Washington Program

The White House

Washington, D.C., is a city that offers a wide variety of academic, professional and cultural opportunities for undergraduates. From Capitol Hill to CNN and the Smithsonian, students have the chance to gain valuable on-the-job experience and work with professionals in their fields. The Penn State Washington Program gives students the opportunity to tap into all the resources the city has to offer.


Established in 1995, the Washington Program was started to give students a complete Washington experience, including internship placement and credit, housing, and special events and programs. Students from all areas of the University have participated in the Washington Program. Over the years, they have worked for organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union, CNN, the Environmental Protection Agency, the office of Sen. Arlen Specter and the Organization of American States.


Communications and Democracy Semester

In 1998, the program expanded to include its first academic component. The Communications and Democracy Semester, structured specifically for students in the fields of communications and political science, offers Penn State coursework on-site for the Washington interns. Students may take up to 18 credits of classes taught in Washington by Penn State instructors as well as local professionals.

Leadership in Agriculture Semester

Based on the success of the Communications and Democracy Semester, the Leadership in Agriculture Semester was added to the program in 1999. These academic programs allow students to intern while keeping up with their academic requirements.

Please note that the Communications and Democracy and Leadership in Agriculture semesters are available only during the fall, while the Washington Internship Program is offered year-round.


The Washington Program is open to juniors and seniors in any major. Sophomores are considered on a case-by-case basis. Interested students participate in a thorough selection process. Students are selected based on interest, academic standing, writing samples, references, and an interview. If selected, students are placed in internships according to their majors, interests, experience, and career goals.

Throughout the year, information sessions are held to discuss the opportunities available through the Washington Program.

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Academic Semester Programs, Internships

Prof. Robert Richards

Katie Sullivan

Page last updated: September 19, 2016