The Washington Experience

Academic Course

Students who are participating in the Washington Experience program enroll in Political Science 399 during the second summer term. If a student wishes to enroll in Political Science 399 during the first summer term, they can do so with the permission of the director. In order to receive credit, students typically must spend at least 4 weeks in Washington, DC doing a political internship. However, if a student is offered an internship that is less than 4 weeks in duration he may still be eligible for course credit

At the conclusion of their internships, students are to write three separate 5 page papers about their experience in Washington, DC.  The papers are described in the course syllabus for PSC 399.  A description of Political Science 399 is below.


This course attempts to facilitate learning about the US political system, current political issues, and career options in politics and government, through a combination of full-time work in a Washington, D.C. political or governmental office, reading, and paper assignments. There are no formal prerequisites for the course, however, students should be familiar with the concepts that would be covered in an introductory American politics class.


Upon successful completion of the course, students will have gained:

imagesAn “inside” view of events, issues, processes, and concepts usually only learned about through coursework and mass media.

imagesInsight on career paths of typical D.C. professionals, and how one might attempt to emulate them.

imagesInsight as to their own suitability for a career in politics and/or government.

imagesSubstantive knowledge through one or more substantive projects assigned by the employer.

Required Textbook & Readings

There will be one required textbook for this course, which referenced by the following bibliographic information:

Endicott, William T. An Insider’s Guide to Political Jobs in Washington.  Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

Note: You should order the textbook from an online dealer or some other alternative to the campus bookstores (it will not be ordered, and hence not in stock).

Required Readings From Textbook

imagesFor Congressional (House and Senate) Interns: Chapters 1, 2, 4, 7, 8

imagesFor Executive Branch Interns: Chapters 1, 2, 5, 6, 8

images For Interest Group/Think tank/ Lobbyist Interns: Chapters 1, 2, 4, 7, 8

Evaluation Method

Three weeks after the conclusion of their internship, students are to hand in three papers, each of which will be worth one-third of their course grade.  Paper 1 consists of your choice between two different provided topics, while Paper 2 and Paper 3 have strictly defined topics.

Also, during the course of the summer, Dr. New will be arranging events featuring policy experts, elected officials, and other political leaders.  Extra credit will be awarded to students who attend these gatherings.

Paper AssignmentsPaper115



The Washington Experience