Participants can choose from a range of elective courses and internship opportunities that meet their interests and skill sets. Students will spend their semester engaging with peers from across the country in the heart of the capital, where they will live, learn, and explore all that DC has to offer.
- Apply to spend either fall or spring semester in Washington D.C.
- Enroll through USF in 16 units of coursework, including a 4 unit internship, 4 unit research seminar, and up to two 4 unit electives.
- Engage in a full-time internship meant to hone your professional skills, extend your academic knowledge into real-world applications, and immerse you in the unique political and social culture of Washington D.C.
- Take elective courses through the University of California’s Washington Center (UCDC Consortium) with visiting professors from University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Notre Dame, and various UC campuses. Current elective courses offered cover a range of topics including American National Politics, Political Journalism and Media, Campaign Politics, US Foreign Policy, Middle East Studies, International Law and Policy, Consumers and Public Health, Sustainability & Environment, International Relations, Washington Ethics, and more.
- Opt to live at the UC Washington Center, along with students from other UC campuses, University of Michigan, Notre Dame, and University of Pennsylvania.
- Access a range of Washington Center programming activities, excursions, and events.
- Attend the UCDC Monday night "Forum" lecture series, as an opportunity to meet with politicians, policy makers, journalists, and prominent scholars.
- Connect with a mentor (and USF alum), who will provide you with ongoing personal support and professional guidance throughout the semester.
- McCarthy Center staff assist in securing housing for program participants.
- The program is accessible and relevant to students across a variety of majors.
- Fulfill core service-learning requirement.
- Pay USF tuition, other applicable student fees, and travel costs (contact McCarthy Center to discuss whether your financial aid package will apply).
Past internship sites have included:
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Office
- Immigration Equality
- Congressional Committee Staff
- Members of Congress
- White House Offices
- Federal Agencies
- Human Rights Watch
- Common Cause
- Sierra Club
- CBS News
The application process includes completion of the online application (link below), submission of one reference letter, and participation in an interview with selection committee.
Application Deadline: March 18
To be eligible to apply, students must:
- Be sophomore standing or higher (undergraduates only)
- Maintain a 3.0 GPA or provide a compelling explanation for why GPA is below requirement
- Commit to participating in the pre-departure program orientation and meetings. Orientation for Fall 2014 cohort will take place Saturday, April 26.
Click HERE to apply online for USF in DC.
For more information about the USF in DC program, please contact:
Coordinator of Community-Based Learning
Timeline for Spring 2014 Cohort:
- November 16, 2013: Pre-Departure Orientation and Training
- January 5-6: Students Arrive
- January 7: Courses begin
- March 24-28: Spring Break
- April 18: Courses end
- April 19: Students depart from D.C.
Major: International Studies
Internship site: Senator Angus King (Maine)
My name is Morten Tastum and I am an International Studies major with a minor in European Studies. My education has for the most part taken place at various schools in Denmark, before I enrolled at the University of San Francisco. The USF in DC program intrigues me as I am thoroughly convinced that the program will provide me a beyond valuable experience. As my academic goals are to as best possible gain knowledge on the global world and expand my political knowledge, the USF in DC program is an unrivalled opportunity for me to supplement my education in many positive ways. The options for a career in today's world are ever expanding, especially in terms of global careers, and participating in the DC program is sure to give me a competitive advantage over others in the fast growing international career market. I am prepared to work diligently towards maximizing the educational potential of the program, and believe that education is more than just academic, but rather a multifaceted entity that requires building knowledge in several fields and understandings. I will make sure to utilize my full potential to get the best experience out of the program.
Internship site: White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
I am a sophomore sociology major at USF, and also minoring in African American studies. Currently I am a member of the Debate team and the Alliance for Change, and I am also a National Collegiate Scholar. I would like to be able to make a difference in changing the systematic inequalities that occur throughout the world, especially in the United States. My sociology classes, such as US Inequalities and Social Justice, and my participation in the Alliance for Change have affected my interest in this cause. My goals for the DC program academically are to learn in both the classroom and through experience, and to develop as a student intern. Being in a new city, my goal is develop culturally through all the history that is present in Washington DC.My goals to support my career plans are to develop networks and see how different fields work and function during my internship. In DC, I hope to discover a new passion that will lead me to a career decision while networking and developing my knowledge culturally and academically.
Major: International Studies- Peace and Conflict Studies
My name is Sarah Masoud and I am working towards a degree in International Studies with an emphasis in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. During high school, my senior community service project was a fundraiser that I hosted to raise money and awareness for orphans in Kabul, Afghanistan for a non-profit organization called Omeid International. This was the catalyst for realizing I would dedicate my life to studying international conflicts, and use my privilege and role in political activism to fight for social justice causes I believe in. The USF in DC program will improve and enhance my such as communication and research skills, which are two very important skills to have in my field. In addition, my experience gained from my internship will expand my knowledge of how these organizations become successful, as my long term goal is to start one of my own. I also think the change of environment, living in a city where there are so many politically active people and grassroots movements, will add to my experience. I want to learn more about procedures and practices of international policy on a practical level, and about the most effective ways to make policy changes. I not only hope to learn from professors, but also from my colleagues, coworkers and other people I will network with.
Major: International Studies
I completed my Baccalauréat (French High School Diploma) in 2008, while in the ES (Social and Economic) section. I developed an interest in politics at a young age, and my objective is to be able to work in the field of international relations and/or diplomacy. At USF, I am completing a major in International Studies, with a minor in African Studies. I hope to get an advanced understanding of the dynamics of political processes, by identifying more clearly the actors involved as well as the power-relations they entertain between each other, and in a more general sense how theory can be effectively put in practice. Since I hold a particular interest in foreign policy and international relations, my experience in D.C. would potentially reinforce my understanding of the dynamics involved in that particular field, but it would also provide me with groundwork experience in what could be described as a laboratory of both intra and intergovernmental management. By encountering and exchanging with people presumably having a long-time experience working within government institutions or non-profit organization, I am hoping for a personal enrichment as well as for a clarification of what needs to be done to give back to the political system the ethical qualities it is lacking. It will also provide me with a clearer idea of where I would like to work after I graduate - that is either in a non-governmental or governmental/intergovernmental organization.
Will I earn credit towards my major core requirement by participating in the USF in DC program?
The USF in DC internship component of our program fulfills core USF Service-Learning requirement for students across all majors. Currently, as other USF in DC courses are offered through the Politics department, these courses typically count as elective credit for other departments. Please contact the McCarthy Center for more information.
Where will I live and how much does housing cost?
The McCarthy Center will assist students in identifying convenient housing options close to the Capitol, internship sites, and the University of California Washington Center. While students are responsible for housing fees, Washington, D.C. housing options are comparable to USF and San Francisco living costs. Students also have access to D.C.’s Metro transportation system for quick and easy travel to their respective internship sites and key destinations in D.C.
I do not have much professional experience so far; how will I secure an internship?
Our program is open to students with a range of professional, campus involvement, and volunteer experiences. Students will have access to USF resources in drafting cover letters and resumes, and will also receive support while identifying possible organizations students will apply to as they search for internship placements. Professor Ken Goldstein (USF Politics faculty member) and Joel Clark (UCDC, Research Seminar) will provide ongoing support throughout their DC experience. McCarthy Center staff teach the internship course, which entails pre-departure orientation, remote support, and two in-person trainings in D.C. throughout the semester.