Fall Program Components

Each semester in the AU Gap Program includes an internship and a seminar course, for a total of 7-8 credits. You have the option to enroll in a single semester (fall or spring) or take a year-long program.

College Students

Supplementing internship experience, you will participate in a Mentored Field Practicum (MFP) class. Led by an experienced American University instructor, the MFP course enables you to have a successful experience at your internship, as it provides a forum for exploring common challenges and opportunities in the workplace, including goal setting, job responsibilities, communication with co-workers, and diversity in the workplace.

You will also identify skills crucial to success in the professional field in which you are interning and you will connect theories and knowledge gained in your seminar classes with "real world" experiences.

2020 Elections

The Making of the President (3 credits)
Campaigns are not just the product of today:they are the result of cutting-edge changes in political history, culture and media over the past half-century.The 2020 election represents the latest epoch in this endeavor.The course will examine how the roles of personality, political party and issues affect elections, with particular attention to the 2020 campaign, and understanding that elections are products of the past and visions of the future.

American Politics

Engage with prominent policy makers, politicians, and government staff to see how things really work in Washington.
US Political Institutions (4 credits)
Students examine the cycle of United States politics and institutions: how candidates get elected; how bills are proposed and passed; how bills are signed into law and executed; and how laws are adjudicated.
US Politics and Policy (4 credits)
This course provides students with an empirical understanding of how Washington D.C. works on a daily basis. Students meet with political practitioners and policymakers -- both elected and unelected -- who influence legislation, execute decisions, resolve disputes and help others win electoral office. Students gain understanding of the complexity of the government and "practical politics."

Foreign Policy

Discuss current issues, priorities, and contending views of America's role in the world with practitioners, US officials, and other members of the policy community.
Contemporary U.S. Foreign Policy (4 credits)
This course will help students acquire a sound conceptual and practical understanding of the foreign policy challenges that United States policymakers face, and the reasons for and implications of their decisions. The seminar consists of lectures, class discussions, and simulations, as well as briefings by public officials, policy analysts, and others who are involved in the shaping of U.S. foreign policy.
Global Politics (4 credits)
This course examines important historical and contemporary themes in global politics that help us understand the key dynamics and institutions of the current international system. This analysis will include studying the role played by the foreign policies of national governments, the multilateral initiatives of inter-governmental institutions, and the advocacy campaigns of non-governmental 2 organizations. In this context, current international challenges, both global and regional, will be used as case studies to understand and evaluate the adequacy of policy responses by national governments, inter-governmental institutions, and civic sector engagement organizations.

Global Economics & Business

Engage with professionals and agencies directly involved in the debate and formulation of economic, investment, and trade policies.
Economic Policy (4 credits)
This course covers key topics in economic policy, including globalization, foreign direct investment, economic integration, foreign exchange markets, the international monetary system, and the global capital markets. The seminar will be augmented with lectures by guest speakers and site visits to Washington, D.C. institutions and corporations.
Global Entrepreneurship and Business (4 credits)
This course provides an overview of issues associated with international business, from both a conceptual and geographical perspective. The seminar is augmented with lectures by invited speakers and visits to Washington, D.C. institutions and corporations. Students understand the issues faced by multinational firms and certain regions and the resources available for studying global entrepreneurship.

International Law & Organizations

Meet with international law practitioners that shape policy to see how the relationship between law and multinational organizations impacts security, trade, economic development, the environment, and human rights.
International Law and Organizations (4 credits)
This course examines the impact of the relationship between international law, multilateral organizations, and NGOs. Students explore the work of these actors in human rights, institutions-building, international trade agreements and economic development, environmental conservation, and disaster relief.
International Peace and Security (4 credits)
The course will introduce students to the major concepts and issues currently shaping the fields of international security and international peace and conflict studies. In this course students will analyze a variety of contemporary security issues and challenges to peace to gain a better under-standing of the threats that states and communities face in the 21st century. 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. Topics will 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.

Journalism & New Media

Go behind the scenes at local media outlets to engage with key innovators in journalism and communications. See how they share news, policy, and hot topics that affect our nation.
Journalism in Washington (4 credits)
This course explores the many facets of print, online and broadcast journalism as they exist and are practiced in Washington, D.C. The course studies the people, institutions, and issues of Washington journalism with weekly guest speakers, field trips, readings, discussion sessions, and lectures.
Global Communications (4 credits)
This course offers an examination of the role of communications and media in an era of socio-economic and political globalization driven in large part by 24/7 information and communication technologies. It introduces students to key technological, political, socio-cultural and economic concepts underlying the infrastructure and application of global media and communication systems.

Justice & Law

Gain an understanding of the institutions and organizations that contribute to making, executing, and interpreting the laws, rules, and regulations by which we govern ourselves.
Public Law and Society (4 credits)
This course exposes students to various social science and legal studies frameworks that explore how the law shapes society, politics, policy, and individuals, and how various social and political institutions shape the law. The course highlights the multiple processes through which law constitutes, regulates, and promotes change in social action, identity, and institutions, as well as how scholars come to understand those processes. This course is ideal for students in the humanities and the social sciences, as well as business, journalism, and the sciences who are interested in exploring various facets of the law.
Criminology and Justice (4 credits)
This course immerses students in the theory and practice of United States criminal justice and criminal law, through guest speakers, lectures, simulations and class discussion. Students explore academic and professional skills relevant to U.S. criminal justice and criminal law, and gain knowledge of the structure, function, and interrelationship among law enforcement, courts, the adjudicatory system, and corrections.

Recent High School Grads

Supplementing internship experience, you will participate in a Mentored Field Practicum (MFP) class. Led by an experienced American University instructor, the MFP course enables you to have a successful experience at your internship, as it provides a forum for exploring common challenges and opportunities in the workplace, including goal setting, job responsibilities, communication with co-workers, and diversity in the workplace.

You will also identify skills crucial to success in the professional field in which you are interning and you will connect theories and knowledge gained in your seminar classes with "real world" experiences.

The Nation’s Capital – Learning How Washington Works & Doesn’t

In this seminar you will learn about our nation's capital through studying:

  • Federal – Three branches of government
  • Local – DC Government
  • Policy-making at multiple levels
  • Non-profits

POTENTIAL SPEAKERS & SITE VISITS:

  • Ambassador Susan Rice
  • Mayor’s Task Force
  • DC Councilmember
  • Federal & D.C. Courts
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin
  • Former Rep. Ryan Costello
  • A Wider Circle (local non-profit)
  • Martha’s Table (local non-profit)

 

Please note that the University reserves the right to make program/subject cancellations and changes or substitutions in cases of enrollment interests or changed conditions in the interest of the group.

Sample Internship Sites

  • 1776 - a global incubator for startups
  • Capitol Hill - including both Senator and Representative Offices
  • Center for International Study and Development
  • Crouch & Crouch Law Offices
  • Department of Justice
  • Earth Day Network
  • Isports
  • National Public Radio
  • Running Start
  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Sierra Club
  • Small Business Administration
  • Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
  • Voice of America
  • Washington Times