Make our nation’s capital your classroom
Rider’s University’s Washington Semester Program, administered by American University, will provide you with a unique experiential learning opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience in politics, government, law, policy and more. Over the course of a semester, you will study at American University in Washington, D.C., and have the ability to participate in competitive professional internships.
The Washington Semester Program, offered during the fall and spring semesters, opens up countless possibilities for you to obtain employment or attend graduate or professional school after graduation.
Why spend a semester in Washington, D.C.?
- Gain a powerful edge by participating in a competitive internship that matches your professional goals.
- Engage with leaders, policymakers and other field professionals through internships, guest speakers, events and possible travel opportunities.
- Develop your professional network by connecting with like-minded students, faculty and guest speakers during academic seminars.
- Navigate studying, living and working in Washington, D.C. to get a glimpse of life post graduation.
The Washington Semester Program offers 10 program concentrations covering various areas of interest including:
- American politics
- Foreign policy
- Islam and world affairs (travel component)
- Transforming communities and public policy
- Justice and law
- Journalism and new media
- International environment and development (travel component)
- International law and organizations (travel component)
- Global economics and business (D.C. only or travel component)
- Peace and conflict resolution (travel component)
Note: Some concentrations have a travel component which is an additional cost to students.
The seminar (8 credits) is connected to the internship component of the curriculum. The seminar is taught by an American University professor, is capped at 25 students per section, and is delivered based on a blend of intellectual and real-world discussions with professionals working in the field of study.
Requirements to complete the seminar typically consist of a midterm and final exam as well as the completion of a paper/project based on the internship.
The Washington, D.C. internship (4 credits) provides students with professional experience working in organizations relevant to their selected program. Students are not placed in internships but rather given access and support for finding opportunities in D.C. This includes giving students access to an online database of internship opportunities six weeks prior to the start of the semester, individual contact information for each organization in the database, and assistance with interviewing and resume/cover letter writing. The internship would not be paid and it is the responsibility of students to secure an internship in an organization. Typically students would spend 16 hours a week in their internships. AU guarantees placement for all students in an internship as part of Washington Semester Program.
The elective and/or research course (3 or 4 courses) provides Rider University students with the option to take an American University course, or do in-depth research project while in Washington, D.C.
Final evaluation of independent research projects will be done by Rider faculty, through the RU/WSP liaison, who will read Rider students’ Washington Semester Program research projects in order to award them a grade that supplants the grade given on the transcript.
Qualified students must have completed 75 credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Students enrolled in the program must be registered full-time (12-16 credits).
On-campus housing is available at American University. Partial housing scholarship opportunities are available to qualified students.
If students choose to live off-campus, American University will assist them in locating off-campus housing. American University will also help Rider students find off-campus housing in the event that they are unable to provide on-campus housing. While American University can provide assistance with finding off-campus housing, ultimately, students are responsible for securing off-campus housing.