The Program

Students participating in the Washington, D.C. Public Policy program will have the opportunity, through both coursework and an internship placement, to gain insight into how policy is made in the nation's capital. The courses taught in the program are policy-related and the internships into which students will be placed involve almost daily contact and discussion with governmental decision-makers or others involved in making or influencing government policy. In this way participants in the program will experience first-hand the intense activity inherent in Washington politics.

Courses for Spring 2015

Government Economic Policy (1 credit)
Since the end of World War II, federal government policy has been considered a major factor in determining the fate of the national economy. The tools of fiscal and monetary policy have been used to influence the direction of most of the major macroeconomic variables: the GDP growth rate, the inflation rate, the unemployment rate, the interest rate, tax rates, the budget deficit, and the trade deficit. Over the past fifty years, many of the theoretical models have changed and with the integration of the American economy into the world economic system, perhaps the influence of the federal government has declined. If that is the case, how much control does the government have over the economy and does that matter? In addition, after the onset of the “Great Recession” in 2008, the fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government have become more interventionist than ever before. This course will analyze and discuss the current monetary (role and actions of the FED) and fiscal policies of the administration and Congress (government spending, taxes, the deficit and the debt) to control and alter the economy. Students will be asked to contribute insights that they have gained from their internship experiences. The course will be taught at such a level that any student who has taken Economics 160 (Principles of Economics) will not have any difficulty. However, if Economics majors want to count this course as an upper-level macroeconomics course to fulfill their requirement this can be arranged in advance. Prerequisite: Economics 160 (Principles of Economics).

The President, Congress, and Public Policy (1 credit)
This course will examine the intersection between the Executive Branch and Congress (and the Supreme Court) in the domestic and foreign policy processes. In doing so, we will study contemporary politics and policymaking, as we assess the Obama administration’s interaction with Congress on environmental policy, health care, HIV/AIDS, education, immigration, homeland security, economic policymaking and other relevant policy issues. Attention will be devoted to the Right’s response as well as the response of the progressive Left to how President Obama and Congress have intersected with the most important domestic and foreign policy issues on the policy agenda today.

Urban Seminar on Washington DC (1 credit)
This course will examine basic theories of urbanization and apply them to metropolitan Washington DC as a case study. We will examine the political, sociological, and economic aspects of the urban area including the issues of education, crime, poverty, housing, urban finance, planning, and the special characteristics of Washington as our nation’s capital. We will take an excursion each Monday morning to a site in Washington and hear from experts on one of the topics listed above.

Internship (1 credit)
The internship is a major focus of the Washington program and each student will have a full-time internship placement in a challenging and responsible position. To facilitate this process, students must compile a portfolio that will consist of a transcript, a resume, a letter of recommendation, a writing sample (if requested), and a letter explaining his/her interest in a specific internship. Each student will apply and submit the portfolio to several organizations in areas of his/her choice, in consultation with the faculty director. Note that the selection process is competitive and sponsor organizations make the final decision on whether or not to accept an applicant. The Faculty Director and Center for Career Services will help students to identify possible internship sites and many students will be placed in this way. However, students may also secure their own placements, such as with a member of Congress from their state or district. The range of past internship placements is wide and students will have numerous opportunities to consider.

Academic Focus

The Washington program will be of particular interest to students in economics and political science and, more broadly, to those interested in a variety of public policy issues.


This program is open to juniors and seniors (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases) in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. All students must successfully complete (with a grade of C- or better) ECON 160 (Principles of Economics) prior to participating in the program; they must also complete either SOC 100 (Intro to Sociology) or POL 110 (Introduction to American Politics). Due to the challenging nature of off-campus study, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


Students will reside in town houses or apartments exclusively for student interns in Washington in close proximity to the Metro and to local shopping. Accommodations are fully furnished with kitchen and laundry facilities, wireless internet and all utilities (except phone). Students are typically in shared bedrooms with other HWS students. All properties are located on Capitol Hill and are supervised by professional staff.


Occasional day trips in and around Washington will be included as part of the program.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and room fees and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-course semester, housing, program-related excursions and a subsidy to defray the costs of a Metro pass. Note that no HWS board fee is charged. Students should plan to bring their board fee to cover meal expenses. While these expenses will vary according to individual tastes, we estimate that about $2,000 should be sufficient for students who typically prepare their own meals. Additional expenses not covered include travel to/from Washington, books and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, local ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate books at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,000, above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.


  • This program is offered spring semesters in odd years.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office at a selected date in March.
  • For specific date contact the CGE.


NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.