- GW Home
- Our Location
- Admissions & Aid
- GW Experience
- Faculty & Staff
Semester in Washington
Are you interested in politics, but still have another year or two of undergraduate study? Do you want to get a leg up on the competition, earning graduate credit during the spring or summer while working and living in Washington, D.C.? If so, then the Semester In Washington Politics program at GW may be right for you. The Semester in Washington Politics (SIW) program is tailored for politically savvy students interested in shaping tomorrow’s politics.
A hands-on program, SIW students take courses in applied political management – focusing on campaign communication, strategy and tactics, lobbying and advocacy, legislative processes, fundraising and much more. Somewhat like a "study abroad" program, students are immersed in the culture, language and mores of Washington, D.C.
The heart of the program is the practicum, a semester-long exercise in which students simulate the professional work undertaken in political situations, working in teams of six under the guidance of a young political manager. The work culminates in a version of a "moot court": student teams present their ideas before a panel of experts that challenge their presentation, probe their weak spots and declare a winner between the competing teams.
A Leg up on Graduate Work
In the future, if SIW students apply, and are accepted, to the Graduate School of Political Management, the courses completed in the SIW program exempt them from two (2) of the introductory course requirements for the Master's in Political Management, allowing students to select two (2) additional elective courses.
Unlike in other programs, GW's Semester in Washington program does not "place" students in an internship, rather, working individually with SIW staff, students have the opportunity to find the best fit to support their career goals. In the past, students have interned with non-profit, grassroots, or advocacy groups, federal agencies, media outlets and in Congressional offices.
Each week, students will "go behind the scenes" and meet with political players who are shaping the national debate. In the past, these weekly networking trips have included briefings with Supreme Court Justices, White House staff, members of Congress and their staffs, national news outlets, the national political parties, lobbying shops, political advocacy organizations and top-rated consulting firms.
A key ingredient to experiencing Washington, D.C. is living in Washington, D.C. SIW students have the option of living on GW's bustling urban campus in the heart of the city just blocks from the White House, State Department, World Bank and Georgetown. Immersing one's self intellectually and physically in our nation’s capital with participation in the GW SIW program is a great springboard as students pursue their passion for politics.
What SIW Alumni are Saying
“So inspiring was my time at SIW, after I graduated, I returned to earn a master's in political management from GW's Graduate School of Political Management and serve as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill. I continue to use the lessons I learned during my summer at SIW. As a lawyer practicing political and election law, I incorporate the pragmatic information I learned at SIW into my legal practice."
- Brandon Ward, Morehouse College
“SIW exceeded all of my expectations. For anyone interested in government and politics this is a one semester dream.”
- Steven Atkiss, University of Florida
“The GW SIW program was the best career decision I made as an undergraduate."
- Kate Cyril, Bentley College
"The GW Semester In Washington program is one of the greatest programs for advanced studies in political systems. I consider SIW to have launched my professional career.”
- Ben Pickett, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill