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For Parents

D.C. Sendoff Meeting for Students and Parents

  • Students are required to attend this meeting.
  • Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend in person or via viaconference.  
  • Professor Bednar and the program administrator will lead the meeting and Dr. Howard, D.C. based program manager, will be present via videoconference.
  • There will be ample Q&A time.  

General Information and Planning

There is something for everyone in Washington DC; it is an epicenter not only for politics, but for policy-making that impacts almost everyone in every field.  During a Washington semester, students gain exposure to DC resources and people in the capital through connections on the MIW Board and the UM DC Alumni Club.  Past MIW students have come from a variety of academic disciplines including the arts and cultural studies to engineering and science.  

The MIW program runs fall and winter terms.  Students admitted to the program work four days a week at an internship and carry a full course load, which includes a research course where they produce a formal paper on a topic of their choice.  There are fewer interns in DC during the academic year, which means that substantive internships tend to be more available.  

Students interested in a Washington semester during the summer should consider the Public Service Internship Program offered through the Student Career Center.  Many MIW students have participated in both programs.  

In addition to being an academic/living & learning program, MIW is a professionalization program; students are coached on resume and cover letter preparation, internship searching and interviewing, and negotiating multiple internship offers before their Washington semester.  

Most students admitted to MIW are juniors and seniors with a 3.0 or higher grade point average.  Past public service interest and background are considered along with grades and other activities.  Every student who applies to the program is interviewed.  

The best time to start planning a Washington semester is freshman year, particularly for students in programs with strict upper level course requirements where a semester cannot be missed without a delay in graduation.  Students should meet with their advisor to map out their courses; MIW instructors will work with advisors as needed.  Advisor signatures are required for all students who apply to the program.  

Benefits and Costs of a Washington Semester


Tuition for the Washington semester is the same as it would be for a semester in Ann Arbor.  However, the incremental cost of the program can be up to $5,000 or more for the semester, depending on specifics particular to the student (lost work study, travel costs, cost of clothing, and overall higher housing, food and other costs in Washington outlined in more detail under Apply to MIW). All financial aid (minus work study) follows the student to D.C. If you have specific questions about program costs and your situation, please contact the program administrator at


Students who are admitted to the program are automatically considered for scholarship funding based on financial need. MIW works with the Office of Financial Aid to determine eligibility. (Athletes are not eligible for the stipend.)


  • Work experience in desired field, acquire job search skills.
  • Networking with professionals in DC and contacts for future activities.
  • Learn to live and get around in a major city. 
  • Exposure to cultural activities and monuments in DC and surrounding areas.
  • Make friends from other universities in the residence hall.  


  • The Washington Center is less than a mile from the White House in a safe area of the city.  
  • Everyone must check in at the UCDC security desk, which is staffed 24/7.  
  • Access to the residential areas (4th floor and above) requires an electronic key (which students receive on arrival).  
  • Faculty and staff are generally present in the building during business hours and in the evenings when courses are conducted (9AM - 9PM).  
  • Students are coached at orientation on safety procedures to observe in the building and while out in the city.  Some students in the program have never been to a major metropolis.  
  • The MIW Program Manager is on call 24/7 for emergencies.  


  •  Students are required to have basic health insurance during the Washington semester.  Blue Cross offers a reasonably-priced Young Adult policy on a month to month basis.  
  • Students are required to provide at least two emergency contacts before arriving in DC.
  • Students must pace themselves from the beginning (i.e., eat properly and get enough rest) as the program is very demanding.  
  • An urgent care facility is located within two miles of the Center. 
  • Several excellent hospitals are in the area for more serious emergencies. 
  • Special health practitioners can be lined up in advance on request. 
  • Students using prescription medications are advised to bring a four-month supply.  

Zero Tolerance for Drugs and Underage Drinking

There is zero tolerance for drugs and underage drinking in the program.  Students who violate this policy may be expelled from the program and lose all credits and costs for the semester.