Fall and Spring Concentrations

The Washington Semester Program provides a platform for ambitious and diverse learners to take advantage of all that Washington, DC, has to offer. You will learn from real-world leaders and experts who are making a difference in their field. Your professor will lead you through the nation's capital to go behind the scenes in government, non-profit, and corporate settings.

For your seminars, you can select from the following concentrations:

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 and 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 and 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.

Public Health Policy

Take a comparative approach in looking at the U.S. public health system in relation to that of other nations, and learn directly from practitioners in a variety of fields affecting public health.
Public Health Policy (4 credits)
This course familiarizes students with concepts and ideas concerning the distribution of health and illness in society, the organization of the health care system, and the relationship of one to the other. The course explores policy tools and regulatory mechanisms that can be used to improve public health.
Human Development and Global Issues (4 credits)
This course explores the complexity of development challenges at local, national, and global levels. Diverse topics include key actors, best practices, inequality, poverty, gender, consumption, conflict, and success stories. Students meet and interact with practitioners who work in the field.

Sustainable Development

Explore local, national, and global sustainable development and become familiar with best practices in the field to learn how to advocate for and create effective change.
This concentration is currently under revision.
Human Development and Global Issues (4 credits)

This course explores the complexity of development challenges at local, national, and global levels. Diverse topics include key actors, best practices, inequality, poverty, gender, consumption, conflict, and success stories. Students meet and interact with practitioners who work in the field.

Sustainability and the Environment (4 credits)

This course explores the complexity of environmental challenges at local, national, and global levels including biodiversity loss, marine and ocean threats, and climate change. Students will meet with practitioners and actively engage in learning about potential approaches to addressing these issues including: local, national, and global policies; environmental education and communication; supply chain management and ecosystem services models; and technological innovations.

AU has students from 139 countries represented