Washington Semester in Global Engagement

Washington Semester in Global Engagement 2018-02-01T20:25:51+00:00

Fall 2018 and Spring 2019

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Explore a semester in Washington DC
Experience the nation’s capital while furthering your studies
Engage with the global and national policy making world

Washington, D.C. is at the center of global affairs. It is home to government agencies, many of the world’s leading think-tanks, numerous international organizations and a range of non-governmental organizations. Here, the most significant policy decisions are debated and made, holding both domestic and international importance.

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a unique 15 credit program open to all Virginia Tech majors. The Washington Semester consists of a combination of courses on global affairs, internships opportunities, workshops, seminars and networking opportunities with DC professionals and policy makers. It offers students the opportunity to experience policy-making firsthand, and explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in Washington D.C area.

Stay on track for graduation whilst obtaining skills which will help your career opportunities in virtually any sphere.

– Open for sophomores (by year not credit), Juniors and Seniors in all majors

– Minimum 3.00 GPA.

– Housing is available in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is a competitive program.  Numbers are limited to 12 participants. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Preference will be given to early applications.  Apply early to avoid disappointment.

Application Deadlines:
Fall 2018: The final deadline to apply is Monday April 2, 2018.

Applications for Spring 2019 will be accepted: February 1- May 5, 2018 and August 20 – October 8, 2018.

Please click here for: Washington Semester in Global Engagement Application

Further inquires contact: Director, Washington Semester in Global Engagement: email washsemester@vt.edu

Top Benefits of this Program

Students who participated in the Washington Semester in Global Engagement share what they gained, as well as tips on how to get the most from participating.

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Students take two taught courses (6 credits) and 9 credit hours of an internship or externship program.  Students interested in applying to the Washington Semester in Global Engagement should enroll in the following courses for Fall 2018:

IS/PSCI 3624: Foreign Policy and Diplomacy

IS/PSCI 4984: Diplomacy Lab

IS/PSCI 4754: Internship (*3)  {students enrolled in Public Affairs and Urban Affairs major should  register for SPIA 4964}

Note: Political Science and International Studies Majors: Only 6 Internship credit hours can be applied towards your major – and additional 3 credit can count towards your overall number credits for graduation. It is important that you consult with adviser about the number of internship credit hours before registering.

Internship Program (6-9 credits)

The Internship program offers students the chance to engage in the policy making world and gain valuable work experience. It comprises working 30-40 hours/week at a government agency/research institute/think-tank/NGO in the Washington D.C. area. (The minimum requirement for academic credit is at least 20 hours per week).

Upon selection into the Washington Semester Program, each participant will work with the Washington Semester Internship coordinators to determine the best course(s) of action to obtain an internship. Students will receive an “internship Guide” which will offer a variety of internship options, and in some cases, will refer students to potential internship sites, as well as advise on how to apply to internships in the Washington D.C. area.   While the internship coordinators help students determine internship opportunities, the Washington Semester does not guarantee placement in an internship. Students determine the internship opportunity they would like based on their personal, political, academic, or career interests and take the necessary steps to apply to the various institutes offering internship opportunities for Fall 2017.

In order to participate in the Washington Semester Program, the internship must meet specific guidelines outlined by the program and be approved by the Washington Semester Director, so as to insure the student has a substantive experience.

Externship Program (6-9 credits)

As an alternative to the internship program, students can sign up for the externship program (*students should register for IS/PSCI 4754 – students who fail to secure an internship will be automatically enrolled in the externship program)

The externship program is a guided 12 week program whereby students will experience and learn firsthand about the policy making world in Washington D.C.  Students will inter alia:  attend Congressional hearings on various international topics, attend lectures at the State Department, meet with diplomats and security officials, participate in conferences and lectures at leading think-tanks, meet with representative of international NGOs, and learn to write policy briefs/

Full details of the Fall 2017 externship program will be posted on the website at the start of the Fall semester.


The Gallery in Old Town Alexandria is Virginia Tech’s housing option for students participating in the Washington semester program. The Gallery is located one half block from the Prince Street VT campus where classes are held, and a 10-minute walk from the King Street Metro Station. The majority of units (apartments) consist of a living/dining room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and bath, and are expected to hold two students. The units are furnished with beds, dresser, sofa, coffee table, end tables, and a dining room table & chairs.

On acceptance to the program, students will receive information on how to apply for housing in the Gallery.  Students are free to make their own housing arrangements.


Acceptance to the Washington Semester in Global Engagement is based on academic performance, potential for successful participation, and motivation.

Along with the application form, you need to provide: i) an up-to-date resume; ii) a copy of your current transcript; iii) a statement of interest; and iv) the names and contact details of two academic referees.

Statement of Interest: On a separate sheet, type a statement of approximately 500 max words. How does the Washington Semester on Global Engagement relate to your present academic program and professional goals? Also, describe the personal benefits you expect to receive from the program.

Academic Referees (include references contact information on the application form)
All applicants are required to have faculty members with whom they have taken a course serve as a reference.  Please select someone who is familiar with your academic work and plan of study.  You will need to identify your referees the application form and provide their email address. We will contact them to complete a short form electronically. You do not need to request any forms or letters from them, but you must ask them if they are willing to serve as a reference for you before you include their contact information in your application.

The Washington Semester in Global Engagement is highly competitive.  The program is limited to 12 students. Applications wll be processed on a rolling basis i.e. as soon as they received.  Early applications will receive preference.  Apply early so as to avoid any disappointment.

Application Deadlines:

Fall 2018: The final deadline to apply is: Monday, April 2, 2018.
Applications for Spring 2019 will be accepted: Fecruary 1- May 5, 2018 and August 20 – October 8, 2018.

Please return the completed application and attachments to: Chris Price, International Studies Office, Room 119 or the Political Science Office, Room 531, Major Williams Hall (0130), 220 Stanger St., Blacksburg, VA 24061. Students in the Urban Affairs Program should return their application forms to: Chris LaPlante, 205 Architecture Annex 140 Otey St (0113)

For further inquiries email: washsemester@vt.edu

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