Washington, DC Internship Program

The Washington, DC Internship Program offers students the opportunity to study and intern in one of the world’s most important capital cities. Although known primarily as the capital of American politics, Washington, DC plays a pivotal role, both nationally and internationally, in business, law, the sciences, public relations, media, and the arts. The program offers students the opportunity to focus on leadership, public policy, and agenda setting in their area of interest.

Program Curriculum

Classes are taught at the BU Washington, DC Academic Center, both by distinguished scholars from the Boston University faculty and by part-time adjunct faculty chosen for their teaching expertise and records of accomplishment in their fields.

An introductory course in either American politics or International Relations is recommended prior to enrollment in this program.

Students also have the option to take one class at George Washington University as part of the program. They can enroll in any of George Washington’s seven undergraduate colleges and the full spectrum of course offerings is open to them while they are enrolled in the Washington Internship Program.

Students participating in the program work at their internship four days a week and enroll in night courses. Note: Syllabi are for course approval and reference only. Students will receive up-to-date syllabi when their courses begin.

Elective Courses

Students will choose three of the following courses, or may replace one of them with a course at the George Washington University  as part of the program (subject to class size limits):

CAS HI 281 / CAS IR 356 / CAS PO 201: American Governance: Foreign Affairs (4)

(Formerly CAS HI/IR/PO 356.) Overview of American presidencies of the late twentieth century, specifically considering how politics relates to foreign policy in America. Concepts including isolationism, manifest destiny, moralism, rule of law, national self-interest, and terrorism are discussed. Special focus on Iraq and Afghanistan. Syllabus

CAS PO 203 / COM CM 556: Strategies for Issue Development and Policy Change (4)

(Formerly CAS PO 321 / COM CM 556.) Focuses on the specialized forms of communication that political professionals use to win public support for their issues, candidates, and policy positions; and teaches concrete planning skills for those interested in influencing public policy using both inside and outside (or grassroots) strategies. Syllabus

CAS PO 202: Introduction to Congressional Policy Making (4)

(Formerly CAS PO 406.) The purpose of this course is for the student to gain a working knowledge of the U.S. Congress, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. The course features assigned readings and lectures as well as guest speakers, current periodicals, and in-class discussions. Syllabus

COM CM 305: Public Relations Inside the Beltway (4)

Provides students with an overview of professional principles and practice for public relations in the Washington area with a special emphasis on governmental public relations. Includes an examination of the history, organization and scope of the public relations field throughout the nation and in D.C. Theories, strategies, and tactics of current public relations practice are emphasized as well as opportunities and requirements for work in the field. Syllabus

Internship Course

Students enroll in a four-credit Internship Course. Internship placements are contingent upon the student’s past experience, professional interests, and available opportunities in any given semester; flexibility is essential. Course numbers depend on the field of specialization in which the students complete their internships. The Internship Course, also known as “The Washington Experience” meets weekly and is intended to complement the internship experience by helping students understand Washington culture, and hot-button topics in the nation’s capital while grooming them for the possibilities of a career in Washington. Syllabus

  • CAS AH 505: Internship in the Arts/Architecture
  • CAS EC 497: Internship in Business/Economics
  • CAS EE 404: Internship in Energy and Environmental Policy
  • CAS HU 425: Practicum in Visual/Performing Arts
  • CAS IR 455/PO 405: Internship in International Organizations
  • CAS PO 400: The Washington Internship
  • CAS PO 401 / IR 455: Internship in Politics
  • CAS PO 403: Internship in Comparative Law
  • CAS PS 495: Internship in Health and Human Services
  • COM CM 471: Internship in Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations
  • COM FT 493/494: Internship in Film/Television
  • COM JO 411: Internship in Journalism
  • SAR HS 405: Health Sciences Practicum (6 credits)
  • SHA HF 390: Internship in Hospitality Administration

Health Policy Special Curriculum

BU’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College and BU Study Abroad have designed a unique internship curriculum for Health Science majors and Public Health minors, giving students the chance to gain valuable professional experience in the field of health policy while taking courses that fulfill major requirements.

Required Courses

Students enroll in one required course and the practicum course.

  • CAS PO 203/COM CM 556: Strategies for Issue Development and Policy Change (4)
  • SAR HS 405: Health Sciences Practicum (6)

Elective Courses

Students enroll in two additional courses and can choose from the following three options at the George Washington University and/or from electives offered by the BU Washington Center.

  • PubH 3131: Epidemiology, 3 credits (fulfill SAR HS 300)
  • PubH 3132 Health and Environment, 3 credits (fulfill SAR HS 345)
  • PubH 3133 Global Health & Development, 3 credits (SAR HS 363 in both the public health minor & HS major; or public health minor elective)

Program Details

Program Dates
  • Fall Semester: late August to mid December
    • Spring Semester: mid January to mid May
    • Upon successful completion of the program, students earn sixteen or seventeen Boston University credits. Students must enroll for a total of sixteen credits (seventeen credits for the Health Policy track).
    • The newly built housing offers suite-style apartments with shared kitchens, bathrooms, and common areas. There are usually two occupants per bedroom and up to 12 students per suite. Singles are available. Each common room is wired for telephones and cable television.
    • The housing is situated near the majority of Washington, DC government agencies and bureaus, national and international cultural attractions, and national historical landmarks. The surrounding neighborhood is well-established and boasts a variety of ethnic restaurants along its tree-lined streets. Students are just steps away from the Woodley Park/Zoo Metro stop.
    Application Deadlines
    • Fall Semester: March 15 
    • Spring Semester: October 1

    Program Staff

    The Boston University Washington, DC Programs are administered by staff in both our Boston and DC offices. In Boston, a program manager facilitates the admissions and pre-departure procedures, and maintains contact with students prior to their arrival in DC. The Boston office also houses administrative personnel, who are responsible for everyday operations. In DC, the staff comprises a resident director and administrative, academic, and housing personnel.

    Staff Profiles
    Shannon Williams, Program Manager

    On-Site Staff