• Open to all majors
  • Get a head start on your career
  • Pursue a full semester-long political internship plus upper-level coursework
  • Live in JMU-arranged housing in one of D.C.'s finest neighborhoods

The Washington Semester program enables students to explore the wealth of political and cultural opportunities available in the Washington, DC area. The program includes semester-length internships, political science courses, panel discussions by people in various professions, cultural activities, and networking opportunities with JMU alumni working in the DC area.


Participants maintain full-time student status by combining a 6-credit internship course (either POSC 495W, POSC 493W, or PPA 496W) with two 3-credit courses in political science: The Washington Experience (POSC 301W) and Topics in American Politics (POSC 351W). Courses are taught on-site by JMU instructors. Click on appropriate link to get advising help regarding how the program's courses contribute to departmental major and minor programs.

Students not majoring in political science, international affairs, or public administration should consult with their departments about how the internship and coursework fit their academic plans; some departments may be willing to arrange course substitutions.

NOTE: All participants must remain full-time students for the duration of the program.


  • JMU-arranged housing is located near the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.
  • Neighborhood features restaurants, museums and shops, and Capital One Arena (formerly known as the Verizon Center). The National Mall is a 20-minute walk away.
  • Students live in 4-person, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartments with shared kitchen and living area.
  • Apartments are fully furnished and equipped, including washer/dryer, kitchen supplies, sheets and towels.
  • Students may arrange their own housing.

Program Costs

  • JMU Tuition & Fees for in-state and out-of-state students
  • Housing: The housing fee is $5,300, including all utilities and wireless internet.
  • Program fee: $225
  • Metro fee: $115 (covers unlimited subway and bus transportation for the entire semester)
  • Food and entertainment costs not included
  • The Washington Semester awards a need-based scholarship to one student per term to cover the difference between the cost of participating in the program and a normal semester on campus.  To be eligible, students must complete a Federal Student Aid application https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa with JMU's Office of Financial Aid


  • Students secure their own internships
  • Students will pursue internships in politics, policy, the non-profit sector, political media, and related fields.
  • Past internships include House and Senate offices, interest groups, policy think-tanks, party committees, and news organizations such as CNN and MSNBC. See a list of recent internships conducted in this program.
  • Students work at their internships full-time Monday through Thursday; Friday mornings are reserved for the Washington Experience course (POSC 301W), which explores political and cultural opportunities in the DC area

Application Deadlines for FALL 2023

Early Decision: November 15, 2022

Regular Admission: February 15, 2023

NOTE: Sometimes the program fills up via the Early Decision application process. This means that applications reviewed for the Feb. 15 application deadline are evaluated on a space-available basis. Accordingly, applicants are advised to apply in November to maximize their chances of gaining admission to the Washington Semester program.

Application Link: https://jmu.questionpro.com/t/AR37HZulBQ

For more information, contact:

Dr. David Jones, Program Director (jones3da@jmu.edu)

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