Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What is the difference between the UCDC Academic Internship Program and the UCDC Summer Internship Program?
The UCDC Academic Internship Program is offered during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters. Students who intern in D.C. during the academic year combine internships with coursework or field research as full-time students. Financial aid eligibility is maintained. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply, Juniors and Seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 is recommended.
The UCDC Summer Internship Program sends students to Washington D.C. during the summer for internship experiences, with coursework being entirely optional. Each student admitted into the UCDC Summer Internship Program works closely with the student coordinators and staff advisors in preparation for the internship application and living experience in D.C. Students from all majors and class standing (including June graduating seniors) are encouraged to apply. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is recommended but not required.
- 2. What is the application process for the UCDC Summer Internship Program?
Students must submit a completed application packet (revised resume and essay response) on Handshake by the stated deadline. Coordinators and the advisor will then conduct an initial screening and invite a select number of applicants for group interviews. Group interviews are usually held within a week or two of the application deadline. Final selection of the UCDC interns is determined after all interviews have been completed.
- 3. Approximately, how much will it cost to go to Washington, D.C. for the summer?
Students have reported spending an average of about $7,000 to include the cost of housing (10 weeks), airfare, entertainment, food, travel, and other incidentals. Students may spend more or less depending on their lifestyle and amount of travel while in D.C.
If a student decides to enroll in optional courses, the cost of the program goes up considerably to account for tuition, fees, books, and supplies but financial aid may apply.
- 4. Are students covered through Financial Aid for the summer program?
You may qualify for summer financial aid if you enroll in coursework at the UC Washington Center or through UCI Summer Session. Note: Only students residing at the UC Washington Center can enroll in units administered by the UC Washington Center.
- 5. Isn’t UCDC only for students interested in law and politics?
Absolutely not! UCDC is open to all majors and interests. There are many opportunities for students interested in journalism, communications, computer science, engineering, physical sciences, biology, theater, and many more. See the Internship Opportunities page for more information on the various opportunities in Washington, D.C.
- 6. How long is the UCDC Internship Program?
The UCDC Internship Program is 10 weeks long, starting immediately after finals week in June (typically mid-June through mid-August). Students residing at the UC Washington Center must arrive by certain date (announced early in the program) in order to attend a mandatory orientation but graduating seniors may seek a waiver to avoid the fee for missing the orientation from the UCDC Advisor. Some students may also choose to extend their stay into the fall quarter. If you decide to do this, you must let the UCDC Advisor know so they can forward your information to the UCDC Academic Internship Program. If you are a graduating Senior, you may even be offered a full-time job after the completion of your internship. In this case, your stay in D.C. will be indefinite!
- 7. Where do students live when they are in Washington D.C.?
Most students from each UC stay at The University of California Washington Center. The UC Washington Center provides fully furnished apartments, classroom and conference facilities, a computer lab, a gym, a TV room, laundry room, and much more. The Washington Center is under 24-hour security surveillance and requires students and staff to present their UC Washington Center ID Card prior to reentry. The facility is located a few blocks away from the White House in the heart of the city, and is within walking distance to the metro.
Please visit the UC Washington Center website for more information about housing, including what to expect in your apartment and what items are necessary for you to bring with you.
- 8. Do students intern part-time or full-time?
In most cases, your internship site will allow you to set your own hours. Some students may choose to work full-time while others will work a few days during the week so that they have more time to experience the city.
- 9. How do I find an internship in Washington D.C.?
Once you are accepted into the program, there are many resources available to you through the Division of Career Pathways that will help you find an internship. We frequently refer to various websites and directories to inform our students about internship opportunities. The UCDC Advisor and Coordinators work closely with each individual student in assisting them with their resumes, cover letters, and phone interview techniques. Please see the Internships page for more information.
- 10. Can I earn units for my internship?
There are several ways you may earn units for your internship. If you are affiliated with a school or program that requires field study, practicum, or an internship (eg. School of Social Ecology, Program in Public Health), you may elect to use your internship to fulfill their major/program requirement. Please speak to your respective academic program directly about this process and enrolling in units before spring quarter to get approval. Another option is University Studies 193, a course that offers 2 and 4 units for approved internships. Individuals can also approach a faculty member for a 199 Independent Study for the summer. And finally, if you are staying at the UC Washington Center, you may enroll in a course through the UC Washington Center in order to earn up to 8 units of credit for your internship.
- 11. Do I have to be accepted into the UCDC program before I can seek internships in D.C.?
Most students apply to the UCDC Internship Program first and then apply while in the program. Students interested in applying for sites that have early deadlines (i.e. FBI, CIA, U.S. Department of State, etc) can apply to those internships prior to applying to the UCDC Internship Program. In addition, more motivated students tend to seek and apply to internships before they get accepted into the UCDC programs.
- 12. What happens if I don’t get an internship before leaving for D.C.?
There are so many opportunities in D.C. that it is very rare for students to leave Irvine without an internship secured. However, if you do not have an internship secured prior to leaving for D.C, you may still go through the program. There have been several students who have found their internships after arriving in D.C. As part of the UCDC program, we do our best to make you the strongest candidate and applicant as possible. We also directly assist you in the internship-seeking process.
- 13. Am I guaranteed an internship if I get accepted into the UCDC program?
No. Once accepted into the UCDC program, the Advisor and the Coordinators will help you find an internship that best suits your interests. We will do our best to help you in any way we can!
- 14. Can I apply for the UCDC Program while abroad?
If you are abroad during the fall quarter, we do encourage you to apply for the program. You will be required to schedule an interview (if invited) to be conducted through Zoom.
If you plan to be abroad during the winter or spring quarters, you are still eligible to participate provided you applied and were accepted during the fall quarter but it may be challenging. The Summer UCDC Internship Program requires students to attend meetings/seminars throughout the winter and spring quarters, all of which are on local time. It may also be challenging to schedule interviews with DC-based internships depending on the time change. However, we welcome students who are planning to study abroad to apply.
- 15. I’m an undocumented student, can I apply for the Summer UCDC Internship Program?
You are welcome to apply for the program regardless of your immigration status. If you have any concerns about your ability to travel to Washington, D.C. for this program, we encourage you to seek counsel at the UCI DREAM Center. We have had many undocumented students participate in the past and secure internships.
- 16. I’m an International Student, can I apply for the Summer UCDC Internship Program?
If you are a degree-seeking international student, you are welcome to apply for the program but you must have the appropriate visa and documentation required to work in the US. (Please check with the UCI International Center for proper documentation). While there are some sites in DC which require U.S. citizenship to participate, we have had many international students participate in the past and secure internships.