Campaign 2020: National Conventions Seminars

Campaign 2020: National Conventions Seminars

Experience national politics up close at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. 

2020 National Political Conventions Seminars Update: The Washington Center has decided to cancel the National Conventions Academic Seminars scheduled to run in Charlotte, NC and Milwaukee, WI in July and August 2020. 

Shifting plans surrounding the national conventions and the continued need to practice social distancing led us to determine that we would not be able to provide the up-close experience that makes our convention seminars great. 

Students who had applied for one of the National Conventions Academic Seminars are invited to consider attending our upcoming Inauguration 2021 Academic Seminar, which will be held in Washington, D.C. this coming January. To learn more about this program, visit our Inauguration 2021 Academic Seminar page or submit this form by Wednesday, April 22. to schedule a conversation with our staff.

If you want to see how the magic happens for one of the grandest traditions of our country's election process, we'll take you behind the scenes of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. You'll interact with political insiders, attend exclusive events and engage in on-site fieldwork with media outlets, advocacy groups, host committees, state delegations and other organizations connected to the convention. Consider joining us in 2024!


To be eligible for this seminar, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program. Recent graduates may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Be in good standing at your college or university.
  • Maintain a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Students with lower GPAs may be considered.
  • Get approval from your campus liaison or a faculty sponsor.* 
  • Commit to fully participate in the program and complete all assignments.

*If you need help identifying your campus liaison or faculty sponsor, email

Seminar Components

During this two-week seminar, you'll listen to expert speakers, take part in briefings and panel discussions. You'll meet regularly with experienced faculty and participate in fieldwork assignments that actually form part of the national convention. The seminar will be led by a faculty director, who will will launch the program with an introduction to the current state of the presidential campaign. You'll be trained on how to navigate the logistics of the convention site and host city, including important safety and security procedures.

Speakers, Briefings & Panel Discussions

You'll encounter diverse viewpoints as you hear from notable public officials, political party leaders, members of the media, campaign professionals, policy experts, business insiders, law enforcement officers, and others. These sessions are interactive and will give you a chance to engage directly with the speakers and ask questions.

Small Group Meetings

You'll meet regularly with experienced faculty in small groups to discuss presentations, convention proceedings, assigned readings and related topics. This guided collaborative learning—sharing opinions and personal observations—will deepen the experience and broaden your perspective.


Through fieldwork assignments you'll actually contribute to the convention. Placements range widely from media and advocacy groups (past students have assisted CNN, Fox News, and The Daily Show) to helping host committees, state delegations, and other groups participating in the convention. In their fieldwork, students have conducted interviews, prepared for events, greeted VIPs, and supported the convention from behind the scenes.

Convention Events & Activities

You'll attend a variety of sessions organized by the party, host committees and other interest groups, letting you rub elbows with the movers and shakers that make the conventions happen. These typically include workshops, issue forums, press conferences, committee hearings, welcome rallies and youth-focused programs. Detailed information, including past schedules, can be provided upon request.

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Seminar Cost

The cost of the seminar includes complimentary housing.

National Conventions Seminar (Republican or Democratic)

Many of our participants come as part of a group with their home institutions and billing arrangements vary from school to school. If you are participating in a group, you will need to confirm your actual cost of attendance with your campus liaison or faculty sponsor. If you need help identifying your campus liaison or faculty sponsor, email

Package Deal: The National Conventions Seminars are one of a 3-part series of Seminars we offer around Campaign 2020. If you are interested in participating in two programs from this series, you can maximize your investment with our package deal. By purchasing a seat as part of our package you will be able to attend one of our Convention 2020 seminars at the Democratic or the Republican National Conventions and Inauguration 2021 at a discount over purchasing individually.

National Conventions Seminar (Republican or Democratic) + Inauguration 2021 Seminar
Regular Price: $6,690
Package Deal Price: $6,440

Housing and Living

The Republican National Convention will be held in Charlotte, NC and the Democratic National Convention will be held in Milwaukee, WI. Housing for these programs is typically provided through a nearby university. Details will be announced closer to the program date.

Academic Credit

This seminar is designed to qualify for academic credit at many colleges and universities. However, credits are determined and awarded by each university. TWC does not grant credit. You are responsible for arranging any academic credit through your college or university. You should discuss arrangements with your institution, prior to starting the seminar.

Dates and Deadlines

Application Deadlines
  • Application Deadline: Friday, April 3, 2020
Program Dates
  • Democratic National Convention: July 5–17, 2020
  • Republican National Convention: August 16–28, 2020

How to Apply

Start and submit the online application by clicking the button below. You are required to submit a $500 deposit along with your application. This deposit is applied towards the seminar fee and can only be refunded if you are not accepted into the program.


If you're not quite ready to apply, fill out our request for information below.

Request for Information


Refund and Cancellation Policy

If your plans change and you wish to withdraw your application, you must send an email to notifying The Washington Center of your decision. TWC will confirm your withdrawal via email once it has been processed. Please review the following policies: 

If you are paying for your participation in the seminar, and:

  • you have paid your seminar fee and withdraw 30 (or more) calendar days before the start of the seminar, you will receive a full refund, minus the $500 nonrefundable deposit. Your $500 deposit may be applied to another TWC program within the next two years. 
  • you withdraw fewer than 30 days before the start of the seminar, you are responsible for the entire seminar fee. You may appeal this charge, if your decision to withdraw is the result of a documented personal or family emergency. Appeals are only granted in unique circumstances. 

 If your school is paying for your participation in the seminar:

  •  you should immediately notify your faculty leader (along with TWC) of your intent to withdraw. 
  •  your faculty leader will help you determine whether you are financially responsible for the cost of the seminar. 

Seminar Faculty

Faculty members have the opportunity to lead their students through a transformational and once-in-a-lifetime learning experience by applying to be a faculty leader. Throughout the academic seminar, faculty leaders work with a group of 6 to 15 students as they participate in program activities. During the academic seminar, faculty leaders will:

  1. Attend all program sessions
  2. Meet with students for group discussion and instruction
  3. Accompany the students on site visits.
  4. Read students’ written work and evaluate their academic and professional performance
  5. Recommend a grade for each student at the end of the program

Faculty members who have 6 or more students attending the academic seminar are guaranteed a position as a faculty leader. Learn more about becoming a Faculty Leader here. If you would like to apply for a Faculty Leader position, email