Undergraduate Washington, D.C. Semester in International Affairs

The Washington DC Semester in International Affairs is a fall semester program combining an international affairs focused internship with regular seminars with prominent speakers and distinguished UW-Madison alumni working in professional, academic, and diplomatic fields related to international affairs.

Past internships have included: UN Foundation; CSIS; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Corporate Council on Africa; Amnesty International; Voice of America; Sullivan Foundation; Manchester Trade; Peace Corps; National Academy of Sciences; International Fund for Agricultural Development; Center for Advanced Defense Studies; Vital Voices; Council of the Americas; Genocide Intervention Network; National Defense University, etc.

Application Deadline is March 1, 2010.


The Washington D.C. Semester in International Affairs (organized by the Division of International Studies) is intended to provide an opportunity for eligible students to intern in an agency, corporation, non-profit or embassy with an international affairs focus and to receive university course credit. This program combines an internship (20 hours per week) with a regular seminar with speakers who are experts and prominent UW-Madison alumni working in professional, academic and diplomatic fields related to international affairs. Readings will be required for these sessions. Students will also attend lectures offered at think tanks and universities as well as business and professional associations.

In addition, they will visit major institutions such as Congress, the State Department, and the World Bank, private industry and non-governmental organizations, where students will speak with senior staff to learn about the operation and goals of these organizations. It thus provides a valuable educational experience for students. The majority of internships are unpaid.

Regular contact with the instructor and with other students, as well as traditional coursework, such as writing papers, is intended to ensure that students will have ample opportunity to put theory into practice. The internship experience permits students to examine contemporary international concerns in a practical manner, while making a positive contribution to the operation of a particular institution.

A faculty director will supervise the internship in collaboration with a resident director in Washington, D.C.

SPECIFIC GOALS for this program include the following:

1. To inform students about the ways in which international non-profits, think tanks, professional associations, and multilateral institutions operate.
2. To introduce students to practical problems of policy-making in the international arena.
3. To acquaint students with relevant research and encourage them to link theory and practice through discussion and projects.
4. For some, to put their language skills to use in a real world context.


Eligibility for participation in the Washington D.C. Semester in International Affairs includes the following basic criteria:

1. A minimum 3.0 GPA
2. Evidence of coursework in international studies.
3. At least Junior standing. Students with senior status will have priority.

Other criteria which will be used to identify students with the strongest overall preparation include: writing skills, demonstrated ability to do independent work; language skills; research experience; international experience; and strong and demonstrable interest in international affairs.

Finalists in the selection process will be required to come in for a short interview. The interview will provide additional information about placement and about the course.


Applications for Fall 2010 are now available. Please check this page for announcements.

Fall 2010 Application [pdf]

In addition to the application, students will be asked to submit:

* Current transcript
* Resume
* Writing sample (no more than 2-3 pages)
* Letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

Students are strongly encouraged to meet with a writing instructor at the UW-Madison Writing Center for assistance with resume development.

For more information, visit: www.international.wisc.edu/WashingtonDC/