Lincoln Memorial

Required Core Courses

Foundations of Public Policy

This seminar addresses the fundamental ideas that organize, describe, and define public policy in the United States. Using a variety of classical and modern texts, students will consider how these fundamental ideas serve to shape both the debate regarding particular policies, as well as the institutions responsible for their implementation. Of special importance to the seminar is the development of critical and analytical skills to understand and evaluate public policy. 

*This course fulfills a University 2nd Philosophy requirement and is also cross-listed with Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, and the Hesburgh Program in Public Service. 

Public Policy Visits

This graded, three-credit course is the companion to the Foundations of Public Policy. Co-curricular policy visits expose students to institutions, organizations, and decision-makers in Washington.

Washington DC Internship

Students secure an internship of their choosing and work 24+ hours per week. The internship does not need to be politics or policy related. This course is three credits, graded S/U. The Washington Program staff works directly with each student to identify professional objectives, and offers extensive resources to assist them in securing an intellectually-rewarding internship.


To round out their academic schedule, students take two additional three-credit courses offered by the University of California Washington Center (UCDC) consortium, which includes Notre Dame, the University of California, the University of Michigan, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Pennsylvania. Most courses are in Political Science or related fields. Occasionally there are Fine Arts courses (theatre course and poetry writing). Prospective students should know that language and STEM courses are not available. When considering courses, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) to see which courses will allow them to stay on track with academic requirements for their major.

Courses are posted here, be sure to select a semester from the drop down menu. Available courses are listed under “Semester Electives” near the bottom of the page.

Unique Clinics

The ND Washington Program offers our students unique, 1-credit opportunities to gain hands-on experience in human rights advocacy work.

Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act Clinic  

This course will introduce students to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, and Executive Order 13818, and will require students to jointly prepare one case file submission identifying a foreign individual or entity that has engaged in (1) serious human rights abuses, or (2) significant acts of corruption. Students will work in a team, and will present their final work product to Human Rights First (a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for International Human Rights) to be vetted for possible inclusion in HRF's consolidated submission to the State Department and Treasury Department requesting that sanctions be levied against the identified individual or entity.

United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Clinic

This clinic will introduce students to the special procedures of the U.N. Human Rights Council and will require students to jointly prepare a petition to submit to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, whose mandate is to "investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or otherwise inconsistently with the relevant international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Working in a team, students will advocate on behalf of a prisoner of conscience who has been detained solely because of his or her political beliefs, religion, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, native language, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic status, and who has not used or promoted violence.

Independent Study

Students also have the opportunity to pursue (for credit) an independent project related to their interests. Independent study courses must be arranged by the student and on-campus department prior to their arrival in Washington.