Whitman students who wish to learn about the U.S. government and national policy or engage in community organizing in the heart of the nation's capital may apply to attend American University's Washington Semester Program. Students obtain hands-on experience by participating in an internship as well as enrolling in a seminar course, which is often taught on location taking them behind the scenes in D.C. Washington Semester students also will choose to conduct an in-depth research project or enroll in an elective at American University.

“I took the Sustainable Development track with Professor Heather Heckel, and she was an absolutely phenomenal professor. The class doesn’t involve much outside work, and you learn a lot from site visits and speakers. She’s also a great lecturer, and knows a lot about so many fields. Overall, I loved how different the class format was from a Whitman class, and Heather made the entire experience worth it just with her professional development work with us, and from her expertise particularly in the environmental field.” - Annie W. ‘17

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Helen Kim (Sociology Department)

Fields of study:

American Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Economics and Business, International Law and Organizations, Journalism and New Media, Justice and Law, and Sustainable Development


Varies by program track


15-16 credits per semester - Required Courses:
Academic Seminar (8 credits)
Internship (4 credits)
Research or Elective Course at AU (3 or 4 credits)


All students are required to participate in an internship as part of their academic program and will receive 4 credits for successful completion. Internships are available in a wide range of fields (economics, foreign policy, journalism, law, etc.) at government agencies, think tanks, non profits and media organizations.

Credit Conversion:

1 AU credit = 1 Whitman credit


Students in the Washington Semester Program live in apartments at American University's leased apartment building, Berkshire Apartments. The Berkshire apartments are a block away from the main campus and a mile from the Tenleytown-AU Metro Stop on the Red Line. The University Shuttle provides transportation between main campus and the Metro.


Students purchase a partial or full meal plan to eat at the many cafeterias/eateries on campus and prepare meals for themselves.

Semesters Offered:

Fall or Spring Semester (single semester only)


August-December, January-May


AU Washington Semester Scholarships

Program Link:

AU Washington Semester Program