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.

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 2023 program to be in-person in Washington DC. For more information, download the program handout (PDF).

The Seminar

The Politics of Poverty (O’Geen) 

In the United States, in 2021, about 1 in every 8 people lived below the federally defined poverty line.  For those under the age of 18, that number was closer to 1 out of every 6.  For one of the most prosperous nations in the world, these may seem like surprising numbers.  Yet a look at the country’s history – as well as more contemporary practice – of dealing with the issue of poverty may lead to a different conclusion.   In this seminar we will attempt to gain a fuller understanding of the politics of poverty in the United States.  We will engage with scholarship and journalism that seeks to illuminate the causes and consequences of poverty as well as the challenges to crafting public policy that seeks to mitigate these factors.  We will also engage with guest speakers and other experiences that allow us to rely on both expertise and personal accounts in our investigation of these important questions.

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. 

American Democracy: Damaged or Endangered (Roberts)

Journalists, academics, public servants, and citizens have begun to question the extent to which democratic norms and faith in our institutions have been challenged in the wake of January 6, 2021 and the denial by some of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.  Given these events in combination with the impact of social media, the rapidly changing demographics of the country and the possibility of a cultural war, the prospects of compromise, consensus, and coordination seem dim if not insurmountable.  In this seminar, we will examine in depth topics like election integrity, the role of the media in political discourse, trust in institutions, chronic partisan antipathy, and many others, through readings and guest speakers who bring their expertise to these questions and the component of these dilemmas.  

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 ’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 2023 opens on Handshake on Oct. 7, 2022.