College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Political Science > Student Resources > Semester in Washington DC
The Washington D.C. Internship Program provides a unique opportunity for students to live and work in the nation’s capital for an entire semester. Students will gain valuable professional experience working within the Washington policy community while also completing academic courses in political science. The program is run in partnership with the University of Illinois and is designed to provide students with a unique internship experience while enjoying the political, intellectual, and cultural experiences that only the U.S. capital can offer. The program also combines an abundance of networking and professional development opportunities with the extraordinary resources of the nation's capital. This combination of professional development and academic coursework will allow students to better understand the complex issues facing nations, organizations and decision makers today and will offer an unparalleled learning experience.
The political and cultural environment in Washington, D.C. provides students with a unique academic and professional experience. Students are required to take three courses taught by University of Illinois professors, which includes:
DePaul Course Equivalents
DPU Credit Hours Earned Per Course
PSC 229: Topics in American Politics
PSC 329: Advanced Topics in Public Policy
PSC 392: Internship
Total credits earned
This program typically runs from September to December.
Required Internship Course
Host Institution Credit Hours
DPU Course Equivalent
DPU Credit Hours
PS 491: Internship Seminar
6 semester credits
Student internships have included positions with members of Congress, think tanks, legal services providers, federal agencies, consulting groups, social justice organizations and media outlets. There are federal agencies and organizations that focus on every type of issue and concern, such as international relations and foreign policy, national security, economics, health care, social services, law, entertainment, real estate, education, STEM and more.
Students are responsible for securing their own internship, though DePaul’s political science department and IIW program administrators will provide support to students in their search and provide assistance. in the form of offering resume and cover letter review, mock interviewing practice, and sharing online resources to help students connect with internship opportunities.
A list of Illinois Members of Congress are available here. Students should read the websites carefully to understand how to apply for an internship with a member of Congress. The DePaul Department of Political Science also has a resource page that can be accessed here. The PSC resource page includes links to the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate placement offices. Beyond Capitol Hill, there are thousands of internships available, especially at federal agencies and non-profit/advocacy organizations. Internship opportunities are often advertised on websites like indeed.com, idealist.org, daybook.com and usajobs.gov. A list of federal agencies is available here.
Students should expect to apply for internships early, starting around March or April and should apply for 5-10 internships. Students will work to arrange their schedules as internships must start no later than two weeks after the first day of class and must last at least 12 weeks in duration. Students can expect to work full time at their internship site at least 30 hours/week. Internships in D.C. are usually unpaid; however, students will be earning academic credit in conjunction with this professional experience via the internship seminar. There are also scholarship opportunities provided by DePaul University and the Department of Political Science. More on these opportunities can be found here.
To learn more about where students have previously interned, please visit the University of Illinois IIW Internship page.
Students will live together in shared apartments at the Washington Intern Housing Network(WIHN), located in the Woodley Park neighborhood and on I Street in the H-Street Corridor near Union Station. The H-Street Corridor has the perfect combination of shopping, dining, and entertainment options and is conveniently located near strategic Metro rails and buses. It is also walking distance to the U.S. Capitol. Fellow residents will include University of Illinois students as well as student interns from all over the United States. To learn more about program-provided accommodations, please consult the University of Illinois IIW.
Students can spend a semester getting to know Washington D.C. with it’s rich history and culture, you can use the District of Columbia as a learning lab. With a thriving arts scene, international diversity, plus numerous monuments and museums, it’s one of the best cities to explore.
- Recommended airport for arrival: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (Airport Code: DCA)
- Students need to book their own flight as roundtrip airfare is not included in program fee
- Students participating in the program can arrive as early as one week prior to the start of the program
Passport and Visa
Students that are U.S. citizens DO NOT need a passport to participate in this program as it is based within the borders of the United States.
All students will be charged tuition + a program fee. Tuition is billed at the regular DePaul tuition rate for the number of credit hours of coursework. Please read the program fee details carefully to understand exactly what is included, as this can vary from program to program. If the current program fee has not yet been posted, please check back closer to the application deadline. Please also note the withdrawal policy.
Regular financial aid applies and will follow you on a DePaul-sponsored study abroad program. Students are encouraged to speak with the Financial Aid office for more information. All students who apply for their program by the original application deadline are automatically considered for a DePaul Study Abroad Scholarship. Visit the Scholarships page or additional opportunities, eligibility, and deadlines so you can apply for additional scholarships early in the application process.
Students are also encouraged to apply for the Catherine R. May Student Endowment.
Here are some helpful tips from former students who have participated in this program:
- Networking is key! Have your business cards ready and always carry them so that you can share them as soon as you meet new people and potential professional contacts.
- The weekends are open so you can take advantage of the many amazing attractions and events that are available in the D.C. metro area.
- Although life as an IIW student can be a little hectic, it is well worth it to be able to get this once in a lifetime academic and professional experience.
Blog posts from past students:
The Illinois in Washington student blog