Washington, D.C. Internships

Finding an InternshipHousingGetting AroundAttirePrograms at Other InstitutionsOther Useful Links

Finding an Internship

Congressional Internships
Check individual congressional office web sites starting with your home state delegation, but don't limit yourself.  If there are issues in which you're particularly interested, contact the offices of the most vocal advocates and make your case in the application or cover letter. 

U.S. House of Representatives
Some House offices publish internships with the Clerk's Office and you can subscribe to receive the Weekly House Employment Bulletin.

U.S. Senate
Some Senate offices publish internships on the Senate Employment Bulletin

White House Internships
Each administration decides how it will administer this program.

Federal Agency Internships
Most federal agencies now have year-round and summer internships and use the Office of Personnel Management's online application system, USAJobs.  This allows you to upload your resume and cover letter and apply for multiple positions with the same materials.  Check for new opportunities regularly, as some departments will close a posting once they've received a certain number of applicants.

Cultural Organization Internships
There are a number of non-governmental organizations that sponsor interns to work on the Hill, the White House, and federal agencies, and also pay a stipend.  Check the program requirements for three of the best-known organizations: the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

Other Web Listings

Provides information on internships on the Hill (bi-partisan).

Provides information about hundreds of internships, volunteer and job opportunities in the DC area, the U.S. and around the world.

Institute for Humane Studies
The Institute offers internships in DC in public policy and nonprofit management as well as a state-based intensive ten-week paid summer internship program at organizations such as the SC Policy Council Education Foundation to learn policy at the state level (Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow Internships).

The Internship Series Online 
Comprehensive source of internship information on the web with full, up to date information on over 2,800 organizations offering internships and summer jobs for students. Internship listings that may be of interest include the following sectors: Community and Social Agencies, International Affairs, Women's Rights, Congressional, Human Rights, Washington Internships about Law and Policy. (username:Charleston; password: GoCougars)

The Judicial Internship Program at the Supreme Court of the United States

The Fund for American Studies (TFAS)
TFAS was founded to help instill in young people an appreciation for the American Form of government and the free enterprise system. TFAS sponsors Institutes that teach college students about the principles and values which the United States was founded.

Provides information about jobs in DC (bi-partisan).


Housing is usually the most expensive item for a Washington intern and it pays to apply early. Intern housing options vary widely with regard to price—from $450 to more than $3,000 per month—and some of the lower priced options are in the best locations and offer the nicest amenities and best locations.

American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, D.C., 20016-8142
Tenleytown/AU Metro Stop
Dormitory housing and meal plans for summer interns in the lovely Spring Valley neighborhood of upper Northwest D.C. Free shuttle to the Metro, shopping, restaurants.

Catholic University of America
Housing and Residential Services
Saint Bonaventure Hall
Washington, D.C., 20064
Brookland/CUA Metro Stop
Located on the Red Line just two stops north of Union Station (closest stop to the Senate side of Capitol Hill). Wide variety of dormitory housing (be warned: not all rooms are air conditioned).

Gallaudet University
1101 14th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20005-5601
Free shuttle to/from Union Station Metro Stop
Gallaudet University is the world leader in liberal education and career development for deaf and hard of hearing students. It offers dormitory housing for interns in a variety of room configurations and occupancies.

George Washington University
2121 I Street NW, Rice Hall, Suite 402
Washington, D.C., 20052
(202) 994-6688
Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro Stop
Offers dormitory housing as well as housing with fraternities and sororities for summer interns in the distinguished Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Northwest D.C. On campus a la carte dining options. Walking distance to the Metro, monuments, shopping, restaurants, Georgetown.

Howard University
2401 4th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20059
Shaw/Howard University Metro Stop
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a Historically Black College with a rich and distinguished academic history. Howard offers dormitory housing for interns working in the DC area.

The International Student House
1825 R Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Dupont Circle Metro Stop
Dormitory style housing includes breakfast and dinner. Also includes educational, cultural and recreational activities for its residents. Residents represent a variety of political, religious, and cultural backgrounds and are carefully screened for security purposes.

Trinity College
125 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
Brookland/CUA Metro Stop
Trinity is a fully-accredited liberal arts university located on a wooded campus in northeast Washington, offering programs for men and women of all faiths and ages. It is affiliated with the Catholic Church. Trinity offers a variety of dormitory housing in various styles that can be rented as a single or a double.

Thompson Markwood Hall – Women Only
235 Second Street, NE
Washington DC, 20002
Union Station or Capitol South Metro Stops
Chartered by Congress as the Young Women’s Christian Home in 1887, Thompson-Markwood Hall is a residence hall for women located on Capitol Hill, across the street from the Hart Senate Office Building. It offers single, air-conditioned rooms with telephones and limited weekly maid service, with two multi-unit bathrooms located on each floor. Laundry facilities, a TV lounge, living room, library, and garden are also available to residents. There are rules, however: the home prohibits alcohol and drugs on the premise, as well as male guests above the lobby level. Rental rates are low and include utilities, internet access, local telephone with voicemail, plus breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday and Sunday brunch. This is a highly recommended housing option for women and books up quickly.

Washington Intern Housing Network
This company owns a network of condos and townhomes near Capitol Hill, from the Eastern Market area to the Convention Center neighborhood. Condos include a pool, business center, movie theater, secure access. Room configurations range from singles to quads with kitchens and common areas.

Getting Around

Don’t even think about bringing a car to D.C.  Traffic is awful. Parking is rare and even if you can find it, it’s incredibly expensive—up to $35 per day in some places in the city.  No worries, there are numerous ways to get around D.C. that are affordable, safe, and reliable:

Metro. The Metro system is D.C.’s public subway and bus system. It works beautifully and will provide safe and affordable transportation to just about anywhere an intern would want or need to go. The first thing a D.C. intern needs is a SmarTrip Card, which will save you $1.00 on every trip you take. It’s good for the subway or buses. You can add funds to it as needed and you can register it so if it’s lost or stolen, you can report it to Metro for replacement. Then use the handy Trip Planner to plan your route, find out the fare, and how long it will take at the time of day you’ll be traveling.  Caution: check schedules for Metro. Trains and buses are more prevalent during weekdays and rush hours; Metro does not run all night, so for late nights out, you’ll want an alternative game plan.

D.C. Circulator Bus. In addition to the Metro subway and buses, the District offers a D.C. Circulator bus system.  At just $1.00 per trip, the Circulator bus is a bargain for short trips around the city and reaches a lot of places that Metro doesn’t, such as Georgetown.  The buses accept SmarTrip cards or cash ($1.00) and a mobile app is available for planning your trip.

Capital Bikeshare. D.C. is a bike-crazy town, with bike lanes throughout the city, bike paths through many parks, and a public bike share system with over 200 locations around the city and Arlington and Alexandria. Anyone can join and memberships are available from one-day to one-year. The first 30 minutes of any ride is free. Or, bring your own bike. The Metro and D.C. Circulator systems allow bikes as well. Bike Washington and About.com offer plenty of info on biking in D.C.

Uber. Uber is extremely handy and reliable in D.C., particularly for late nights after the Metro has closed and taxis are nowhere in sight. The cost will be lower or comparable to a taxi, but the ride will be 100 percent more pleasant and convenient. Sign up using the CofC Alumni code and get $20 off your first ride, plus Uber will give the Alumni Association $2 for scholarships.

MyTaxi, the D.C. Taxi App. Taxis are plentiful in Washington, and they finally have meters instead of that vector map no one understood (including the drivers). There is usually a cab stand at larger hotels and taxi drivers also troll through major streets looking for fares. Download the Hailo app to your smartphone to hail a cab from anywhere in the city.

Zipcar and Car2Go are great options if you need to rent a car short-term. Zipcar has various sized cars stationed all over the city, so you can rent the size car you need for errands or short trips. Car2Go offers tiny Smart cars, which are easy to maneuver and park in D.C.


Attire depends on the culture of your office. D.C. is still pretty buttoned-down with regard to office attire, and that goes for interns as well. For interviews or on the first day, err on the business side.  Many D.C. offices have adopted a more relaxed “business casual” and/or “Friday casual” policy.  However, if no one tells you about the office attire policy, please ask your supervisor.

It never hurts to over-dress for your first day; someone will tell you if you can dress down. Here’s what NOT to wear to a D.C. office on your first day:

  • Flip flops
  • Jeans (It doesn’t matter how much they cost.)
  • Leggings/jeggings
  • Strapless, halter, or low-cut dresses/tops
  • Shorts/skorts
  • Athletic/tennis shoes (except for commuting to and from the office)
  • Sleeveless t-shirts (or any t-shirt, for that matter)
  • Anything tight/revealing

Men's Office Attire
Gentlemen, invest in an iron or find a nearby dry cleaners—Zips is located at the Van Ness Metro stop and charges $1.99 per item. Your Washington wardrobe should include a navy blazer, tie, dress shirts, golf shirts, khakis, belt (tuck in your shirt), loafers, bucks, or boat shoes.    

Women's Office Attire
Sundresses are fine with a cardigan.  This city eats cute shoes for breakfast, so if you must wear your Louboutins, please invest in a pair of flat “commuting” shoes to wear to and from work.  Your Washington wardrobe should include a little black dress (or two), dress/skirts (mid-thigh or longer), cardigans, shirts, blouses, slacks (not leggings), khakis, and closed-toe flats.

D.C. Internship Programs Offered at Other Institutions

Please note that this list is a compilation of resources and the College of Charleston is not affiliated with any of these programs. Before pursuing any of these options it is recommended to speak with your advisor.

Washington Semester at American University
Requirements: Minimum G.P.A. – 2.5
Housing: American University dorms
Contact Number: (800) 424-2600
Contact e-mail: washsem@american.edu

Boston University Washington Internship Program
Requirements: Juniors and Seniors with strong academic credentials
Housing: Apartments Supplied
Contact Number: (617) 353-9888
Contact e-mail: abroad@bu.edu

Cornell in Washington-- Summer Only
Requirements: First applications accepted-- no minimum G.P.A.
Housing: Apartments Supplied
Contact Number: (202) 466-2184
Contact e-mail: cwash@cornell.edu

Semester in Washington at GWU
Requirements: Writing Sample, Letter of Recommendation, Competitive G.P.A, Extracurricular Involvement, and Leadership
Housing: George Washington University dorms
Contact Number: (800) 367-4776
Contact e-mail: siw@gwu.edu

Public Leadership Education Network: Woman and Public Policy Internship Program
Requirements: Women only
Housing: Students choose housing, but reduced-fee options are available
Contact Number: (202) 872-1585
Contact e-mail: plen@plen.org

Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars
Requirements: Second semester sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors only; Maintain a grade point average of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (Your application MAY be considered with a third letter of recommendation if your GPA is below 2.75); Receive the endorsement of your campus liaison, or, if your institution does not have a campus liaison, the endorsement of a faculty sponsor; Receive academic credit from your college or university for your participation in the Internship Program.
Housing: guaranteed housing to all students who complete a Housing Reservation Contract by the required deadline
Contact Number: (202) 336-7600
Contact e-mail: info@twc.edu

Washington Internship Institute: Institute for Experiential Learning
Requirements: Admission decisions are based on applicants’ academic records and recommendations.
Housing: Apartments supplied
Contact Number: (202) 833-8580
Contact e-mail: info@ielnet.org

Other Useful Links

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
Congressional Research Service
Democratic National Committee
Democratic Senate Resume Bank
The Department of State
Heritage Foundation
Leadership Institute
Partnership for Public Service
Public Policy & International Affairs Program
Republican National Committee
Republican Senate Policy Committee
Think Tanks and N.G.O.'s
U.S. Department of Energy, DOE Scholars Program