Guide to CAPPP Quarter in Washington

Looking to study off campus but don’t want to leave the country? Looking for a study abroad option that fits well into the quarter system? Interested in politics or social social research?

The UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy offers the Quarter in Washington Program every quarter throughout the year. The 10 week, with credit eligible for Political Science, Sociology, History and Communications majors, gives you the opportunity to intern throughout the week and take part in a research seminar where you create your own 20-30 page independent research project. Because CAPPP only sends 30 UCLA undergraduate students each quarter, there is a thorough application process. Here is some advice on how to present a killer application and how to make your time in Washington, D.C. worth while!

The Application

There are six documents to turn in to start your application process: the main form, your resume, transcripts, a letter of recommendation, dean’s certification and a one-page essay on the question you want to explore in your research during your time in Washington, D.C.

The one-page essay is one of the most important components of your application because it demonstrates your writing skills and ability to form a good research question you are knowledgeable about, which are very important components of the program. If you are passionate about the topic you select, it will make the process a lot easier!

The Interview

If you are chosen to proceed in the process, you will be contacted to sign up for a one-on-one interview with CAPPP Professor James Desveaux. In the interview, the discussion will be primarily about the research topic you want to proceed with. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the subject and have some sort of idea about how you want to proceed. If you present a topic that is unique and can provide something new, it will help you stand apart from other applicants.

Applying to Internships

For students looking to go into policy, politics, law, media, government and more, Washington, D.C. is one of the best places to be. With thousands of undergraduate internship opportunities in agencies and organizations across the board, there is a good fit for everyone.

To make sure you get an internship that you are happy with and excited about, it is important to start applying to places very early. Once you have been admitted to the program, your search should begin. To get started, you can scroll through the internship database or one of the abundant resources listed on the CAPPP website. You can also go into the office for guidance or contact the internship counselor you will be paired with out in D.C. Additionally, there are pamphlets with CAPPP student’s past internships, which are very helpful to gage potential internship ideas.

When deciding on which internship you want to choose, make sure to ask questions about intern duties and responsibilities. Many internships on Capitol Hill are very administrative, so it is important to make sure you are given other substantial responsibilities.

Moving to D.C.

The location of the UC Washington Center is prime, right in the heart of Dupont Circle! Just a walk away from the White House and Monuments, and a quick subway from Capitol Hill and Smithsonian museums, it is very easy to get around the city.

The city has a large college student population and many young professions, which makes the clubs, bars and happy hours very fun to attend. Some spots right in Dupont Circle include Decades, Heist and Mad Hatter. There are also tons of great restaurants in the area, ranging from french cuisine at Le Diplomate, italian food at RPM Italian, and indian food at Rasika.

Make sure to prepare for the weather as the fall and winter quarters can get very cold with many snow days!

Research Seminar

For the research seminar, students meet with Professor James Desveaux once a week for a three-hour class. With group and one-on-one settings, the seminar moves through the steps of strengthening your research topic, creating a research proposal and gradually working on drafts until you research your final product: a 20-30 page paper and presentation on any topic you choose. This is a great opportunity to strengthen your resume and have real experience doing research, which is a major benefit for students applying to graduate school.

The most important thing to consider when conducting your research is the topic you choose. As you are dedicating 10 weeks of your time to this original research, the topic you choose should be of great interest to you. Find something you are passionate about learning or something that you want to use to create change. Without a topic you feel confident and excited about, it will be a long 10-week journey.

If you want to get a head start on your career, conduct some independent research, or just explore a new city for a quarter, attend a review session soon and get applying!