Academic Internship Program

Academic Internship Program

Transform your major into a career while living, working and learning in Washington, D.C. for a semester or summer. 

A professional experience and a great place to live are just the beginning. We'll help you land an internship that fits you and your goals, not just an open slot. You'll do real work, not just make copies. Along the way we'll equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to pursue your goals and connect to powerful professional networks. We'll give you the guidance and support you need to succeed. Best of all you'll share this amazing experience with a close-knit, vibrant community of fellow student interns from around the world.

I have solidified my career goals and formed incredible connections. Thanks to this unique and irreplaceable experience in D.C., I have developed skills as a researcher and can move forward with confidence.

Caden Rosenbaum
Lubbock Christian University
Interned at American Legislative Exchange Council


To be eligible to participate in this program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student at an accredited college or university.*
  • Be a sophomore or above while participating in the program and have completed at least two semesters on campus by the start of our program.
  • Maintain a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Receive academic credit from your college or university for your participation in the program (TWC does not grant credit).
  • Have approval from your campus liaison (or a faculty sponsor if there is no TWC liaison on your campus).

Your home institution may have additional eligibility requirements. Please contact your campus liaison before starting an application to TWC. If you need help identifying your campus liaison email

* TWC also considers recent college graduates and students in master’s level programs on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us at to learn more

Program Components

During our summer or semester-long program, you'll spend most of your time doing four main things.


You'll work full time Monday through Thursday at your internship so you're on the job enough to do real meaningful work and feel like part of the team. Before you get here, we'll help you sort through internship options and connect you with the ones that best fit your interests, skills and professional goals. When internship offers come in (yes, you might get more than one), you choose the one that's right for you. We work with more than 600 intern host partners, so we've got you covered.

Evening Course

Once a week you’ll take an evening course. You get to choose one that suits you from a wide range of options. All courses meet for three hours one night, Monday through Thursday, but are otherwise like courses taught on your campus. In many cases, they have a direct relationship to the work you're doing throughout the week and range from politics and business to international affairs and communications.

LEAD Colloquium

Fridays are for the LEAD Colloquium where you'll begin developing your professional identity and understand how to navigate the workplace as you get a feel for your career path. In your LEAD small group you'll interact with peers, begin to identify and leverage your strengths and share what you experience at your internship. There are also larger group activities, tours and site visits where you'll hear some great speakers and build your professional network.


Throughout the program, you'll build a portfolio that showcases what you've learned and documents your professional journey.

Program Cost

The Washington Center is affiliated with more than 400 colleges and universities in the U.S. Your final cost will depend on how the program works at your college or university. 

Our fees are usually offset by financial assistance and scholarships or through arrangements with your school. You may find that a semester or summer with TWC is comparable in cost to what you’d pay for the same term on campus.

Costs and Tuition

Fees Spring 2018 Summer 2018 Fall 2018
Application Fee $60/125* $60/125* $60/125*
Program Fee $8,420 $6,900 $8,420
Housing Fee $5,990 $4,940 $5,990

*$125 application fee is only for students enrolled in institutions outside of the U.S. This covers the cost of shipping materials via FedEx

Following these steps will help you determine the cost for you to attend:

  1. Contact your campus liaison and ask about how The Washington Center's program works at your school. If you need help identifying your campus liaison, email
  2. Check with the financial aid office on your campus to see if your package can be applied toward TWC costs. We also recommend contacting to ask about additional support from TWC.
  3. Review the scholarships available. You will be able to select the scholarships you’d like to be considered for in your application.
  4. Apply to the program.


We offer a number of scholarships supported by generous funding from our partners. You may be eligible to receive funding through a state scholarships as well as private scholarships available for campus leaders, students from diverse backgrounds, members of honors societies and programs, students with disabilities, and more.

Financial Assistance

Please complete our financial aid form and one of our financial assistance advisors will be happy to provide you more specific information about the types of financial assistance for which you may qualify.

Housing and Living

The community you become a part of is one the best things about The Washington Center. You never know what will spark a conversation that turns a roommate from halfway around the globe to a lifelong friend. You might come for an internship, but you’ll be amazed by what you can learn from a late night burger run.

We don't like to brag, but our neighborhood, NoMa, is one of the coolest and 'most connected' neighborhoods in D.C. You'll be in the middle of it all with easy access wherever you need to go.


Most student interns share a 2-bedroom/2-bath apartment with three other students in our modern residential and academic building. We'll provide everything you need, most of what you'll want and even some perks you might not have expected (like tips on where to find that burger at 2am).

Each apartment is fully furnished and includes:

  • a full dining set (pots, pans, dishes, silverware, coffee maker and toaster)
  • refrigerator
  • microwave 
  • dishwasher
  • iron and ironing board
  • vacuum cleaner
  • mop and broom
  • washer and dryer
  • wi-fi and cable

What to Pack

Please be prepared to pack the following:

  • linens including twin-sized sheets, towels, a blanket/comforter and pillows
  • personal toiletries
  • government-issued ID card
  • at least three business professional outfits
  • notebook and pens
  • clothes hangers

Once you’ve arrived we recommend you purchase these additional items: 

  • cleaning supplies
  • dishwasher and laundry detergent
  • toilet paper and paper towels
  • groceries

Due to limited storage, we cannot accept packages in advance of your check-in date.

Student Services

We give you your space, but we don't leave you totally on your own. Our student services team and alumni mentors make sure you have the support you need, any time day or night. And our disability services staff ensures that every student has the tools they need to live comfortably, complete assignments and succeed in their work.


If you are interested in bringing your vehicle, we offer the following rates:

  • Spring/Fall Semesters: $550
  • Summer Semester: $375

Parking assignments are made on a first-come, first-serve basis, depending on space and occupancy availability. To be assigned a parking space, you must submit a fully completed Community Profile, including vehicle information. The parking fee is due in full by the day of check-in. If you have questions regarding parking availability at the RAF at NoMa, please email or call 202-469-8091.

Academic Credit

Undergraduate students are required to receive academic credit for their participation. The amount of credit will depend on your home institution. Most schools offer the equivalent of a semester of credit. If your school is affiliated with The Washington Center, you should consult your liaison. If you need help identifying your liaison or if your institution does not have a liaison, contact

Non-US Citizens

International students enrolled in U.S. universities with a valid F-1 or J-1 visa can participate in TWC’s programs with their current visa as long as they remain enrolled in the university and their visa is valid until the last day of The Washington Center’s program or beyond.

J-1 Visa Requirements

The Washington Center is a designated J-1 Visa sponsor by the U.S. State Department. If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must enter the United States with your J-1 Visa. Once you’re accepted into The Washington Center’s program, you’ll be given details for how to secure your J-1 Visa. Special provisions may be available for Canadian citizens.

In order to obtain a J-1 Visa, you must be accepted into one of our programs and:

  • Be enrolled in a foreign degree- or certificate-granting university outside the United States OR have graduated from such an institution no more than 12 months prior to the program start date. Alternatively, you may have a degree or professional certificate from a foreign university and at least one year of work experience in your field.
  • Know English well enough to perform successfully in the program.
  • Plan to leave the United States within 30 days after completion of the program.
  • Engage in training and not perform work that a staff member of the company would.

Once you have been accepted into our program and placed at an internship site, The Washington Center will send you the DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms along with other important materials.

Health Insurance

All J-1 Visa participants must certify that they have a valid health insurance policy for the entire duration of the program to comply with State Department requirements. You will need to bring proof of insurance with you when you come to the United States to provide to The Washington Center.

Your policy must include:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness.
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000.
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation to your home country in the amount of $50,000.
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.

An insurance policy secured to meet the benefits requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of "A-" or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of "A-I" or above, a Standard and Poor's Claims Paying Ability rating of "A-" or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above. Alternatively, the policy may be backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor's home country.

How to Apply

Start and submit the online application by clicking the button below. Throughout the process, you can save your application and return to it at a later time. You must include the application documents listed in the section below to complete the application process.

Apply Now

If you're not quite ready to apply, fill out our request for information and a member of our staff will reach out to you.

Request more Information

Dates and Deadlines

Program Dates
  Spring 2018 Summer 2018 Fall 2018
Check-In January 24, 2018 June 3, 2018 August 29, 2018
Orientation January 24 - 26, 2018 June 3 - 4, 2018 August 29 - 31, 2018
Internship Begins January 29, 2018 June 5, 2018 September 4, 2018
Internship Ends May 3, 2018 August 9, 2018 December 6, 2018
Check-Out May 5, 2018 August 11, 2018 December 8, 2018


Application Deadlines
  Priority Deadline Regular Deadline
Spring 2018 October 11, 2017 November 15, 2017
Summer 2018 February 21, 2018 March 14, 2018
Fall 2018 April 18, 2018 May 16, 2018
Spring 2019 October 17, 2018 November 14, 2018
Summer 2019 February 20, 2019 March 13, 2019
Fall 2019 April 17, 2019 May 15, 2019

Please Note:

  • If you apply by the priority deadline, you'll receive top consideration for our private scholarships.
  • Applications after the priority deadline can still be considered for scholarships, but funding may be limited.
  • Because your home institution may have earlier deadlines, we encourage you to contact your campus liaison before starting an application.

Application Documents

You need to submit the following documents along with your application:

  • One-page Resumé: Outline your educational background, honors or recognitions, work experience, activities, special skills, etc. Please include any computer-related expertise or foreign language skills, as well as prior internships and community service activities. For tips on how to write an effective resume, read our resume guide.
  • Statement of Professional Interest (approx. 100 words): Broadly describe your internship interests, future career goals, skills you're hoping to gain and ways in which you will contribute to your placement site. Please do not specify the name(s) of any particular organization in this statement. If you need help, read our statement of professional interest guide.
  • Issues Essay (approx. 500 words): Reflect on a key issue related to your professional field of interest and demonstrate your written communication skills to TWC and prospective internship site supervisors.
  • Official Transcript: Please upload your official transcript directly into your application.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: One of these letters must be from a faculty member. The other may be from a professional supervisor. Neither letter should come from a family member or friend. We suggest that you do not request letters from high school teachers. If you have a GPA below 2.75, you need to submit three letters (two should be from college faculty members). The recommenders will submit their letter directly to TWC through the application.

If you are attending school outside the U.S., you must also submit:

  • Your TOEFL score
  • Copy of your valid passport ID page


Do students often receive job offers at their internship sites?

TWC students frequently make use of the relationships that they developed during their semester or summer in D.C. to enhance their career prospects, and many are offered positions directly. We definitely encourage networking while you are here!

How does the internship matching process work?

Shortly after you are accepted, you'll take part in a Skype or phone session with your internship advisor. Together, you will define your goals and expectations for your internship, review your resume, explore potential internship site opportunities and discuss next steps in the internship matching process. Throughout the following weeks or months, we'll submit your documents to targeted internship sites. Upon consideration from one of the sites, they will reach out to you and conduct a phone interview. You can expect to have one or several interviews, and once an offer is extended, you ultimately decide if you want to accept it or not.

    Are TWC internships paid?

    While some students are offered internships that come with some sort of compensation (a small stipend, Metro fare, etc.), the vast majority of sites working with students in our Washington, D.C. Academic Internship Program provide unpaid positions. The Washington Center is an academic program, so you are welcome to explore the scholarships for which you may qualify.

    Can I find my own internship and still do TWC?

    Yes. However, we recommend you speak with your internship advisor first. This is to ensure that your chosen internship site will provide you with meaningful work, that your supervisor will be willing to complete your evaluations, and that he or she is aware of our program components, key dates and other important details.

    How competitive is the program? Will I be accepted?

    As long as you are approved by your home institution (if you are an undergrad), meet basic eligibility requirements and submit a complete application, you should expect to be admitted to our program. That said, certain internship sites may be more competitive than others, and the summer is typically more competitive in general for internships in Washington, D.C.

    How long until I find out that I’ve been accepted?

    Upon submitting your online application, you will be contacted by one of our staff to inform you of what supporting documents we are waiting to receive from you. Once all of those documents have been received, your application enters review. From that point, you can expect to hear back from us within two weeks via email to inform you of whether or not you have been accepted into the program.

    Stories about this Program

    DC Metro Station

    A Five Step Guide to D.C.’s Metro System

    Getting around on public transportation can be daunting. This guide will get you one step closer to commuting…
    Emerson students in the NBC News Room

    Emerson Students Explore Careers in Media

    What do Jay Leno, Norman Lear, and David Foster Wallace all have in common? Of course, they all…
    Jana Kelnhofer, Clark University, interned at EMILY's List

    Intern Spotlight: Jana Kelnhofer, Clark University

    Jana shares her story about how she turned her internship at EMILY's List, into a full-time job.


    You can view TWC's Internship Policies here, which includes information on student conduct, billing, grades, and much more. All students will be expected to follow these policies so we encourage you to review them.