Illinois in Washington is an academic program that provides U of I students with the opportunity to intern and study in Washington D.C. Participants in the IIW program are able to work and study an array of subjects, including: Politics, Journalism, History, Economics, Public Policy, and Communications. The political and cultural environment present throughout Washington, D.C. provides our students with an unique academic and professional experience.
Fall & Spring Curriculum
The curriculum for IIW differs from other programs by allowing students to tailor part of their course work to their own academic goals. You are required to take at least 12 credits of coursework from the University of Illinois (U of I) for the fall or spring semester in which you participate in IIW. Those 12 credits must include two IIW designated courses, PS 491 (Internship for 6 credits) and PS 125 (Undergraduate Open Seminar for 3 credits). Both of these classes will meet at your apartment building and at various organizations and offices around town on Fridays between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. For the remaining three credits, you may enroll in the optional course PS 321, Principles of Public Policy, which is taught by Professor Emery Lee and meets Monday evenings in a classroom on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Your admittance to these three Political Science courses is guaranteed. The Political Science Department will process waivers so that you are able to register for them. If you choose not to take PS 321, you can enroll in another three-credit course from U of I, such as an online course, or you can pay separately for an approved course from a DC-based university. If you decide not to enroll in PS 321, please let IIW know as soon as possible so that we can ensure that the alternate course in which you wish to enroll satisfies IIW’s requirements.
Summer semester students will only take PS 491, meeting on Tuesdays, 7-9 PM.
It is your responsibility to register for the appropriate CRNs for your courses. You will register in the same manner as you do for any other semester. Please address any questions about financial aid, tuition and fees to the University of Illinois Registrar. We will follow the same class schedule, with the same breaks and holidays, as the main U of I campus for the fall and spring semesters. For the summer semester, we will meet every Friday in June and July, and the first Friday in August.
This course combines experiential learning, career development and political science research and writing. Class sessions and assignments enable students to analyze and reflect on their internship experience, engage in professional and career development, and design and write policy-based research papers.
The IIW section of PS491 counts as an Advanced Composition course within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (see https://las.illinois.edu/academics/requirements/advancedcomp). Advanced Composition courses are writing-intensive courses involving writing assignments that: a) demand analysis and synthesis of the subject matter of the course; b) require substantial original composition (typically totaling at least 20 to 30 pages); and c) involve multiple drafts throughout the course of the semester. A substantial portion of the overall course grade should be based upon evaluation of the quality of written assignments.
Students should contact their college to confirm whether PS491 can be used to satisfy their advanced composition requirement. Students may need to petition their college in order to use PS491 to fulfill the requirement. Students petitioning the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences should complete and submit this petition.
Through visits to think tanks, nonprofit organizations and agencies, we will examine the policymaking world in Washington and get to know different participants in this process, what they do, and how they interact and work to affect policy and express their ideas.
This course examines important issues that are relevant to government and public policy. In some semesters, it may focus on one specific public policy issue that is currently of particular interest or concern.
IIW participants are required to take a full 12 credit load during the Fall or Spring semester. However, we understand that for many of our students 12 political science credits limits their ability to make progress on their degree while participating in our program. As such, we will work with any student to find an applicable online UIUC course or independent study that will allow students to get the experience of interning in DC without preventing them from making progress on their degree.