Washington Term

The Washington Term Program has been in existence for nearly three decades. It was established by Bill Connelly, John K. Boardman Professor of Politics, and has provided more than 400 Washington and Lee students with a memorable living and learning experience in Washington, D.C. since 1987. Students have used the six-week spring term course to launch careers in every branch of government.

The Washington Term Program includes three components: an academic course, an internship and a lecture series. Students spend four days working in their internships, and on Fridays, they attend a morning class led by Professor Connelly and afternoon guest lectures by some of the most prominent people in Washington. Wednesday evenings are also set aside for class activities.

The 2015 Washington Term Program will run from April 26 through June 6.


The Politics Department selects students based on their interest in the program, their academic record and their ability to work responsibly in an office setting. Applicants need not be politics majors but should have a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA and have completed either Politics 100, 105 or 111 by the Winter Term of the year in which they plan to participate in the program.

The Application Process

Students apply for Washington Term Program during the Fall Term. The application deadline for the 2015 program is Oct. 17, 2014. Students who are interested in the program are encouraged to attend an information session in Huntley 327 on Oct. 2, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Students should apply via Career Development's LexLink. The Washington Term program is searchable using the keywords "Washington Term" or the job ID number 1443.

After reviewing the applications, Professor Connelly will notify students who have qualified to interview for a spot in the program. Interviews will be conducted in late October and students should know whether they've been selected for the program by early November.

The Internship

The six-week internship is a critical component of the Washington Term Program. Students are responsible for securing their own internships but receive support from both Professor Connelly and the Career Development Office in their search. After students are accepted into the program, they are expected to spend the rest of the fall term working with Career Development to polish their resumes and cover letters, practice their interviewing skills, and apply to relevant internships in the D.C. area. The search continues in January. Students are expected to consult with Professor Connelly on a regular basis throughout the Winter Term; he will monitor their progress and verify the quality of the internship they secure. Past Washington Term students have successfully landed political internships in a wide variety of executive, legislative, judicial and private sector offices.

Be sure to read these tips on getting an internship.


Participants receive six credit hours for successful completion of the course. Grading is based on the student's performance in class, a research paper, evaluations from the intern's office and an analytical journal in which students write about their observations and experiences.


Each year, Washington and Lee University secures a block of apartment suites in a good location in or near the District. The suites are always located close to public transportation. Students can expect to live in a double-occupancy room with some shared living space. The university works to keep housing costs as low as possible. If there is family residing in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the university will grant students permission to reside with them for the duration of the program. This preference must be communicated to Prof. Connelly during the application process.