The Washington Center Internship is a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate political science students to spend either the fall/winter or summer term in Washington, DC. The Washington Center has been in existence since 1975, and is currently the world’s largest provider of internship opportunities. Students spend 4.5 days per week in internships set up and monitored by The Washington Center, and take a course from professionals in the field. In addition, there are events such as site visits, Congressional briefings and lectures by eminent international visitors which round out the experience. Students also must take one of the following prerequisite courses PSCI 2200, PSCI 3200 or PSCI 3201.
Open to Honours or Combined Honours Political Science students in the third year or the first term of fourth year, as well as graduate students. Students must have a minimum CGPA of 9.5 in Political Science. Successful completion of the program satisfies the requirements for one term of full-time study [2.5 credits]. Selection will be based on academic merit and personal suitability for the experience.
- Practical Considerations
Expenses associated with The Washington Center internship include tuition fees for a Carleton term plus $12,000 US. The US dollar component includes the program fee to The Washington Center and covers the student’s housing during the internship. The program fee also covers the work by the Washington Center to secure the internship and necessary visa for the student. The Washington Center has its own residences in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for bursaries based on need for funds. The Political Science Department has recently begun a crowd funding effort for students going abroad and this program is eligible. For information on bursaries please contact the International Student Services Office, located at 128 University Centre. Students are responsible for return transportation to DC, food and entertainment during the term.
- Application Process
Students wishing to apply to the internship program must schedule an appointment with the Carleton liaison with the Washington Center:
Melissa Haussman, Department of Political Science
Room B637 Loeb Building
Telephone: 613.520.2600 x 2768
Professor Haussman must sign all applications for this internship. Application forms are downloadable from The Washington Center website and are completed online. As students prepare to apply, they should look at the Washington Center’s “viewbook” for descriptions of the various internship programs, such as Congressional internships, Executive Branch internships, NAFTA and Americas programs, and Voluntary Sector internships.
- Security Clearance
The deadlines vary by semester and also by internship, as to whether a security clearance is needed. “Normal” deadlines are 3 months before the beginning of the term, while deadlines for internships requiring a security clearance are ONE YEAR in advance of the term’s start. Thus, students wishing to pursue the latter must begin their planning early.
- Detailed course programme
Carleton University students will take the equivalent of a full 2.5 credit course load:
- PSCI 3905 [1.5 credits] Washington Center Internship
- PSCI 4905 [0.5 credit] Washington Center Seminar I
- PSCI 4906 [0.5 credit] Washington Center Seminar II
PSCI 3905 [1.5 credits] Washington Center Internship
The Carleton-Washington Center Internship program takes place in Washington, DC. The following are the job-related and academic requirements of the internships for Carleton students participating in the program.
As previously stated, The Washington Center, in existence since 1975, has internship affiliations in numerous sectors in Washington. Some representative programs include: Congressional, Executive Branch (and agency), and Voluntary Sector internships. Others focus on NAFTA and America’s political and economic relationships, international affairs, and issues of concern to global minorities. Other internships include those at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Galleries, Law and Justice Program, Science and Policy Program, Business and Information Technology, and Mass Communications.
Students indicate their top three priority areas for internship placement on the application form. Students who are accepted into the program will be contacted by The Washington Center with offerings from various internships. Telephone conversations between the student and the placement will be conducted, to determine the best connection for both.
Students are supervised on-site by Washington Center Program Officers dedicated to their particular internship sector. Students are visited twice at their placement during the semester, at the midterm and final points, and interviews will be conducted with the student, placement and Washington Center supervisors. Placement agencies are aware of The Washington Center’s expectations of the best possible quality of work both assigned to and produced by the student. Students are required to keep journals to be returned to Carleton for evaluation by Professor Haussman. In addition to the work assigned by their placement, students will produce a professional portfolio of their work, to be described by their placement sector supervisor from The Washington Center. The reports from the on-site supervisor, quality of journals, reports from The Washington Center supervisor and the portfolio produced will all contribute to the grade of SAT or UNS for the 1.5 credits.
PSCI 4905 [0.5 credit] Washington Center Seminar I
PSCI 4906 [0.5 credit] Washington Center Seminar II
The credits for PSCI 4905 and 4906 are graded and adjudicated as follows. Students outside the NAFTA program will complete one course through The Washington Center and will be graded by the professor teaching the course. The other course, PSCI 4906, will consist of a 20-25 page essay, submitted to Professor Haussman by the end of the following term. The essay must provide an analytic overview and evaluation of the student’s internship and also integrate the academic and internship components of the Washington semester. In addition, it may reference current literature in the area of the student’s placement. For students in the NAFTA program, both courses will be taken in DC. The student will receive a standard letter grade for the work.