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. Internships are a mix of in-person, hybrid, and remote experiences.
To round out their academic schedule, students take two additional three-credit electives from a small selection taught by Notre Dame faculty. Most courses are in Political Science or related fields. 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.
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) to be vetted for possible submission to the State Department and Treasury Department requesting that Global Magnitsky Act sanctions be levied against the identified individual or entity.
- Spring 2020: Students prepared a brief requesting sanctions against a Maltese oligarch, two high-level politicians (Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri) in the former Maltese government, and several members of the Maltese underworld who are allegedly responsible for the car bomb assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October 2017. The students work was evaluated by the State Department, and in December 2021, the State Department announced that Mizzi and Schembri as well as their families would be ineligible for entry into the U.S.
- Winter Session 2021: Students prepared two dossiers requesting sanctions against kleptocratic elites from the Republic of Congo who pilfered funds from state coffers and invested it in real estate in New York City and Miami.
United Nations Special Procedures/Periodic Review Clinic
- Fall 2021: students drafted petitions to the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of two Vietnamese human rights defenders serving lengthy prison sentences for criticizing the government. They also provided virtual training to students from Dagon University in Myanmar regarding United Nations human rights mechanisms available to assist in determining the fate or whereabouts of their detained and missing classmates.
- Spring 2022: students drafted a submission regarding the human rights situation in Bahrain, which will be reviewed by the U.N. Human Rights Council in the Universal Periodic Review during its 41st session.
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.