits. Each elective course is based on availability of space for each semester. As an alternate, students may select the 4-credit research class, where they will write a research paper of their choice in their respective field. The maximum number of credits based on the combination of the above options is 16 AU credits.

Yes, international students are welcome to participate in the program. As an international applicant to the Washington Semester® Program, students can spend a semester or an academic year in the dynamic, cosmopolitan city of Washington, D.C., where you will have access to some of the most influential people and organizations in the world. Upon completion of the program, you will receive an American University transcript with academic credit, which may fit into your degree program at home.

Our Admissions team helps international students throughout the visa and application process, and will assist you directly with any questions you may have before deciding to join the program.

There is some flexibility surrounding our start and end dates, as long as you are willing to make up time and assignments that you missed with your class. Our housing options may also allow extended stays, for an additional cost, and when available.

You may submit all supplemental items either electronically (upload with your application) or via mail:

Mail Via United States Postal Service (USPS):

School of Professional & Extended Studies
Office of Enrollment
4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016-8124

Mail Via Courier Service (UPS, FedEx, DHL):

Office of Enrollment
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 218
Washington, DC 20016-8001