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Events, alumni networking, courses, and internships for Penn students on campus and in D.C.

Semester Program

The Penn in Washington Semester in DC Program is a fantastic opportunity for students with an interest in public policy to live, learn, and intern in the nation’s center of politics while everyone else is on campus. During the Semester Program, a small group of students live together in the heart of Washington, DC. They intern full-time for some of DC's most prestigious institutions, take three classes (for four Penn credits), engage in policy research, and meet with Penn alumni working in Washington.

Why should you spend a Semester in DC?

  • You're very likely to find a prestigious internship. Far fewer students look for DC internships during the academic year than during the summer, so your odds of getting your top choice are substantially greater. Throughout the application process, you will receive help from Penn in Washington's Program Director and our vast alumni network in D.C. 
  • You'll take courses taught by the ultimate DC insiders. Our professors are policy experts who are well known in Washington and beyond. The courses are designed to accommodate full-time internship schedules. All courses are Penn courses, which means that you won't need to navigate the credit-transfer process, and most majors accept our courses.
  • An intensive orientation to Washington at the beginning of the semester provides multiple opportunities to meet political leaders and policymakers. Orientation typically includes meetings with senior alumni at top think tanks, law firms and more as well as tours of the Supreme Court, Congress, State Department and the White House.
  • A Semester in DC is affordable. Penn's financial aid grant applies to PIW Semester tuition, and housing costs in Washington are less than housing costs at Penn. A few campus-specific fees are also waived for students spending a semester off-campus. In addition, D.C. employers are increasingly paying their interns, typically $14 an hour. Finally, highly aided students should make sure their financial aid advisor is aware of your PIW participation so that they can direct you to additional resources.
  • A small cohort provides a close-knit network of Penn students and allows for a highly personalized program.