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An Educational Experience:
Courses and Credit

Though the Washington Honors Semester strongly emphasizes hands-on experience through full-time internships, students will also continue the academic learning they began in their courses at Hope College.

Public Policy Group Interviews



A
key aspect of the semester is the group public policy interviews. These involve students spending one day a week as a group meeting and interacting with a broad range of policy actors in Washington D.C. – U.S. senators and congressmen, Hill staffers, lobbyists and interest group advocates, journalists, and many more.

These meetings allow unparalleled access to high level policy makers in government, as well as those who work to influence or affect government policy from the outside. Students typically will take part in approximately 45 such interviews over the course of the semester.

Group Seminar Presentations

One evening a week, the group will will meet together to discuss issues of importance in the context of their Washington experiences. Typically, each student will make a presentation to the rest of the group and lead a seminar discussion on an area of their interest and choice. These current issues take on added significance when students connect them to their internship and interview experiences.

Capstone and Senior Seminar Course Offerings

Another benefit of the Washington Honors Semester is the opportunity for students to fulfill their political science capstone and/or their IDS senior seminar requirements while in D.C.

Most political science majors - juniors and seniors alike - will choose to work on their capstone research paper while in D.C. and complete the portfolio process upon returning to Hope.

Students of all majors who are seniors may also choose to complete their IDS senior seminar requirement, which is usually offered as a course entitled Values in Washington and includes the completion of a life view paper.

Credit Information

Student earn a full 16 credits in the program, which can be applied to satisfy a variety of graduation requirements, both in their major area of study and in the general education curriculum. Participants are encouraged to work closely with the program director and the student’s departmental chair to determine how those credits will be allotted.

 

In their own words...

"The semester regularly provided challenging opportunities for intellectual discussion and writing as well as a way to critically analyze the various aspects of the places we spent our full time internships. I still can't believe how many interesting places we went to and people we got to meet during the public policy interview weeks."