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HOW TO APPLY
2018 Washington DC Placement Program Applications were open until midnight Monday, 21 August 2017, but have now closed.
If you wish to register your interest for next year's program please do so here.
The cost of the Washington DC Placement Program is a combination of three fees program package fee, the University of Sydney Business School tuition fee for the professional placement unit, and additional costs.
the program package fee is quoted in US dollars, as the majority of the costs covered under this fee are payable in US dollars. However, the final amount payable will be in Australian dollars and the exchange rate will be determined one week before the deadline for the final fee payment.
Remember to look at the Scholarship section below for ways of assisting your program costs.
1. Program Package Fees
2. University of Sydney United States Studes Centre tuition
||Fee in USD
- University of California Washington Center units (choice of two from all evening courses on offer)
- Accommodation for 9-weeks
- Activities in the US
- Health and travel insurances
- Administrative costs
- Pre-departure seminars and cultural activities in Washington DC
University of Sydney United States Studies Centre USSC2605 WDC Placement Program unit:
Local CSP Band 5
Local Full Fee AU$4125#
# indicative only as actual fee is determined by your enrolled course
3. Additional costs
Students are also responsible for the following costs:
- Visa application and lodgement costs for an F-1 visa to the United States. Refer to the Embassy of the United States for details.
- Return airfares to Washington DC and airport transfers
- All meals, entertainment costs and personal expenses
- We estimate that these extra costs for the Washington DC Placement Program are approximately AU$5000 but will vary depending on personal circumstances.
We estimate that these extra costs for the WDC Placement Program are approximately AU$5000 but will vary depending on personal circumstances.
Program package fee
The program package fee must be paid in Australian dollars and the exchange rate will be determined one week before the deadline for the final fee payment (see Important Dates). Participants will be given information on how to submit their payment once accepted to the program.
1. In the event that the Washington DC Placement Program is cancelled, students will receive 100% refund of program fees.
2. Upon accepting their offer, all students must pay a deposit of AU$1000, which will only be refunded if the program is cancelled, or if your visa is denied.
3. Students who withdraw from the Washington DC Placement Program prior to close of business on Friday, 27 October 2017 will receive a full refund of any program fees paid, less the AU$1000 deposit.
4. Students who withdraw from the Washington DC Placement Program after close of business on Friday, 27 October 2017 will not receive a refund of any fees paid.
5. Applications to withdraw from the Washington DC Placement Program must be received in writing and lodged with the Perth USAsia Centre by the relevant date. The Perth USAsia Centre requests that students withdraw no later than Friday, 27 October 2017.
The Perth USAsia Centre and US Studies Centre Scholarships
ThePerth USAsia Centre and the United States Studies Centre will offer some partial merit and equity based scholarships to support students participating in the Washington DC Placement Program. The Centres will determine the number and total value of the scholarships.
Students wishing to be considered for a partial scholarship are required to complete the scholarship question on the application form and if relevant, attach supporting documents. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on financial need, merit, leadership capabilities and extracurricular achievement.
Eligible students will be able to apply for an OS-HELP Loan. OS-HELP can be used for a range of expenses such as airfares, accommodation, and other travel or study expenses. Students can apply for a maximum loan of up to $6,567. For more information about the loan scheme and to see if you’re eligible, please visit the UWA OS-Help
website. Applications close on 31 October 2017.
Eligible students will be able to apply for a $1500 Study Abroad Scholarship.
The University, in recognition of the importance to its students of having an opportunity to devote part of their course to study overseas, having made available a sum of money to provide scholarships to cover travel and other costs associated with study abroad. This Scholarship is administered by the Study Abroad Office. To see if you are eligible please visit the Study Abroad
Please note: no full scholarships will be provided. Students should ensure that they have the financial means to support themselves for the entire the duration of the program.
Please note that as the University of Sydney United States Studies Centre USSC2605 WDC Placement Program unit is a Local CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place) Band 5, this is able to be HECS'd.
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The Washington DC Placement Program has been designed to give students an understanding of the US political system in the heart of the nation’s capitol. Students will complete courses alongside students from the University of California campuses, as well as visiting students from other universities across the US. During their time on the placement program students will complete two courses offered by the Unviersity of California at the UCDC facility and one course offered by the University of Sydney United States Studies Centre USSC2605. This unit, offered by the University of Syndey's Business School, is compulsory for all students accepted into the program. The unit involves students undertaking a professional placement in Washington DC as well as preparatory coursework in reflective and professional practice and concurrent coursework on research methods, reporting and other professional writing skills. Assessment will include a reflective journal, research essay, and oral presentations based on the internship professional placement and study abroad experience.
For the remaining two courses students will be asked to rank the a provided list of evening seminars and electives offered by UCDC in order of preference and will be placed into two units according to UCDC processes. These courses are commonly related to law, politics, diplomacy, international business and relations and other similar fields.
It is not a requirement to obtain credit towards your degree for completion of the study units, but it is desirable.
Please find below the 2018 UCDC study units on offer (these may be subject to change):
Course Name: Politics of Water Policy
Professor: Jim Desveaux
Campus Affiliation: UCLA
As the title suggests, this course is about of the trenchant policy problems of our time, policy regarding the availability, uses, and distribution of water, particularly in arid parts of the world. Though the focus of the class will be the American West (west of the 100th meridian), I will bring into discussion—and invite discussion—about water policy dynamics in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Australia, where there exists conflict or potential for conflict over riparian rights. This class will take 3 different cuts at water policy, organized around the frames of politics, organization, and technology. We will learn about the history and logic behind the major policies in place for most of the past hundred years, what incentives were created under those policies, and how various interests with stakes in maintaining or changing aspects of water policy constraint or create openings for change. We will spend some time discussing some of the more significant actors involved in water policy, such as the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Army Corps of Engineers, that have shaped our current world. And no class on water policy would be complete without a discussion of the technological possibilities for helping us navigate our way out of crisis, through new methods of conservation, water desalinization, waste water recycling, etc. What is the potential for technology in this domain?
Course Name: Race and Ethnic Politics from Obama to Trump
Professor: Menna Demessie
Campus Affiliation: Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
This course will examine the fundamental theories of race and representation as it applies to the lived experiences and quest for freedom, justice, and equality on part of African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans and other groups from President Obama to President Trump. Following the election and reelection of the first black president of the United States, President Barack Obama has transformed the political landscape in ways that have challenged traditional notions of descriptive and substantive representation while also bringing to the forefront of political science discourse serious engagement of race and representation scholarship. Additionally, the Trump administration has brought to the forefront the ways in which identity politics and white nationalism operate within the context of political inclusion and racial representation. This course will provide an analysis of the public policy and sociopolitical impact of both presidents as it relates to the racial and ethnic demographic shifts in the American polity.
Course Name: Money, Media, and Message
Professor: Steve Scully
Campus Affiliation: C-Span
This course will look at all aspects of national campaigns, from the evolution of political parties and advertising, to the messages of potential 2016 candidates, the impact of social media and role of outside interest groups. The class will provide historical context in order to put current events into perspective, as well as lead lively classroom discussions and debates on the state of America’s political system.
Course Name: Human Rights Professor: Michael Danielson Campus Affiliation: UCDC
Professor: Michael Danielson
Campus Affiliation: UCDC
The course begins by examining the philosophical and political foundations of the international human rights movement, and probes debates over universality, culture, and human rights. The course also includes an introduction to the United Nations and regional systems for the protection and promotion of human rights, including tools for analyzing forms of interventions that purport to promote peace and justice. Among the issues addressed are: the law of war, refugee law, counter-terrorism and civil liberties on the home front, truth commissions and transitional justice. In particular, we will examine the utility of human rights treaties, regimes, organizations and coalitions for assessing accountability, promoting reconciliation, and protecting the abused and endangered. Students will be challenged to draw upon cases (domestic and global) to broaden their understandings of what constitutes a right, an abuse, and a protection. Contemporary and historical case studies will be explored, and students will have an opportunity to more deeply study a particular case of a human rights violation, including an examination of the deep and proximate causes, ways that the violations could have been avoided, and pathways toward alleviation, reconciliation, and justice.
Course Name: Modern Political Campaigns
Professor: Michael Cohen
Campus Affiliation: Camp Consult
This course offers a unique overview of modern political campaigns. It balances the important theories of democratic participation and historical context of elections with an understanding of what it takes to design and execute a modern political campaign. In addition to weekly readings, students will gain experience through course projects focused on candidate research, campaign planning, traditional and digital media, analytics and polling, and mobilizing voters on Election Day. This course will also cover the shift in campaign financing which has expanded the participation and influence of groups unaffiliated with candidates. We will host several guest speakers who have professional campaign experience.
Course Name: Law and Society
Professor: Jennifer Diascro
Campus Affiliation: UCDC
In this course, we will examine the relationship between the rules that govern us (law) and how we organize ourselves into communities (society), with the ultimate goal of understanding how American democracy works (or doesn’t work) to meet the needs of the people. In addition to exploring how law reflects our values, traditions, and rights, we will focus on the role of legal institutions (largely judicial, but also legislative) in resolving conflicts among competing values, traditions, and rights that define our society. And we will examine how individuals and groups work among those institutions to achieve preferred policy outcomes.
Course Name: U.S. Foreign Policy
This course examines contemporary issues in U.S. foreign policy, focusing primarily on a series of regional case studies including U.S.-Iranian relations, U.S. and the Middle East peace process, U.S. and Japan, the Koreas & East Asia and the U.S. in Central Asia (Afghanistan/Pakistan). Although the course is organized on a regional basis, we will explore a number of recurring themes including: nuclear proliferation; the problems of weak and failing states; relations with China and Russia; terrorism and counterterrorism; resource competition; the importance of culture and national identity; and the economics of national security.
Course Name: The United States Supreme Court
Professor: Jessica Gresko
Gay marriage. The death penalty. Abortion. Health care. Cell phone privacy. The U.S. Supreme Court has heard cases on all of these topics in recent years, and its decisions ultimately touch the lives of all Americans. In this class we will study the Supreme Court's place in the U.S. legal system. Topics we will cover include: how a case gets to the court, the justices, the role of lawyers before the court, the purpose of oral argument, the court building and its symbolism, and media coverage of the court. Readings will range from newspaper and magazine stories to law review articles. At least once during the semester students will attend an oral argument, and cases currently before the court will be used as a reference point for class discussion. This class is geared not only toward anyone who is interested in the law or government service but also toward anyone interested in working on or being informed about the biggest issues of the day.
Course Name: International Development
Professor: Loubna Skalli-Hanna
This is an introductory course to the international development field. The focus is on some of the key questions, challenges and achievements in this field. Materials from the course (readings, documentaries, discussions of current events) will enhance your understanding of the dominant approaches to poverty alleviation, the role of inter/national development actors, organizations and institutions, the promises of post-2015 Development Goals including the empowerment of women and youth. You will be exposed to the theoretical foundations of the field and will be required to make sense of these by following current events and drawing on your internship experiences in the nation’s Capital as well as your interactions with various experts, policy makers and development practitioners. The ultimate goal of the course is to enhance your understanding of the various causes and consequences of development problems and encourage you to develop individual perspective on effective strategies for change.
Students on the program will be allocated to a professional placement relevant to their field of study or interest. Students will intern four days a week, Monday through to Thursday for the duration of the program. Though the skill set for each internship will vary, the same core requirements will hold for all: professionalism, integrity, strong oral and written communication, research skills, and the ability to work as part of a team. During this placement students will gain invaluable work expeirence in one of the most vibrant American working landscapes, make long-lasting professional contacts and be involved in significant organisations close to the heart of government. Students in past programs have previously interned at varied placements including:
• American Enterprise Institute (AEI): AEI is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics and social welfare. Internship opportunities are available in the following overarching areas: economic policy, foreign and defense policy, social and political studies, public relations, The American online magazine, publications editing, marketing, government relations, and communications.
• Asia Foundation: The Asia Foundation, is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that is committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Asia Foundation will host up to two interns to work in its Washington office to staff its program series of lectures, roundtables and conferences with policy makers from the region.
• Capitol Hill: There are number of placements available with members of Congress and Senators. These include Congressman Peter Roskam, The Republican's Deputy Chief Whip, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D), Congressman Brian Bilbray (R), and Senator James Inhofe (R). Students interning on the Hill will do a range of duties from responding to calls from constituents, giving Capitol tours, research for staff, and working on special projects.
• Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS): CSIS is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center’s 220 full-time staff and large network of affiliated scholars conduct research and analysis and develop policy initiatives that look to the future and anticipate change. Since 1962, CSIS has been dedicated to finding ways to sustain American prominence and prosperity as a force for good in the world. After 50 years, CSIS has become one of the world’s preeminent international policy institutions focused on defense and security; regional stability; and transnational challenges ranging from energy and climate to global development and economic integration.
• Council of the District of Columbia: This placement opportunity is in the office of Councilmember Tommy Wells of the Council of the District of Columbia (Washington DC). The internship includes a variety of responsibilities including research for staff and special projects, in the areas of regulation, transportation innovation, and other areas of government-business relations.
• DC Office of Planning (OP): The DC Office of Planning performs planning for neighbourhoods, corridors, districts, historic preservation, public facilities, parks and open spaces, and individual sites across the District of Columbia. In addition, it engages in urban design, land use, and historic preservation review. OP also conducts historic resources research and community visioning, and manages, analyses, maps, and disseminates spatial and US Census data. The internship includes a variety of responsibilities including research for staff and special marketing and other communications projects related to general DC planning and matters pertaining to the city's business district.
• Downtown Business Improvement District: The Downtown Business Improvement District, is a private non-profit organisation that provides capital improvements, resources and research to enhance downtown Washington DC. The organisation will host up to three interns to work on special projects assessing the state of the downtown area and strategies for raising funds to improve it.
• East-West Center: The East-West Center established by the US Congress in 1960, works to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific. It will host up to two interns to support the mission of its Washington office - to prepare the US for an era of growing Asia-Pacific prominence.
• Global Giving: Global Giving is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for social enterprises aimed at working to educate children, feed the hungry, build houses, train women (and men) with job skills. Interns will work on special projects to assist in the work of the organisation including micro-financing.
• International Economic Development Council: The International Economic Development Council, a non-profit membership organisation dedicated to helping economic developers do their job more effectively, will host up to three interns to work on their disaster recovery and sustainability programs of research and policy implementation.
• Rio Tinto: Rio Tinto is a leading global mining and metals company. Our focus is on finding, mining and processing the Earth's mineral resources in order to maximise value for our shareholders. We have the people, capabilities and resources to supply a world hungry for metals and minerals. Construction, communication, recreation, transport, healthcare and renewable energy: all these industries, and many more, rely on the products we supply.
• Sidley Austin LLP: Sidley Austin is a global law firm, with 17 offices around the world. The student on this placement will work primarily with Sidley Austin's international trade and dispute resolution practice group, which provides services to clients in the area of: customs, export controls and economic sanctions; trade remedies; trade and investment policy and negotiations; foreign investment reviews; disputes arising under the World Trade Organization or free trade agreements; disputes arising under international investment treaties; international commercial arbitration.
• The Institute of International Finance: The IIF is a global association of financial institutions created to meet the changing needs of the financial community. Members include most of the world’s largest commercial banks and investment banks, as well as a growing number of insurance companies and investment management firms. Among the Institute’s members are commercial and investment banks, sovereign wealth funds, asset managers, hedge funds, insurance companies, multinational corporations, law firms, export credit agencies, multilateral agencies, development banks, and other organizations providing products and services to financial services community. Interns will work on projects related to the work of the organisation.
Accommodation will be provided for the entire duration of the program in the fully contained UCDC building. The building is located opposite the Australian Embassy and five blocks from the White House. It includes residential apartments for over 270 staff and students, as well lecture halls, seminar rooms and recreational facilities.
All students must stay in the accommodation provided by UCDC. This is a requirement of the course. Students are not permitted to stay with family or friends or to otherwise arrange their own accommodation under any circumstances.
Students will have access to the following UCDC residential facilities:
• 24-hr Fitness Centre
• Computer Lab
• Recreational space
• Laundry rooms
• Cable TV and Wi-Fi
• Mental Health Services
• Residential Life
Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements to and from Washington DC. Students should arrive in Washington DC and move into UCDC on Saturday, 6 January 2018 or Sunday, 7 January 2018
Students are also strongly advised not to make any international travel plans until their US visas have been approved. If for any reason you have not received your visa, you will be responsible for any fees for changing your flights. Please be reminded that the US Consulate takes your passports to process your visa.
All students are asked register their travel and contact details with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade prior to leaving Australia (Smart Traveller
Travel advice for the United States of America is also available at Smart Traveller.
Embassy of Australia
1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036-2273
Facsimile: 1 202 797 3331
The UCDC campus is located opposite to the Embassy of Australia.
The program package fees include health insurance coverage provided for UCDC students through UCLA Extension. In addition, UWA provide travel insurance coverage to enrolled students travelling on approved university business, student placement and student exchange programs. For information on the policies, visit the UWA Website.
Students are also strongly advised to ensure that they have sufficient funds while in DC to cover the payment of unforeseen medical expenses, as US doctors and hospitals may require cash payment upfront for treatment. These expenses can generally be claimed on return to your home country through your travel insurance provider.
Passports and visas
It is the responsibility of all participating students to ensure they have a valid passport upon application to the DC Placement Program. Note: your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the end of the program date. If your passport is due to expire within 6 months of the program end date, you must apply immediately for a new passport upon being accepted into the program.
The Perth USAsia Centre will guide all successful applicants through the F-1 visa process at the first pre-departure session, although it is the sole responsibility of each student to obtain their visa in a timely manner. Prompt return of information and completion of documents required will be detrimental to the process and issuance of Visas.
Please refer to the US Embassy
for all visa requirements.
What are the benefits of participating in the Washington DC Placement Program?
If selected as a participant you will:
Who organises the program?
- Gain invaluable international experience
- Learn about the intricacies of American business, culture and politics
- Network with business leaders, government officials and students from all over the world
- Receive credit towards your degree at UWA
- Complement your studies through a professional placement in a top organisation
The Washington DC Placement Program is run by the United States Studies Centre and is made available to UWA undergraduate commerce and arts students through the Perth USAsia Centre.
Who else will be on the program?
This Washington DC Program is also open to University of Sydney undergraduate students in the Arts or Business Faculty.
I have not yet completed 48 credit points of study - am I still eligible?
If you will have completed 48 credit points of study by the end of Semester II you are eligible to apply for this program.
Do I get to pick my units of study?
You are required to do the USSC2605 Washington DC Placement Program unit. You will be asked to rank the available evening seminars and electives offered by UCDC in order of preference and will be placed into two units according to UCDC processes. Please note you will likely not receive your top two choices due to high demand.
How much credit will I receive towards my degree?
Upon successful completion of all three units of study, you will receive up to 18 credit points towards your degree depending on your degree progression and credit approvals.
How long is the placement?
The placement will occur over a period of nine weeks. You will work four days a week, Monday to Thursday. Hours per week will be determined by the host organisation and will be agreed to prior to commencement of the placement.
How is my placement organised?
As fair as possible, students will be allocated to a placement according to their educational background and interests. However, this is dependent on availability and it is not possible to guarantee that an intern's role will be directly related to their particular area of study.
What kind of organisation will I be working for?
Placements are available in a wide variety of organisations including business, government, think tanks etc.
What do I do during my placement?
Tasks will be agreed to at the outset of the placement and will vary between organisations.
Will I be assigned tasks or to a department specifically related to my degree?
Potentially, however the placement should be considered as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and learn new skills.
Do I get paid for my placement?
No, all placements are unpaid, as you earn credit points towards your degree.
Can I receive academic credit for my placement?
Yes. The placement is a significant component of the compulsory unit of study USSC2605, which upon successful completion will be credited towards your degree.
What should I do to prepare for the placement?
Attend the compulsory pre-departure sessions. Students should also undertake independent research about American culture, traditions and customs, local weather and conversion rates. Upon being notified of your placement, you should conduct research about the organisation.
What should I do if I encounter problems during my placement?
You should consult the staff on the program, whose contact details will be available from the outset of the program.
I am not a student at the University of Western Australia. Am I still eligible to apply for the Placement Program?
No. The Washington DC Placement Program is exclusively offered to students completing an undergraduate arts or commerce degree (including combined degrees) at the University of Western Australia.
Can the units of study be credited towards my major?
No. Units of study can only be credited towards the elective component of your degree. If you've already completed all of your elective units, you may still able to complete the program and have the credit you receive count as additional electives towards your degree.
I am an international student. Am I still eligible to apply?
International students are eligible to apply. You should refer to the U.S. Embassy
for further information about visa eligibility.
What is an academic reference?
Your academic referee should be a lecturer, tutor etc. who has taught you in the last two years. They should be able to refer to your capacity to meet assignment deadlines, the quality of work submitted, your level of participation in class discussions, how you work with others and on your own, and your motivation and self-discipline.
What is a non-academic reference?
Your non-academic referee should be someone who knows you and your character well (often also called a 'character reference'). It should not be written by a family member. The reference should refer to how long the person has known you and in what capacity. They may wish to refer to your potential, skills, abilities and strengths and accomplishments, but most importantly they should refer to your character, reliability and level of commitment.
What is a graded paper?
Your graded paper must not exceed five pages. It should be a paper that has been handed in for class - or a project (ie. as an intern). It doesn't necessarily have to show a grade, but should showcase your writing skills as it may be shown to potential host companies.
When will I be notified if my application is successful?
All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by 8 September 2017.
Is accommodation provided for the entire duration of the program?
Yes. Student accommodation will be arranged by the United States Studies Centre. Students are not permitted to stay with family or friends or to otherwise arrange their own accommodation under any circumstances.
Fees and scholarships
What is the closing date for the payment of fees?
Full fee payment is due by close of business on 17 November 2017.
What do the fees cover?
The program fees cover the costs for both units of study undertaken at UCDC, accommodation, health insurance, administration, some extra-curricular activities, and use of facilities. Students are also liable for additional costs including: visas, return airfares and airport transfers, food and entertainment and any other associated costs.
How do I pay my program fees?
Payments can be made by via the University of Sydney online payment system. Details will be provided to all students accepted into the program.
How do I cancel my application?
Applications to withdraw from the Washington DC Placement Program must be received in writing and lodged with the Perth USAsia Centre.
Do I need to submit a separate application to be considered for a scholarship?
A separate application is not required. Students should complete the field on the application entry form relating specifically to scholarships. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on merit, personal qualities (as demonstrated in their application) and financial need.
Will any full scholarships be offered?
Only some partial scholarships will be offered. Before applying to the program, students should ensure that they have the financial means to support themselves for the duration of the program.
When will I be notified if I was successful in acquiring a scholarship?
Successful applicants will be notified as soon as the scholarships package is finalised.