Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance

Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance 2017-11-14T14:35:26+00:00

Located in Old Town Alexandria, the Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance extended summer session program offers a unique 11-week immersion into work experience within the nation’s capital. Students will learn about and work on challenging public policy issues that shape communities locally and nationally while obtaining academic credit. Washington Semester Fellows will also attend seminars that enable them to understand their internship from a range of analytical perspectives.

There are two program options for students to choose from:
• 6-Credit Program: Internship, professional development, evening lectures and selected field trips.

• 12-Credit Program: Internship, Friday class and seminar, professional development, evening lectures and all field trips.


The Washington Semester is a competitive program open to all undergraduate students, regardless of major, who have earned a minimum of 60 credits and are in good academic standing.


Application deadlines may be found in the right hand column.  You may print a copy here. Submit applications to Krystal Wright, 110 Architecture Annex, Blacksburg, VA 24061. Please ask your references to provide letters by the due date (either by email to spia@vt.edu or by campus mail to mail code 0113).

Upcoming Information Sessions

Thursday, November 30 – 1:00p – 2:00p, Major Williams 434
Friday, December 1 – 10:00a – 11:00a, Major Williams 502

More sessions will be announced as dates are determined.

Information Session Presentation

You need not attend an information session to apply.

Summer 2018 – Washington Semester, Leadership through Policy and Governance

Applications beginning:
November 17, 2017.
Application deadline:
January 22, 2018.
Internship Placements completed by:
April 27, 2018,
Program dates:
May 21 – August 4, 2018
Check-in: TBA
Welcome breakfast:
May 21, 2018
Internships begin:
May 22, 2018
1st class: TBA
Last class: TBA
August 4, 2018

Andrea Morris
Washington Semester Director

Jaimy Alex
Internship Coordinator

Krystal Wright

Washington Semester Program Overview

Information for STEM Students

Application form

What to bring

All students are placed in an internship with a public or nonprofit organization that requires 30 hours of work per week. Placements are based on each student’s interests and professional goals. The internship experience provides a platform for linking seminar discussions and readings to broader issues of management and policy. The emphasis placed on incorporating both theory and practice sets the Virginia Tech Washington Semester program apart from other Washington internship programs.

All Washington Semester internships are unpaid internships. Participating agencies, nonprofits and companies must follow the Washington Semester program requirements for employers. The Washington Semester Internship Coordinator communicates these requirements to prospective employers prior to confirming the internship placement.

Specifically, participating employers complete a WS internship agreement form that specifies the internship supervisor, student work days/hours, and an internship job description and they also complete two evaluation forms (one midway through the program and one at the internship’s conclusion). All internships also must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Examples of previous internship placements among many others:

  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate
  • U.S. Information Agency
  • Government Accountability Office
  • HUD
  • EPA
  • Catholic Charities, USA
  • American Red Cross – International Division
  • Human Rights Watch
  • InterAction
  • City of Alexandria
  • County of Arlington
  • World Resources Institute
Below are rates for the 2016 program. New 2017 rates will be posted in the spring 2017 term.  Should anything change, students will be expected to honor the new rates.

Tuition & Fees: Summer 2016 rates are below. If rates increase, participants will be expected to pay the new rates.

(*In-state rate includes tuition, academic fee, technology fee; **Out-of-state rate includes the in-state rate plus out-of-state tuition and the facility & equipment fee).

The summer 2016 rates may be found here.

In-state* Out-of-state** Other Student Fees Program Fee WAAC Activity Fee
see Bursar’s website see Bursar’s website none if submit waiver form $100 – non-refundable N/A

Since the program is off campus, you will not need to pay university on-campus fees, but you will be charged for these fees. To have these fees waived, please work with your department to submit a comprehensive fee waiver form to the Bursar’s office.

Housing Costs: 2016 rates (may be subject to change). For those living in the Gallery Apartments in Alexandria, if any changes are made, students will be expected to honor the new rates.

Rates Per Person Two-Person Three-Person Four Person Parking Fee
For Summer (2 3/4 months) $2244.00 each $1968.00 each $1608.00 each $175.00
Deposit $500.00 each $500.00 each $500.00 each N/A
The Washington Semester introduces participants to a variety of perspectives about how public policies are crafted, and to the diverse professionals who dedicate their careers to making them work. As such, the program provides a distinctive combination fo learning activities around questions of American democracy and governance.

The Washington Semester is divided into two interconnected themes aimed at encouraging students to develop a comprehensive set of knowledge about the American democracy and the development of the District of Columbia: the structure of the American democracy and the making of the Nation’s capital.

There are now two options for participants:

->  For the 12-hour program, students enroll for three courses for the 1st summer session:

    • 3 hours – UAP 4624 – The Washington Semester: Seminar in Politics and Public Policy
    • 3 hours – UAP 4644 – The Washington Semester: Politics, Policy and Administration in a Democracy
    • 6 hours – SPIA 4964 – Field Study

The 12-hour program is an overload for 1st summer session. Each student must get permission from his/her Dean’s office to add the overload hours. The Washington Semester program is designed as an integrative whole and you must register for it in its entirety during the first summer session.

-> For the 6-hour program, students enroll for one course for the 1st summer session:

    • 6 hours – SPIA 4964 – Field Study

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