USF in Washington DC

USF in DC is a semester-long program in Washington D.C. that integrates a full-time internship with relevant coursework taught by USF faculty from the Masters in Public Leadership Program. 

Participants take coursework and pursue 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.

“When I reflect on my time in the USF in DC program, it amazes me how much I experienced in just four months. The skills I gained in DC have carried over into places that I least expected. For example, the professional writing skills I honed in DC improved my overall communication ability and enabled me to excel in my next position as a marketing intern. Additionally, the political knowledge I gained in the program added depth and meaning to course work in my major upon returning to USF. In my media theory classes, I often make connections between the media and politics and am able to share unique insights and anecdotes during class discussions.” - Presley Attardo '15

Program Details

  • Enroll through USF in 16 units of coursework and fulfill core community-engaged learning service-learning requirement.
  • The classes include a Research Methods course (4 units), a Policy Advocacy and Professional Development course (8 units, includes the internship component), and an Elective class (4 units) that varies semester to semester. All labeled POLS 300 level courses. 
  • Engage in a full-time internship (28-32 hours) 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.
  • Find your own internship that aligns with your interests with support from McCarthy Center staff
  • Take elective course with your USF peers at the University of Notre Dame Washington, D.C. campus
  • Live at Georgetown University (Downtown campus) housing along with students from the university. Cost is $6,000 for the full semester.
  • Access a range of Washington D.C. programming activities, excursions, and events.
  • The program is accessible and relevant to students across a variety of majors.
  • Pay USF tuition, other applicable student fees, and travel costs.
  • $1,500 scholarship stipend provided to all USF in DC participants 

Past internship sites have included:

  • House Leader Nancy Pelosi's Office
  • Immigration Equality
  • United We Dream
  • House Judiciary Committee
  • Members of Congress
  • Federal Agencies
  • United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
  • Common Cause
  • Sierra Club
  • CBS News
  • White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
  • Department of Education
  • Center for American Progress
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • ....among others

Download Program Goals and Objectives [PDF]

How to Apply

The application process includes completion of the online application (link below), submission of a resume, writing sample, and participation in an interview with selection committee. Students who are interested in public service, want to build personal and professional skills, and build connections in the policy, advocacy, and political realm are encouraged to apply for either a Fall or Spring semester in Washington, D.C.

APPLY ONLINE

Fall 2024 Semester Application is now open! Priority Deadline March 1st. 

ROLLING ADMISSIONS

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
  • Be in good academic standing and good disciplinary standing 

More Information


Angeline Vuong

amvuong@usfca.edu