Davidson in Washington (DIW) offers you the opportunity to gain real-world government internship experience within the nation's capital, while you simultaneously obtain course credit for a political seminar taught by a Davidson political science professor.

Tim Schietroma

Davidson in Washington has fundamentally altered my career trajectory. The opportunities to connect with professionals and alumni, hear from scholars鈥攁nd, most importantly鈥攇ain work experience in the field which I was passionate about have informed the types of career opportunities I鈥檇 like to pursue in the future. In essence, Davidson in Washington helped me understand what I love to do.

Tim Schietroma '25

About the Program

An eight-week program with a long-standing and notable history, the program has two full-course credit components: a political science seminar and a government internship. It is offered every summer. We expect the Summer 2024 program to be in-person in Washington DC. For more information, download the program handout (PDF).

The Seminars

"Bridging Divides in American Politics" (Bullock)

While partisanship and polarization are an enduring feature in American politics, concern about the levels of animosity and political sectarianism has risen dramatically in recent years. In this seminar, we will explore different efforts to understand, explore, and bridge the political, social, and economic divides that some believe threaten the future of democracy in the United States. These efforts include bridge-building initiatives led by elected officials in Congress, policymakers in federal agencies, lobbyists for different interest groups, policy analysts at think tanks, and even curators at the Smithsonian.

The course will apply political science concepts to examining the opportunities and challenges facing these efforts. Are these efforts worthwhile? What is working, what isn鈥檛, and how can they be improved? We will address these questions by investigating specific cases, including bipartisan initiatives such as the Problem Solvers Caucus in the US House of Representatives and organizations such as No Labels, Unite America, Braver Angels, and the Forward Party. The course will include guest speakers with expertise and experience related to these efforts.

This seminar will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for approximately 2 hours. This course counts as one of the 10 required courses for the Political Science major, but does not satisfy any of the four sub-field requirements. 

鈥淧olicymaking and the Administrative State鈥 (Bersch)

In this seminar, we will explore policymaking within the executive branch. Given that federal agencies now account for 90 percent of U.S. law through their rulemaking, understanding the politics of bureaucratic policymaking is crucial to understanding democracy. Indeed, questions from across the political spectrum about decision-makers within the executive branch have gained prominence in an era characterized by concerns about the imperial presidency and the federal bureaucracy sometimes referred to as the 鈥榙eep state.鈥 

Throughout the course, students will examine the causes and consequences of the rise in executive policymaking, its implications for democracy, and its impact on various policy areas such as health, immigration, and the environment. They will also explore the role of the President, Congress, and other actors in the administrative state. The course employs a case study method and will feature guest speakers with expertise in the policymaking process.

This seminar will meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for approximately 2 hours. This course counts as one of the 10 required courses for the Political Science major, but does not satisfy any of the four sub-field requirements. 

The Internship

With the help of the Betty and B. Frank Matthews II 鈥49 Center for Career Development (Matthews Center), each student is responsible for arranging his or her full-time internship with a government office, political party, research institute, trade or industry association, public interest non-profit organization, school or school district, or similar organization. We are also open to credit being earned through remote internships, including with organizations outside the Washington area. At the end of the internship, each student will write an 8-10 page analytical paper about the internship experience and the role of the organization in the political process. Participants receive a pass-fail grade for this component of the program. This course can count as one of the 10 required courses for the Political Science requirements but does not satisfy any of the four sub-field requirements. 

List of Recent DIW Internships

Eligibility

Rising sophomores, juniors and seniors, may apply for the program (with preference to upperclassmen). Eligibility is NOT limited to political science majors; students who have yet to declare a major and those majoring in another discipline are encouraged to apply. The only thing in common among participants, in fact, is an abiding interest in policy.

Application

The application portal for Summer 2024 will be available on  by October 1.