Washington DC American University

The Washington Semester Program, as part of American University in Washington DC, was established in 1947.  It is a cooperative venture – of about 200 member colleges and universities – that allows students to take advantage of the resources of Washington, DC.  During the program, students are immersed in Washington culture as they work in the nation’s capital with famous policy makers and business professionals.

Students will enroll in an academic program of study.  Each of the programs includes a seminar (2 units), an internship (1 unit) and a research project (1 unit), for a full semester of St. Lawrence credit.

  • Based in Washington, DC
  • Fall or Spring semester
  • Pre-requisites: 2.8 GPA; one college level course that prepares the student for their academic track in Washington
  • Internship based program
  • Live in apartments

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Location     Academics     Co-curricular     Housing     

Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


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Students enroll in one of the following programs: 
• American Politics 
• Foreign Policy
• Global Economics & Business
 International Environment and Development 
• International Law and Organization 
• Journalism
• Justice & Law
• Transforming Communities

All the Washington Semester program (WSP) include the same basic format:  a seminar (2 units of credit), an internship (1 unit of credit) and an independent research project (1 unit of credit)

 The seminars for all the Washington Semester programs are interactive, dynamic learning forums that allow students to discuss issues with top policy makers and practitioners on site. The seminars consist of meetings with these guest speakers, weekly readings, and lectures by the professor that prepare students for the upcoming meetings. You are evaluated on participation, examinations, and a series of short analytical papers.

Internships: The internship is a vital component of the WSP experience. Students gain firsthand, practical experience. The Washington Semester Program has the largest database of Washington, D.C. internship opportunities. A complete list of possible internships is available in the Center for International and Intercultural Studies. The WSP assists you with your placement, sponsors you, maintains contact with your office/agency supervisor, and provides a class to augment the work experience. The working component of your internship is 16 - 20 hours per week. Academic requirements and the evaluation of the student's work performance by the on-site supervisor determine the final grade.

Research Projects: The research project allows students the opportunity to explore an issue in-depth that is of particular interest to them. Washington offers unparalleled opportunities for gathering the most up-to-date research. The prime sources of information for a project are likely to be government documents and hearings and personal interviews with key decision makers. As stated in #1 under SLU Credit (below), students design their research projects in consultation with an SLU faculty member.

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An integral part of the program is the two day a week internship placement. Students interview for placements at companies, organizations, and government offices throughout Washington, DC.

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The American University is located in a prestigious residential area of northwest Washington, approximately 4 miles from the White House.  SLU students participating in the WSP live in apartments near the main campus. Students may be housed with SLU students or with students from other colleges.

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Please click here to find the 2013-2014 Program Calendar.

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session lead by the CIIS office on culture shock, and what to expect, as well as safety and security while abroad.

On site: When you arrive in Washington, D.C. you move into your residence halls, pick up your orientation packet, get your American University ID card, and settle in.  There is a mandatory Orientation and First Meeting with your program director. 

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Washington DC program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS Office: Karen Smith, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Cynthia Bansak - Questions about program academics.

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Click here to apply to American University