The Washington Center Internship Program

The world-renowned Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars in Washington, D.C. offers Alberta students an important edge for future professional employment and admission to graduate and professional schools, while earning credit towards their degree.

Since 1997, more than 400 Canadian students, including over 70 students from the University of Calgary, have gone to Washington, D.C. to transfer the academic knowledge learned in the classroom into practical skills needed to enter the workforce.

Our students have interned with public relations firms, government relations firms, non-profit organizations and organizations such as the Embassy of Canada, the Embassy of Mexico, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Voice of America, the Institute for Gulf Affairs, ABC News, the Environmental Protection Agency, Voice of America and the International Center for Terrorism Studies, among others.

Key information




Fall, Winter, Summer

Program type


Application information

Application status



Summer 20 applications

  • Priority Deadline: January 8, 2020
  • Regular Deadline: February 28, 2020
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: February 1, 2020 (see Funding page for details)

Program-specific additional requirements

Two references (one academic, one professional), Issues essay and US style resume are required - see the Eligibility section below.

Fall 20 applications

  • Priority Deadline: March 15, 2020
  • Regular Deadline: April 15, 2020
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: February 1, 2020 (see Funding page for details)

Winter 21 applications

Opens Nov. 1, 2019

  • Priority Deadline: September 30, 2020
  • Regular Deadline: October 15, 2020
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: February 1, 2020 (see Funding page for details)

Student experience

The Washington Center Experience

Program details

Programs are available in the following areas:

  • Advocacy, Service and Arts 
  • Business and Global Trade 
  • International Affairs 
  • Law and Criminal Justice 
  • Media and Communications 
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Science, Technology and Society 

Program Components:

The Washington Center program is composed of the following components:

1) Internship Program:

As the primary component of your experience, you will be placed in an internship with an organization that fits your interests and the skills you possess and hope to learn. Students intern for four and a half days a week. Placement sites could include private companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations. You will receive a full course U of C credit for this internship. Students in the Co-Op/Internship program at the U of C may be able to use this program as one of their placements.

2) Academic Course:

Each student is required to complete one academic course during the semester. The academic course meets one night per week for 3 hours and is taught by a Washington Center faculty member (which includes adjunct professors from local universities in the Washington, D.C.area, including Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University and Johns Hopkins University, among others). There are over 25 courses to choose from each semester. You will receive a half course U of C credit for this course.

3) The LEAD Colloquium:

Over the course of your 15-weeks in Washington, D.C., you will be required to attend a series of events during which you will hear from and interact with experts and leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors. You might hear from a former press secretary, an ambassador or member of Congress or you might listen to a panel discussion on climate change or women in politics, etc.. These events are designed to fit your interests and to help you develop your communication, analytical and networking skills.

4) Civic Engagement Project:

During the semester, you are required to complete a civic engagement project, which can take many forms, including individual volunteer efforts addressing a specific issue, working with others in a community to solve a problem or interacting with institutions that advance social or political causes. The project is meant to inspire you to take advantage of the resources in Washington, D.C. to play a role in affecting change in an area of personal or professional concern.

5) Student Portfolio:

You are required to produce a compilation of documents that chronicles and summarizes the learning experience during your time with The Washington Center. The portfolio assignments are designed to encourage thought and reflection on your accomplishments over the course of the program.

Academic Credit:

Students on this program generally receive U of C credit for 3 half courses: 1 full year course credit (ARTS 502) for the internship placement and 1 half year course credit (either INTR 597 or POLI 597) for the academic seminar. Students in the Faculty of Arts Co-operative Education Program may consider having this program count as one of their required work terms, while also earning one half course credit for the academic seminar.

The Washington Center offers programs during the Fall, Winter (which is called "Spring" at TWC) and Summer.

Winter ("Spring") 2020 Term (January 22 - May 2 2020)

  • Priority Deadline: September 30, 2019
  • Regular Deadline: October 15, 2019
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: remaining awards available first come first considered (see Funding page for details) 

Summer 2020 Term (May 31 – August 1, 2020)

  • Priority Deadline: January 8, 2020
  • Regular Deadline: February 28, 2020
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: February 1, 2020 (see Funding page for details)

Fall 2020 Term (August 26 - December 5, 2020)

  • Priority Deadline: March 15, 2020
  • Regular Deadline: April 15, 2020
  • Alberta Award Application Deadline: February 1, 2020 (see Funding page for details)

Please note: students not travelling on a Canadian passport must apply by the Priority Deadline.

The Washington Center Internships are unpaid placements. No U of C tuition is charged for the program, but students are responsible for Student Services, Students' Union and Athletics fees, which are paid to the U of C according to regular fee deadlines. 

Please see the 
TWC Website for up-to-date information on the TWC Program and Housing Fees.

The program costs vary, based on the length of the program. The Program and Housing Fees are listed separately, as US citizens are not required to live in the TWC accommodation. The listed program costs do not include airfare, meals, local transportation or spending money.

With the exception of the Application Fee, which is paid to UCI, the program costs are all paid directly to The Washington Center.

A J-1 Visa will be required and organized through the Washington Center, which involves payment of around USD$220 SEVIS Fee (required by the US Department of State).

  1. General funding opportunities

    Students on the program are considered full-time University of Calgary students and as such, remain eligible for all regular UCalgary Awards and Scholarships. In addition, eligible students are able to apply their Student Loan funding to this program.

    TWC participants are also eligible to apply for an International Study Travel Grant.

  2. Alberta Government Ministerial Awards

    The Alberta Government has a limited number of competitive awards of approximately $7500.00 USD for Undergraduate Students who are Alberta Residents participating in the Washington Center Internship Program. Alberta residency is defined as having been born in Alberta, having graduated from a high school in Alberta or having lived in Alberta for 12 consecutive months without being a student. 

    Awards remain for Winter 2020, speak to Tara Jorgensen for more details. 

    Besides a complete UCI online application (see #1 in the "How to apply" section), the following documents have to be submitted:

    • Statement of Purpose (500 words): Please tell us why you wish to participate in this program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic & career objectives, how you plan to finance this program and why CISSA should select you for this award.
    • One Letter of Academic Reference: This letter must be from a professor with whom you have taken a course. It can be the same reference as you are using for your TWC application but it does not have to be. The reference can be submitted as a hard copy or by email and should address the questions listed here.
    • Declaration of Alberta Residency: You can obtain this document from Tara Jorgensen ( Please email to request it. 

The Washington Center guarantees housing for all interns who submit their housing applications by the specified deadline. Due to visa restrictions students should plan to live in TWC housing. 

Students in TWC housing will live in a shared apartment in either the TWC Residential and Academic Facility at NoMa, the TWC Residential Facility at the Flats 130, or the TWC Residential Facility at Elevation, which is located near Capitol Hill and Union Station.

Units are two bedroom, two bathroom apartments that house four people. All apartments are furnished with utilities, basic cable, and wireless internet. 

See the Washington Center website for additional details.

  1. Eligibility

    Students must be regular, full-time, degree-seeking students at the University of Calgary.

    Undergraduate students must have completed at least two full years before participating in the program.

    International students are eligible to participate in this program, but must apply by the competitive deadline (listed below).

    Graduate students cannot apply for the academic internship program, however, they could apply for the Global Competencies Program directly to TWC. 

    The minimum required GPA is 2.8 for most programs, although a GPA above 3.0 is preferred. The summer term is more competitive starting at a minimum GPA of 3.0. We do not accept applications with GPA's below 2.8.

    All students must have the approval of the U of C / TWC Campus Liaison: Colleen Packer (

  2. Application components

    Application Components:

    Steps 1, 2 & 3 must be completed by the deadlines listed below in order for your application to be complete. 

    All documents must be submitted to Tara Jorgensen at University of Calgary International in MacKimmie Tower 501. Please do not send any documents to TWC directly.

    Step #1 UCI online application:

    Complete and submit the UCI online application selecting the appropriate TWC semester you are applying for. To start the online application  just hit the "Apply" button at the bottom of this page. 

    Please note: use your TWC Statement of Professional Interest (see below) in the Course List section.

    Your Statement of Purpose (maximum 500 words) should address why you are applying for this program, how it relates to your personal, academic and career objectives and how you plan to finance this program.

    Step #2 TWC online application:

    (please only do this AFTER you have submitted the above UCI application)

    • TWC online application: Complete and SAVE the online application at The Washington Centre. 
      Please do not submit this application until our office has approved your application and given you the TWC Application Code to allow you to do so. A printed copy of the application must be submitted to Tara Jorgensen.                                          
      • Please note: Under Community Liaison, put: Colleen Packer, University of Calgary;
    • Statement of Professional Interest: a 100-word statement that describes the types of activities that you'd like to be involved with during the internship and how they relate to your career goals. Do not mention the names of any specific organizations. Please include this in the Course List section of your UCI online application (see above). Note that there are examples of these inside the TWC online application. Further details are also online.
    • Issues Essay: 500 words, discussing one issue related to the area in which you wish to work. You should make note of your personal views on the topic. This is not meant to be a research paper, but it should show that you have some background knowledge and interest in the topic. Attach this to the TWC online application and print a hard copy to be submitted to Tara Jorgensen. Note that there are examples of essays inside the TWC online application. Further details are also online.
    • Résumé: TWC prefers a US-style 1-page résumé. This will be sent to prospective employers and should be tailored accordingly. We recommend that you have your résumé reviewed by Career Services or your Co-Op Advisor to ensure that it targeted to the type of position you are looking for.
    • 2 References: You can provide either one academic reference and one professional reference, or two academic references - whichever are stronger/more relevant. You will be asked to provide your reference details (name, email, etc.) as part of the TWC online application. After you submit the application, they will receive an email with instructions on providing the reference electronically. References should be addressed "To Whom It May Concern" as they will be sent to prospective employers in addition to being used as part of the selection process.

    Step #3 submit the following supporting documents to UCI:

    • Printed copy of your TWC Online Application: once you have completed and SAVED your TWC online application, please follow the links to the printable pdf of your application.
    • Printed copy of your Issues Essay: please print and submit a copy of the Issues Essay that you have uploaded to the TWC online application.
    • Official Transcript (for every college or university you have attended): bring directly or mail to UCI (we're in MT501)
    • Résumé: please print and submit a copy of the résumé that you have uploaded to the TWC online application.
    • Photocopy of the photo/ID page of your passport: Please ensure that this document is legible and that your face is clearly visible.
    • Alberta Award Application Documents: (submit only if you are eligible and wish to be considered for this award) A Statement of Purpose, One Academic Reference and a Declaration of Alberta Residency. See the Funding section for details.

TWC offers internship opportunities for a variety of majors, including many for students that are not in a political science major. On the TWC website you can also find a list of sample internship sites

To get a better idea of the Washington Center Internship experience you can watch this video and read these blogs of TWC participants. 

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The advisor for the program is: Tara Jorgensen.

How to Apply

Check requirements and deadlines

Each semester and the Alberta Award have a different deadline, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Submit the RAISA application

Complete and submit the UCI online application selecting the appropriate TWC semester you are applying for. 


Once this is done you may continue to step 2, saving the TWC application.


Save the TWC application

Complete and SAVE, but DO NOT submit the TWC online application, including the required extra documents:

Statement of Professional Interest, Issues Essay, US style resume and two references. 

TWC Online Application

Submit hard copy application

Submit in hard copy to Tara Jorgensen at MT 501:

  • Printed copy of your TWC Online Application
  • Printed copy of your Issues Essay
  • Official Transcript 
  • Résumé
  • Photocopy of the photo/ID page of your passport
  • Alberta Award Application Documents (optional)

Approval to submit application

Tara will ensure all the application documents are correct and then accept your application in RAISA. In the acceptance email you receive from the system, there will be a code to waive the application fee on the TWC application. Use the code and submit your TWC application before the deadline.

International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.