Academic Internship Program

Academic Internship Program

Prepare to launch a career you'll love, no matter where you are.

Things aren’t quite “business as usual” right now. But the world still turns and you still need to launch a career once college ends. That’s why we’ve updated our Academic Internship Program to ensure that you can participate from anywhere, whether you join us in Washington, D.C. or remotely from your living room. You’ll be doing real work that fits you and your goals, connecting with professionals in your field and getting guidance and support from our staff.

Just because the future is uncertain doesn’t mean you have to put your career planning on hold.

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I have solidified my career goals and formed incredible connections. Thanks to this unique and irreplaceable experience, 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

Non-US Students

The Washington Center is a designated J-1 Visa sponsor by the U.S. State Department and sponsors a J-1 Visa for international students attending or recently graduated from a university in a foreign country. 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.

International students enrolled in U.S. universities with a valid F-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. Please contact your home institution for further information.

J-1 Visa Requirements

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.

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.

Program Components

Whether you join us in Washington, D.C. or from the comfort of your couch, we aim to deliver an immersive program that’s tailored to you and your goals. It’s made up of three main parts: the internship, evening course and career readiness programming. 


TWC partners with over 400 internship sites in D.C. and across the country, and we work with you one-on-one to land the internship that’s right for you. 

Whether you intern remotely or in-person, you’ll find that the work and outcomes of your internship will largely be the same. You’ll be working on projects related to your interests, with a supervisor who cares about your growth and success. However, a remote internship typically offers fewer hours and a more flexible schedule, whereas an in-person internship will usually require a more traditional 9-to-5 workday.

Note for Spring 2021:
If you’re planning to participate in the Spring 2021 program, you should expect your internship to be hosted on a remote basis, whether you’re living in Washington, D.C. or at home. While you won’t be working in an office, you’ll still be gaining the real-world skills that will set you apart in the job market. 

Evening Course

You’ll take an online academic course one night each week, and you’ll get to choose one that suits you from a wide range of options. You can pick a course that fits your major, lines up nicely with your internship or go totally out of the box and try something new.

Note for Spring 2021:
If you’re planning to participate in the Spring 2021 program, you can choose whether you’d like to take your course through TWC or your home institution. If you choose to take a course through your home institution, it must align with your TWC schedule and will ideally take place in the evenings. 

Career Readiness Programming

TWC’s online career readiness programming is a mix of professional development workshops, career exploration sessions, networking events and one-on-one advising designed to help you maximize your internship experience and come away with a plan for your next step. This programming will be held at different times throughout the week, so you can choose which sessions to attend based on your interests and your schedule. 

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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 could be offset by financial assistance 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.

Program and Housing Fees

Fees Fall 2020 Spring 2021 Summer 2021 Fall 2021
Application Fee $60/125* $60/125* $60/125* $60/125*
Program Fee $8,965 $9,275 $7,100 $9,275
Housing Fee $6,290 $6,475 $4,990 $6,475

*$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 aid package can be applied toward TWC costs. We also recommend inquiring about any additional funding opportunities that may be available to students participating in TWC.
  3. Review the scholarships available through TWC below.
  4. Apply to the program. You will automatically be considered for any scholarships that you're eligible for.

If you have questions or would like to find out more about how TWC will work for you, contact us at

Financial Assistance

If you need financial assistance to make your semester or summer in Washington, D.C. possible, we offer a number of scholarships supported by generous funding from our partners.

You may be eligible to receive funding available for campus leaders, students from diverse backgrounds, members of honors societies and programs, students with disabilities, and more. Current scholarships are listed below:

If you have questions or would like to find out more about how TWC will work for you, contact us at

Housing and Living

If you join TWC in the nation’s capital, you’re guaranteed a spot in our housing. You’ll have a fully furnished apartment to call home and a dedicated staff to support you as you adjust to life in D.C. 

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall, we’ve added safety precautions such as mandatory testing, temperature checks and single occupancy living for students who have joined us in D.C. We are also requiring masks in all common areas within our housing facility and limiting the number of people who can be in those spaces at any given time.

Want to learn more about TWC housing, the community and the neighborhood? Check out our Housing page below.

TWC Housing

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

Dates and Deadlines

Program Dates
  Check-In Internship Period Check-Out
Fall 2020 August 26 August 31 – December 4 December 5
Spring 2021 January 27 February 2 - May 7 May 8
Summer 2021 June 6 June 8 - August 5 August 7
Fall 2021 August 25 August 30 - December 2 December 4
Application Deadlines

Your school may have deadlines that are earlier than the ones listed below, so we encourage you to contact your campus liaison before starting an application. If you’re not sure who your campus liaison is, email

  Early Deadline* Regular Deadline
Spring 2021 October 7, 2020 November 4, 2020
Summer 2021 February 17, 2021** March 17, 2021
Fall 2021 April 7, 2021 May 5, 2021

* Applying by the Early Deadline gives you the chance to hear from TWC sooner and be considered for internship sites that have earlier internal timelines. 

** Some internship sites have timelines that precede TWC’s Early Deadline. These sites include most law enforcement opportunities, as well as some positions in the law/legal affairs and international relations fields, and at various think tanks, government agencies, embassies and museums. If you’re interested in opportunities like these for Summer 2021, we recommend submitting your application in January 2021.

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 or are interested in learning more about our programs, please submit a Request For Information below.

Request more Information

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. You can also view some sample resumes here.
  • 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. If you need more help, here are some sample issues essays for you to refer to.
  • Official Transcript: Upload your official transcript directly into your application or request that it be sent to TWC.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Your letter must be from a faculty member or professional supervisor. If you have a GPA below 2.75, you’ll need to submit two letters of recommendation. Your recommender 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


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.


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.