In the Classroom

Students in the Washington Program take classes taught by faculty that are experts and practitioners in their fields. Classes are held at Notre Dame's Keough School of Global Affairs Washington Office, in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. All students take a 15 credit semester. The Required courses during the day on Thursday and electives take place in the evenings.

Required core courses

Thoughtful Students Talk

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.

You can read our course description here.

Unique clinics

The ND Washington Program offers our students unique, 1-credit opportunities through our Human Rights Clinic. In these courses, students gain hands-on experience in human rights advocacy work.


Classes are typically held in-person, but ND reserves the right to change the manner of delivery as it deems necessary in its sole discretion in response to changing circumstances or, if needed, to protect the health or safety of students, faculty and staff.