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Gain Experience

The Washington Semester

The University of Rochester, in cooperation with The Washington Center (TWC), offers semester-long programs in Washington, D.C., that combine a credit-bearing internship with a course taught by faculty from area universities. Undergraduate students gain an immersive experience in professional fields, unique academic opportunities, and the chance to explore life and work in the nation’s capital.


Internships give students the chance to work almost full-time, allowing them to feel like a member of the staff at their office. The Washington Center maintains ties with hundreds of organizations, which provide high-quality internships in the D.C. area, and helps students be considered for opportunities that best fit their interests and talents.

You’ll be assigned an internship advisor with whom you’ll stay in close touch throughout the internship matching process. Most students are most actively engaged in this process during the three months prior to check-in. You will likely have a phone interview with any potential interested supervisor and will have the chance to accept or decline an offer after it is extended. TWC internship advisors provide guidance regarding specific options to help students make the final decision.

Upon approval from the Rochester faculty supervisor, students are eligible to earn 12 academic credits for the internship experience.

Academic Course

An evening academic course is an integral part of the Washington Semester learning experience. Students choose one from approximately 30 courses typically offered each semester or summer term. All courses meet for three hours one night a week but are otherwise like the courses taught at Rochester.

During the summer term students will also be required to register for CAS 396b, a one-credit internship course offered by the Greene Center.

The courses are led by highly qualified faculty who are dedicated teachers. They are grounded in traditional disciplines yet taught within the context of the many resources offered in Washington, D.C.

LEAD Colloquium

By taking part in the Leadership, Engagement, Achievement and Development (LEAD) Colloquium every Friday, students hear from and engage with professionals in a variety of settings. Students also get involved in the D.C. community and make a real difference.


While in Washington, D.C., you will create a portfolio of work documenting activities and accomplishments for the University and prospective employers. The portfolio will also give you a chance to reflect on your strengths and plan strategically for your future path of leadership.

Hear from current and former students at TWC.


Students must meet the following requirements to participate in the Washington Semester:

  • A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • At least sophomore standing
  • Not your final semester at the University
  • Making satisfactory progress toward completing a degree
  • No missing or incomplete grades from previous semesters

Students on academic probation, disciplinary probation, or who have disciplinary action pending against them are ineligible. Poor academic performance in the semester prior to Washington Semester may jeopardize student eligibility.

How to Apply

Students interested in applying to Washington Semester are advised to take the following steps:

  1. Attend a Washington Semester Information Session or schedule a meeting with campus liaison Cathy Caiazza.
  2. Visit the TWC internships page to learn more about TWC’s internship program.
  3. Begin TWC online application.
  4. Meet with your faculty sponsor to discuss plans, review your application, and decide on an academic course.
  5. Submit application by the TWC due date.
  6. Once application is submitted, the campus liaison formally approves or denies student application with TWC based on the student’s eligibility.

Faculty Sponsors

In order to earn academic credit for Washington Semester, each student works closely with a Rochester faculty member who serves as the faculty sponsor. This faculty member consults with the student on their area of interest for Washington Semester and their academic course selection, reviews the student’s work, and awards the student’s final grades.

Faculty sponsors must serve students in the academic division appropriate for the type of internship being completed: natural sciences and engineering, social science, or humanities.

Students interested in applying Washington Semester credits toward their major must contact the appropriate faculty member in the department of their major. Students looking to use Washington Semester credits as general credit hours need to contact the Greene Center.

Greene Center

Cathy Caiazza


Ezra Tawil
Department of English
(585) 275-5050 

Richard Dees
Public Health 
(585) 275-8110

Natural Sciences and Engineering

Karen Berger
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences 
(585) 275-7611  

Social Sciences

Lynda Powell
Department of Political Science 
(585) 275-3144