Political Science

Student Information for POLS 396

POLS 396 – Washington, D.C. Summer Study

Summer 2024 Directors:

Tuition and Fees

Students are responsible for travel, tuition, daily transportation, food and housing costs. Students receive four (4) upper division credits, which will not count for the Political Science major, for successful completion of the program. Tuition is paid directly to the school. In prior summer, this has been approximately $2200 ($550 per credit x 4). It also counts for experiential learning (EL) designation. Students should consult with a campus financial aid counselor to reassess student financial need figures for the following year and the availability of Minnesota grant funds.

The course fee is estimated to cost about $4,500 per student based upon the assumption that students will be willing to share accommodations. (This fee does cover housing for the summer.)

There are scholarships available to assist students with these costs. They include donations from alums as well as the Dave Durenberger Legacy Fund.

Contact Claire Haeg or Matt Lindstrom for more information about the other opportunities.

Program Duration

Students are expected to be in Washington, D.C. on the Saturday of Memorial weekend (late May), for an initial orientation session. Students are expected to begin their internship assignments on Tuesday morning (the day following Memorial Day) unless other arrangements have been made. The program officially ends at the completion of the first full week of August. Some students may be invited by their worksite supervisor to continue working into the month of August. It is up to the intern whether to agree or not to an extension of the work commitment. Please check with directors about possible modifications to the living arrangements after mid-August, because of the rental contract.

Housing Arrangements

Housing commitments are made early in the spring semester by the faculty moderator in consultation with student interns. The final decision is based upon an effort to balance several factors, including the following:

  • Affordability
  • Security
  • Sanitation
  • Air Conditioning
  • Helpful Staff
  • On-Site Cooking Facilities
  • Proximity to Public transportation, airport
  • Amenities
  • Proximity to Grocery Shopping
  • On-Site Laundry Facilities

The cost of housing is dependent upon the willingness of students to share living spaces. Students are expected to commit in the spring to financial responsibility for a specific living arrangement, and to compensate roommates promptly for any losses due to later changes (such as withdrawal from the program).


Students are responsible for arranging their own (or sharing ) transportation to and from Washington, D.C. Air transportation can be arranged to Reagan National Airport (DCA), which is the closest airport, or Dulles International Airport (IAD), or rail transport to Union Station. Taxis are recommended to and from the DCA airport and fares are quite reasonable. Parking on Capitol Hill is EXTREMELY limited, so students should plan to use public transportation (bus and Metro) to and from work (averaging about $5/day).

Readings in Advance of Internship

In order to integrate the summer experience within a broader context of national politics, the directors of the program will create a set of readings available on Canvas.

Worksite Responsibilities

It is in the student’s best interest to dress and behave in a professional manner throughout the period of an internship experience. Punctuality, reliability, initiative, and discretion are among the qualities that demonstrate one’s value to potential employers. A good reputation among work colleagues is an investment in the future that should not be wasted.

In addition to learning directly from internship responsibilities at the worksite, unique opportunities to learn about U.S. history, the arts and cultural legacies are easily and inexpensively available throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Students should plan weekend time to take full advantage of these national treasures.

Seminars and Additional Meetings

Students are required to participate in weekly seminars scheduled by the faculty moderator on site. In addition, there are weekly opportunities to hear andmeet with political activists, members of Congress, party leadership, prominent journalists and other participants in U.S. public policy processes. Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these unique opportunities. CSB/SJU interns will be invited to informal sessions on topics related to national government featuring guest speakers including alums from agencies, congressional staffs, committees, lobbyists, nonprofit organizations, etc. These will enhance the depth of your required response papers.

Living Independently and Responsibly in an Urban Setting

Students are expected to accept complete responsibility for budgeting their own time and money carefully. Planning one’s resources to cover rent, daily transportation, groceries, laundry, social activities, etc., in an urban environment may be especially challenging. Students should make their activity choices taking into account safety and prudence (e.g., avoiding evening and night travel alone and bringing a bag lunch to work).


Student interns are expected to: (a) attend all pre-internship meetings scheduled for spring semester immediately prior to the summer program. (b) attend additional sessions and complete all assignments arranged by the faculty moderator in June and July, (c) meet commitments made to on-site supervisors in a responsible and professional manner, (d) write weekly journals evaluating their experiences and integrating the theory they have read throughout the internship period, and (e) prepare a final report and executive memo immediately following completion of the internship experience.

The final report must be typed and submitted via Canvas. The final report should draw upon the student's experiences, course readings, previous coursework, Washington events and processes and the student’s analysis of his/her own growth in skills and career preparation. The final evaluation report should be no more than 10 pages in length. Samples of work products from the internship site should be attached if available.

Internship final reports will be available for review by members of the Political Science faculty and by other students interested in participating in future summer programs. Consequently, each student’s report should provide a clear and reflective analysis of what the student learned from the summer study experience. The faculty moderator will award grades of A - F to interns based on the quality of student performance on all of the following:

  • Completion of all course and pre-course requirements in a timely and responsible manner.
  • Careful and timely research and preparation of materials for submission to prospective internship sites.
  • Participation in all pre-course orientation sessions during the spring semester preceding the summer program.
  • Support of learning community goals for all participants.
  • Participation in all summer seminar sessions.
  • Evaluation of student’s work related behaviors and contribution to workplace goals.
  • Final evaluation report and updated resume from student
  • Written evaluation papers
  • Weighted percentages will be determined prior to the start of the program.
College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Whitney Court
Chair, Political Science Department
SJU Simons 146