UC Washington Academic Internship Program

Frequently Asked Questions


FAQ for Prospective Applicants

  • What is the UCDC program?

    The UCDC Academic Internship Program is offered during the fall, winter, spring and summer quarters.  If you intern in DC during the academic year (fall, winter or spring) you will combine your internship with a seminar and an elective course as full-time student.  Financial Aid eligibility is maintained at UCR.  Juniors and seniors from all majors with a recommended 3.0 or above GPA are encouraged to apply.

    The UCDC program is also available in the summer and is a full 11-week program.

  • What is the application process for UCDC?

    You must submit a complete application by the published deadline.  This includes:

    1. application form
    2. two letters of recommendation (one MUST be from a UCR faculty member)
    3. Personal Statement (see application for instructions)
    4. Resume, and
    5. Official UCR transcript.  We do not need transcripts from previous universities.

    Incomplete applications will not be evaluated and may be deferred to a future quarter.

    Admission will be based on your ability to articulate your internship interests and goals, writing skills and ability, letters of recommendation, GPA and a personal interview.

  • How much does UCDC cost?

    You might be surprised how easy it is to afford the UCDC program.  Please take a look at the financial overview page for an estimated breakdown of the costs.  There are some fellowship opportunities available through the UCDC program which are also listed on the financial overview page.

  • Isn't UCDC only for students interested in law and politics?

    Absolutely not!  UCDC is open to all majors and interests.  There are many opportunities for students interested in journalism, communications, computer science, engineering, physical sciences, biology, arts and many more.  Check out the list of potential internship sites to get started.

  • How competitive is the program?

    The UCR UCDC program is selective rather than competitive.  We have 20 openings each for the fall, winter and spring quarters.  15 openings are available in the summer.  Typically we get about 25-30 applications for the most popular quarters (spring and summer).  This varies every quarter, so apply if you are interested!

  • Will my chances of getting in the the program be better if I turn my application in early?

    We encourage early applications (see deadlines) for the winter quarter because we accept students to the program on a rolling basis starting in May and continuing through October or until all 20 spaces are filled.

    Applications for fall, spring and summer aren't reviewed until after the posted deadline.  However if you'd like to turn your application in early, we'll gladly accept it!

  • Where will I live while I am in the UCDC Program?

    You will live in the UCDC Center.  The Center provides fully furnished apartments, a computer lab, small gym, TV lounge, laundry facilities, classrooms and much more.  The Center is under 24-hour security surveillance and is restricted to use by student residents, registered guests and staff of the UCDC program.  The Center is a few blocks away from the White House in the heart of DC and is within easy walking distance to the metro.

    Do I have to live in the UCDC Center?
    Yes.  Living in the building is required except under extreme circumstances.

  • How do I find an internship in DC?

    Once you are accepted to the UCDC program the UCDC staff works closely with you to assist with your resume, cover letter, phone interview techniques and general internship search resources.  The internships page is a good place to start your search.

  • What happens if I don't find an internship?

    It is extremely rare for students to leave Riverside without an internship secured because there are literally thousands of opportunities in DC.  We work closely with you to keep you on track with the search and help you present the strongest application materials to each internship site on your list.  The few students who have arrived in DC without an internship have found one within the first few days of the program.  Your goal of course will be to secure a position BEFORE you arrive in DC.

  • I'll be studying abroad during the application period.  Can I still apply?

    We encourage you to apply, but we caution that as a student abroad you may face obstacles.  During the application process we ask applicants to be present for an interview.  You'll need to be prepared to conduct this interview via telephone or Skype.  In addition, accepted students are expected to attend regular meetings both with the group and individually with program staff.  These meetings not only help prepare you for the UCDC experience, but serve as an opportunity for you to get to know your UCDC peers.  Because you won't be in Riverside, you'll miss out on these group meetings and you will have to find a way to access the information that you miss.  Finally, as a UCDC participant living abroad, you will need to be prepared to conduct interviews with potential internship sites.  These interviews most often take place by phone so you'll need to be prepared for extra costs you might incur.  All of this is possible and has been done before, but will require more work and dedication on your part.

  • Can I earn units for my internship?

    Yes, all students are required to earn units to go along with their internship experience.  You don't earn the units just for working at your internship site.  You'll also complete academic work for a faculty member back here at UCR.  Visit the courses section of this web site for more information about curriculum.

  • What is the difference between the UCDC Academic Internship Program and the UCDC Summer Internship Program?

    The Academic Internship Program takes place during the fall, winter and spring quarters.  Students are expected to enroll in at least 12 units in the academic program.

    The summer UCDC program has two different options.  Students can enroll in units of internship, elective, and/or seminar (6 units of enrollment is required for financial aid for summer UCDC participants).  Alternately, students may opt to participate in the summer UCDC program without enrolling in units.  Students who do not enroll are not eligible for financial aid.

    The summer program costs a bit less than the regular academic year program because students pay fees in summer on a per unit basis.  The cost of fees therefore depends on the number of units a student chooses to enroll in.  Other costs (housing, food, personal costs, etc.) remain about the same.

  • How many weeks does the UCDC program last?

    The regular programs in fall, winter, spring and summer are all about 11 weeks long, just like a normal quarter at UCR.

    We offer an extended program in the fall ONLY which allows students to spend about 16 weeks in DC.  The extended fall program starts at the end of August and ends in mid-December.

  • Do I have to be accepted into the UCDC program before I can seek internships in DC?

    Most students apply to the UCDC program first and then while in the program they seek and secure an internship in DC.  Students interested in applying for sites that have early deadlines (i.e. FBI, CIA, White House, State Department, etc.) should apply to those internships prior to applying to the UCDC program.  In addition, more motivated students tend to seek and apply to internships before they get accepted into the UCDC program.

FAQ for Current Participants

  • How soon should I start applying for internships?

    We recommend that you start applying as soon as you are accepted to the program.  If you are planning to apply for an internship that has an early deadline, you should go ahead with your application to that internship before the posted deadline to be sure you meet the requirements for that position

  • Where do I start looking for resources about internships in DC?

    A good starting point is the internships section of the UCDC web site.  There are databases and web sites that specialize in internships which have filters you can use to find opportunities specific to DC.

  • How many internships should I apply for?

    An average number of applications is around 20-25.  Keep in mind that you need to "cast your net" as wide as possible.  An ideal situation is to have about 7-8 interviews and 2-3 offers so that you can make the best decision possible about which internship you'd like to participate in.  In order to make that happen, you need to start applying for internships as soon as you are accpeted to the program and apply to at least 3-5 internships per week until you make a final decision.

  • The deadline has already passed for an internship I want.  Should I still apply?

    Some deadlines are strict while others are flexible.  It is recommended that students contact the organization directly to inquire if they are still accepting applications.

  • The internship start and end dates listed on the organization's web site are different than our school's quarter dates.  Is this a problem?

    Not usually.  Many organizations are more familiar with semester students and therefore list their internship opportunities as starting and ending according to those dates.  However, most of the time, they are open to quarter students' schedules as well.  Be sure to list your availability dates on your cover letter to be clear about your schedule.

  • I've been asked to provide a writing sample.  What do I give them?

    If the site does not give you a writing prompt or specific instructions then you can provide them with any writing sample that demonstrates your writing ability (2-3 pages).  This can be an excerpt from a well-written paper, an article that may have been published, or something similar.  It doesn't have to be directly related to the area of concentration of that internship site, but choose wisely and carefully.  Sometimes the organization will be specific about what they would like though not always.  Most of the time they are looking to be sure you write clearly and that you are able to use proper grammar and sentence structure.

  • What should I do if I get offered an internship but I am still waiting to hear from other organizations that I would rather work with?

    Organizations in DC know that you are applying to multiple organizations.  If you get offered something and you are waiting to hear from another site you really want, just ask that organization if you can take some time to think things over.  Ask if you can let them know in a week or two or find out what the latest possible date is that you can let them know about your decision.  Use the time they give you to think about your options and perhaps follow up with organizations that may be higher on your priority list.

  • What is the deadline for me to find an internship?

    You should plan to have an internship in place about 2 weeks before you leave for DC.  Calendar dates for each quarter are on the home page of this web site.

  • Does the UCDC program make my travel arrangements for me?

    No, you will be given the move-in dates and times and you are expected to arrive within those parameters.  You will make your own travel arrangements.

  • Can I choose my roommate?

    Yes.  You'll be given a questionnaire to fill out and you should indicate your preferred roommate on that form - even if your friend is from another UC campus.

FAQ for Summer Program

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career Opportunities

Undergraduate Education

UCR-UC Washington Academic Internship Program
1100A Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-2634
Fax: (951) 827-7745
E-mail: ucrucdc@ucr.edu