Academics

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.

Public Policy Group Interviews  

Public policy group interviews involve students spending one day a week as a group to meet and interact with a broad range of policy actors in Washington, D.C., including:

  • U.S. senators and congressmen
  • Hill staffers
  • Lobbyists and interest group advocates
  • Journalists

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 take part in about 45 interviews over the course of the semester.

Capstone and Senior Seminar Course Offerings

Students have the opportunity 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 after returning to Hope.

Seniors of any major may also choose to complete their IDS senior seminar requirement, which is usually offered as the Values in Washington course and includes the completion of a life view paper.

Credit Information

Students can earn up to 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 chair  of the department in which they are majoring to determine how those credits will be allotted.

Credits students have earned:
  • POL 496 – Washington Semester Experiential/Internship (up to 8 credits)
  • IDS – Senior Seminar (4 credits)
  • POL 494 – Political Science Capstone (fulfills Political Science Major requirement) (4 credits)
Courses in which students have earned credit:
  • ECON 390 – Internships in Vocation
  • Environmental studies
  • English elective
  • Management elective
  • History elective
  • General Education art requirement ("ways of knowing")

Electives outside of political science are completed with approval from respective departments and through the completion of coursework assigned by professors from these departments. This may be in partnership with oversight from the D.C. program director. A formal learning plan with academic requirements, course number and assessment needs should be created with the credit-granting department and given to the D.C. faculty director to ensure the valid and full completion of these academic credit hours.

Washington Honors Semester students with Senator Carl Levin