The University of California Washington Center Program (UCDC) provides UCSB students with a unique opportunity to live, work as interns, and study in our nation’s political and cultural epicenter, Washington, D.C. Designed for undergraduates in their junior and senior years, the program assumes students have completed a significant part of their upper-division major coursework and that their internships will serve to enhance their academic study. The UCDC program offers something for everyone, so students in all fields are welcome and encouraged to apply! Science students might find Summer Quarter particularly attractive.
Organizations UCSB students have recently interned for include the White House, Human Rights Campaign, U.S. Department of Education, Congressional Management Foundation, Voto Latino, and more!
Location: CITRAL - Library 1576 (ground floor, Oceanside)
- Mondays - Fridays: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm; 1:00 - 4:00 pm
Upcoming Informational Sessions:
Online Info Session Click here to view our informational presentation.
Admission to the UCDC Program is open to upper-division students from all majors (UCSB EAP Reciprocity and international students must consult with the campus EAP office and OISS prior to applying to the UCDC Program). The program is offered each quarter during the academic year, including summer. Once admitted, students maintain full-time enrollment at the University of California while residing at the UC Washington Center.
To be eligible for participation in UCDC, the applicant must:
- have junior standing (90+ units).
- have a minimum GPA of 3.0. (If your GPA is currently below a 3.0, please contact the UCDC Program office prior to applying to discuss your options.)
- be a registered UC student. (Please consult with the UCDC Program office if you are a graduating senior.)
Please note that program admission is competitive, so even students who meet the minimum eligibility might not be selected. For more information about selection criteria, please visit the Apply section. If selected for participation, you must adhere to the internship guidelines described in the section below.
During the academic year (fall, winter, spring), participants must intern for a minimum of 32 hours per week over the course of the program. For the summer program, there are alternate unit options. Depending on the number of units participants are enrolled in, the minimum required hours fall between 24 and 32 per week.
You do not need to secure an internship before applying to the program. However, your application essay should contain a well-formulated idea of the type of internship that you desire and how it will integrate your study and career goals.
Once admitted to the program and prior to departing for Washington, you must secure an internship position and have it approved by the UCDC Program Coordinator. Keep in mind that some agencies' internship application deadlines are six or more months in advance of the internship term. It is your responsibility to submit an application for an internship position by the agency's required date.
To find the right internship, you are strongly encouraged to seek assistance from the UCDC Program staff. Additionally, more information can be found in the Internship Overview section, and the Internship Site Ideas section. Please note that some internships require proof of U.S. citizenship or resident status.
How to Apply
Visit the Application and Selection page to learn how to apply.
Admissions & Eligibility FAQs
I'm a transfer student in my first quarter at UCSB, so I do not yet have a UCSB GPA. Can I still apply to the program? You must have a UCSB GPA, even if it's only a GPA for one quarter here. For example, if you begin your first UCSB quarter in the fall, you will not be eligible to apply for the winter UCDC Program. Instead, you will need to wait and apply for programs held in the following quarters so your fall GPA can be evaluated.
I'll be studying abroad during the application period. Can I still apply? Yes. The application is all digital, and interviews can take place over the phone or video chat.
When will I hear whether or not I've been accepted to UCDC? We usually notify applicants within 1-2 weeks of the application deadline.
Do I have to get an official transcript for my application packet? No, the UCDC Program staff will take care of that for you. If you are a recent transfer student, however, or an EAP Reciprocity student, you will need to include a copy of your transfer transcripts with your application materials.
During the quarter in D.C., students receive academic credit through three main avenues:
- Working a minimum of 32 hours per week in a structured internship with an agency or organization of their choice (8 units, P/NP)
- Completing a research seminar (4 units, must be taken for a letter grade)
- Completing elective courses for additional credit (optional)
If you participate in the UCDC Program, you must maintain full-time status at University of California by enrolling in both the internship section and the research seminar. The UCDC Program office will process your enrollment in these courses. Once your registration is complete, however, it is your responsibility to withdraw from these courses should you decide to leave the UCDC program.
If you want to earn additional credit, you can enroll in any of the elective courses offered at the Washington Center. These courses have on-site registration, which means that students do not enroll in them until they arrive in D.C.
Any UCDC units you earn will count towards your total units required for graduation. If you hope to earn units that will apply towards your major requirements, it is your responsibility to consult with your departmental academic advisor to determine whether or not UCDC units will apply.
For more information about the UCDC Program’s academic credit opportunities.
During the academic year, working in your internship for a minimum of 32 hours per week will earn you 8 P/NP upper-division units. During summer, there are varying unit options. For more information about how internships work in the UCDC program, please visit the Internship Overview section.
Your core seminar will earn you 4 letter-graded upper-division units. Beginning Summer 2016, core seminars and electives are no longer offered during summer quarters (internship credit only). UCDC core seminars meet weekly and are meant to assist each student in the development of an original research project, usually focused on a topic that relates to the internship experience. At the end of the quarter, each student completes the seminar by submitting a substantial paper. Visit the system-wide UCDC website for course information.
Students are encouraged to take one or more of these stimulating classes, which are offered by faculty in residence from various UC campuses. The course topics vary each quarter according to which faculty are present. A quarterly list of elective offerings is released just prior to each program’s start date.
If you spend one quarter participating in the UCDC Program, it will cost more than living on campus for the same amount of time. The principal differences are the costs of airfare (student is responsible for booking flights and purchasing tickets), housing, and personal expenses. If you currently receive university financial aid, your financial aid package can be increased based on the higher cost of living in Washington, D.C. If you do not currently receive university financial aid, the higher cost of living in D.C. may make you eligible during the quarter you participate in the UCDC Program. For more information, please expand the Financial Aid Information link below or, for more specific questions, contact the Financial Aid office.
|Estimated UCSB Campus Expenses per quarter 2017-18||Estimated UCDC Expenses per quarter 2017-18||
Estimated UCDC Expenses Summer
|Books & Supplies||$1,158||$150||$150|
|Roundtrip Airfare to DC||-||$500||$500|
|Estimated Total Cost:||$13,219.00||$12,831-13,181||$8,078-9,552|
*Registration fees as currently estimated for the 2018-19 academic year. The University may change fees at any time. If applicable, add the Non-Resident Tuition fee.
**Based on the number of units you choose to take (4-8 required)
Other expenses to consider include optional UCDC field trips to local points of interest and travel on your own around the east coast.
Financial Aid Information
- All UCDC participants are encouraged to complete a FAFSA by the priority deadline to ensure that you are considered for any financial aid for which you may be eligible.
- Financial aid eligibility criteria are the same whether studying in UCDC or at UCSB. All UCSB financial aid is available to qualified UCDC students (except federal work-study).
- The UCSB Financial Aid office adjusts aid awards to meet the increased cost of the UCDC Program. Upon selection, UCDC will provide participant names to the Financial Aid office so the participants' financial aid awards can be recalculated based on the estimated costs listed in the table above.
The following scholarships are available to UCSB students participating in UCDC.
Year-Round Scholarships (Every Quarter):
- The Robert T. Matsui - UC Fellowship requires a separate application. More information on who is eligible and how to apply can be found here.
- The Public Service scholarship is a need-based scholarship open to anyone interning in the field of public service. No separate application is necessary.
- The Capps Intern Fellowship is open to those who intend to pursue a career in public life who have an expressed interest in how government works. More information on eligibility can be found in UCSB's UCDC office (Library 1576, ground floor Oceanside).
- The Undergraduate Education Office Travel Voucher provides two students with up to $500 towards the purchase of their airfare to/from D.C.
Fall Only Scholarships:
- The Presidential Public Service Fellowship is available to students pursuing public service internships in Washington, D.C.
Additional funding can also be found through both Student Affairs and Career Services.
Year-Round Funding (Every Quarter):
- The Community Financial Fund is provided through Student Affairs and is open to all undergraduates.
Summer Only Scholarships:
- The Internship Scholarship Program is offered by Career Services and provides $1,500 scholarships to students.