About the Washington Semester Program
The South Carolina Washington Semester Program (WSP) gives select students in the Honors Program the opportunity to spend a semester working and taking classes in Washington D.C. Students will see how the political process works and sharpen their analytical skills that will help them prepare for a professional career in government, law, medicine, business, or the nonprofit sector.
Students meet interesting and influential people, establish contacts for personal and professional networking, respond to constituent needs from their home district, and research one of several hot topics being considered by Congress. You will attend important events, like a Rose Garden reception for a visiting head of state or a joint session of Congress, hear oral arguments at the Supreme Court, and participate in dynamic leadership seminars that will give you firsthand knowledge of how the federal government operates. Recent seminars have featured cabinet secretaries, key White House officials, a Supreme Court justice, and other national leaders.
“The program allows students to interact with some of the most interesting and influential people in the country. There can be no substitute for exposure to individuals of this caliber.”
Jeremy Putman History Major, Class of ’99
To be eligible for the WSP, you must be in an Honors Program in a South Carolina institution of higher education and be a degree-seeking student at the time of the fellowship. You must demonstrate an awareness of how government works and of major issues facing our nation.
The program seeks applicants from across South Carolina. Students majoring in engineering, journalism, business, biology, English, French, and history, as well as political science and international relations, have benefited from the program.
Students must complete the WSP online application for consideration. The application includes supplemental materials (personal statement, resume, transcript, and two letters of recommendation) and an interview. Deadlines are in October for the following Spring semester and then in February for the following Fall semester.
Internship and Coursework
All students enroll in three courses for a total of 15 credits. Each course is designed for Washington Semester Program Fellows. The program values experiential, hands-on learning.
- Honors Fellowship (9 credits). Fellows work full-time in a congressional, executive, judicial, or private sector office. Students are expected to participate activities designed to help them experience DC. Activities may include a Nationals baseball game, a live taping of a CNN program, performing arts events, museum visits, and meetings with important political and media leaders. Fellows must reflect on these experiences through a series of seminars and blog entries.
- Experiencing Theatre in Washington, DC (3 credits). Washington, DC is second only to New York as a theatre market in the United States. For this course, students attend professional theatre productions in DC and meet working theatre professionals to learn what happens “behind the scenes.” Students respond to the productions with short reviews and seminar discussions.
- Contemporary Washington Issues- (3 credits). Students attend seminars designed to deepen their knowledge of politics and current events.
Click here for more information on the South Carolina Washington Semester Internship Program.