UC Washington Center (UCDC)


The UC Washington Center (UCDC) program offers qualified UC undergraduate students from any major an exciting opportunity to combine course work, field research, and professional experience during a quarter's residence in our nation's capital, Washington D.C. Please visit our UCR Events Calendar to learn about upcoming information sessions and deadlines.

Application Deadlines

Winter 2024: September 7, 2023
Spring 2024: November 9, 2023
Summer 2024: January 11, 2024
Fall 2024: April 4, 2024

Apply Here


Program Dates

Winter 2024: Jan. 6 - Mar. 15, 2024
Spring 2024: Mar. 23 - June 7, 2024
Summer 2024: Mid-June to Mid-August, 2024
Fall 2024: Mid-September to early December, 2024

UC Washington Center Tour


  • Courses

    You will participate in a required UCDC prep course, a core research seminar of your choice (4 units), an elective of your choice (4 units), and a UCR 198i internship course (8-16 units). Please contact your UCR academic advisor to begin discussing how the UCDC courses you plan to take will fit into your overall UCR academic plan.

    Students are expected to be enrolled in a minimum of 15 units. Total units earned varies by student.

    During the summer, the UCDC program only offers the internship course for credit (no core seminar or elective). Students will be enrolled in 8 units during the summer to be eligible for financial aid.

    UCDC Prep Course (0 units P/NP)

    This is a preparatory course you will take before leaving for your UCDC program. It will guide you through all the required steps you will need to find internships of interest, prepare your application materials, hone your interview skills, choose and be prepared for UCDC courses, and get the most out of your internship. It will also inform you about the support services and other programming the DC Center offers to ensure you have a successful UCDC experience.

    Internship Course (8-16 units graded)

    You will be enrolled in a 198i UCR course to receive academic credit for your internship, and there are many factors determining the amount of units enrolled. Most students will enroll in 8-10 units, which equates to 24-30 hours per week of work. The 198i course may count towards academic credit in most academic departments, with a syllabus and approval from an Instructor or Faculty of Record from their respective academic department.

    Core Research Seminar Course (4 units graded)

    This course is required of all UCDC participants (fall, winter, and spring quarters only). The course meets once per week and may include field trips and other outside activities. It serves as a weekly forum for students to share and enhance their knowledge of living and working in Washington, D.C. Students also will read about, experience, and analyze key Washington, D.C sites in a multi-disciplinary context. The seminar assignment is specific to a student's major and internship selection and is not campus-specific. Find a list of core seminars here!

    Elective Course (4 units graded)

    Taught by UC faculty in residence at the Center and Washington, DC area instructors, these courses are offered in many fields of interest including politics, public policy, art history, media, and economics. The courses incorporate institutions and sights of Washington, D.C., and meet one night a week, either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 6:00-9:00 PM. Find a list of electives here!

    “UCDC prepared me academically by allowing me to engage in research early on my undergraduate level. UCDC provides classes that are discussion-based and more hands-on compared to what you experience on campus. With plenty of think-tanks and organizations around Washington D.C., I learned a lot from other experts on various fields by attending those events and engaging with other people.” –Joseph Christian Agbagala, Political Science/International Affairs

  • Internships

    Once admitted to the UCDC program, the second phase begins of securing an internship! Students apply directly with organizations and are responsible for securing an internship. UCR staff and DC Center staff will support you through the process by helping you to: identify potential internships relevant to your research interests; provide internship search resources; prepare and review professional internship applications, resumes, and cover letters; interview effectively; and sort through offers.

    UCDC participants are eligible for paid, stipend, and academic credit-bearing internships. The availability and type of internships will depend on the organization, so please inquire directly with the organization for more information.

    Note: Please be aware many internship deadlines occur before the UCR campus application deadline for UCDC, so please plan ahead and start your internship research and applications early!

    Please follow our Guide to Getting a D.C. Internship.

    Internship Search Resources

    "Students should participate in UCDC if they want to jumpstart their career. UCDC is an opportunity to make connections that will get you further in life and gain some experience of what it is like working a 9-5 job. I would not be as mature and responsible as I am today had I not participated in UCDC." - Serena Alsup, Political Science

  • Housing

    The 11-story, mixed-use UC Washington Center located in the heart of Washington, D.C. serves as residence for almost 300 UC students and the home of the University's academic programs in the Nation's Capital.

    In addition, it houses the Office of Federal Governmental Relations, as well as other administrative and research units of the University. The DC Center boasts numerous teaching venues including a 90+ seat auditorium, a 300-person capacity multipurpose room that can be subdivided into three classrooms with moveable partitions, a computer lab, distance learning lab, two seminar rooms and four conference rooms. All venues will have access to the buildings extensive array of multimedia, network and Internet services as well as video-conferencing. The auditorium, located on the first floor, is designed to be a showcase for distance learning technology. It is not only a teaching venue, but a place for lectures, academic symposia, forums of educators, national policy makers and leaders and virtual town meetings.

    Students live in apartments, each housing four students. The apartments are two-bedroom, one-bath units, with a living room and kitchen. Students reside on the 4th through the 11th floors of the UC Washington Center. Laundry rooms are located on floors four, six and ten. The 4th floor has a fitness center, a patio, a lounge with a TV and games, as well as a convenience store located in the center.

    For more information about housing, visit UC Washington Center Residential Services.

  • Program Costs

    The following costs are estimates from the UCR Financial Aid Office and student surveys from the DC Center. Amounts are based on an 10-week quarter living in an on-campus residence hall. The charts are for comparison purposes only. Check our new brochure on Financing Capital Internship Programs!

      UCR Campus Expenses
    (per quarter estimates)
      UCDC Expenses
    (per quarter estimates)
    Tuition* $5,408 Tuition $5,408 (Summer $2,232)
    Room and board $4,000 Room and board $3,589 - $3,948
    Transportation $491 Round-trip airfare and local transportation** $850 - $1,020
    Books/supplies*** $433 Books/supplies*** $200
    Personal expenses*** $591

    Personal expenses***

    Groceries/other food ~$1,650
    Business attire ~$500
    Household supplies ~$165 - $472
    One-time bedding supplies ~$130 - $437
    Excursions/activities ~$440

    $130 - $1,650
    UCR estimated total $10,923 UCDC estimated total $10,177 - $12,226 (Summer $7,001 - $9,050)

    *Registration fees listed above are based on estimated costs per the UCR Financial Aid Office. Current amounts may vary. Summer fees are calculated on a per-unit charge. Visit UCR Summer Sessions for more information.
    **The DC Center has funded discounted DC Metro passes via the 'UPass' program, significantly lowering Metro costs (funding based on availability).
    *** These costs vary per student and are not part of academic expenses. Students indicate they tend to eat more meals at restaurants and spend more on entertainment while in DC. These costs may not apply to all students, but students must be aware of these costs and budget for the possibility of increased costs for UCSHIP, books, supplies, other personal expenses, meals, and experiences.

  • Financial Aid

    Check our new brochure on Financing Capital Internship Programs! The UCR Financial Aid Office calculates student financial aid awards to meet the needs of students participating in the UCDC program. The UCDC program recommends students consult with Financial Aid to determine their individual need and eligibility as it relates to UCDC program costs. Students participating in the summer UCDC program, who are eligible for financial aid, must enroll in at least 8 units in order to qualify.

    Scholarships and Other Awards

    • Tilga EXCEL+ Program Internship Fund
      The Division of Undergraduate Education, in partnership with UCR Foundation Board Trustee Wally Bakare and Provost Elizabeth Watkins, is offering grants of up to $6000 each to students who secure an un paid professional internship. For more information, click here.
    • UC Presidential Public Service Fellowship
      The award is $1000 and two students are chosen from every cohort. While the UCDC deadline may be later, please submit your application to the UCR UCDC Program Manager one week prior to review your materials. Then, we will forward your submission directly to UCDC. For more information, visit the UCDC website.
    • Honors Fellowship (available to University Honors students only)
      A fellowship is available to support University Honors students in the UCDC program. For more information, visit the University Honors website.
    • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
      The HACU program has compiled a list of scholarship resources that is available on their website

    Other Outside Scholarships

    Other Resources for Financial Assistance

  • How to Apply

    Selection Criteria

    Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. Admission is selective. To be eligible for consideration, students must:

    • Be in junior or senior standing prior to departure (90+ UC quarter units earned)
    • Complete at least two (2) upper-division courses in the major/area of concentration
    • Have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a strong academic record
    • Submit a complete application

    Admission will be based on the student's interests, narrative evaluations, letter of recommendation, and GPA.

    Application Materials

    Applications must be complete by the published deadline and include the items below:

    1. Application
    2. Cover Letter
    3. Resume
    4. Unofficial Transcript(s). If you are a transfer student, transcripts from your previous institution must be submitted.
    5. Letter of recommendation (LOR) 
    6. UCDC Applicant Pre-Survey

    *Incomplete applications will not be evaluated.

  • Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

    Guide to UCDC Letters of Recommendation

    One (1) letter of recommendation (LOR) is required with the UCDC program application, but it is also common when applying to internships, or any job prospects. Please submit an academic letter of recommendation (e.g. Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty, or Lecturer). Letters CANNOT come from TA's, advisors, friends, former employers, or family members.

    Please ask your professor to describe your abilities and qualities aimed at potential internship sites. It is important your letters include as much detailed information about you as possible. You can provide the form below to your recommenders to provide them with more information about what we are looking for. Please make sure it is clear to your recommenders these letters will be used to support your applications to additional internship sites as well and are submitted on official letterhead. Here are guidelines for obtaining a UCDC letter of recommendation.

    It is highly encouraged you submit an LOR by the UCR campus application deadline. If you are unsure one will be submitted by the deadline, please inform the UCR UCDC Program Manager by email (ucdc@ucr.edu) if you are having difficulties. Submit your LOR in your MyUCDC application, or if confidential, request your professor to email it as a PDF to ucdc@ucr.edu on official letterhead.

    Need help with your resume and cover letters?

    Visit the UCR Career Center's website for ideas and samples.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Is UCDC only for students interested in law and politics or majoring in POSC?

    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 more! Here is a list of where students have interned. Please consult with your UCR Academic Advisor how the UCDC coursework will apply to your UCR degree requirements.

    How competitive is the program?

    The UCDC program is selective rather than competitive. UCR has 21 openings each quarter. Typically, we receive 25-30 applications for the most popular quarters (fall and spring). This varies every quarter, so please apply early if interested. The rate of acceptance is high if students meet eligibility requirements, follow instructions, and submit a complete application by the posted deadlines.

    How do I find an internship in D.C.?

    Once you are accepted to the program, the UCR Program Manager and UCDC staff will work closely with you to assist with your resume, cover letter, phone interview techniques, and general internship search resources. Additional support is provided from UCDC staff, who work with D.C. internship sites. Click here to learn more about how to find an internship.

    What happens if I don’t find an internship in D.C.?

    It is rare for students to leave UCR without an internship secured because there are literally thousands of opportunities in D.C.  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 arrived in D.C. 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 D.C.

    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 studying abroad, you may face obstacles. During the application process, we ask applicants to be present for an interview. You will need to be prepared to conduct this interview virtually or over the phone. 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 also serve as an opportunity for you to get to know your UCDC peers. Otherwise, you will miss out on these group meetings and you will have to find a way to access the information you missed. 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 or virtually, so you will need to be prepared for any extra costs this might incur, ie. international phone calls, etc. All of this is possible and has been done before, but it will require more work and dedication on your part.

    Can I earn UC quarter units for my internship?

    Yes, all UCDC students earn units for their internship experience through a 198i UCR internship course. You will also complete academic work for a UCR faculty member or professor. Visit the Courses section of this website for more information about the curriculum.

    What is the difference between UCDC during an academic quarter and the summer?

    The UCDC 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 year program.

    The summer UCDC program has two different options: 1) students can enroll in 8 units of an internship 198i course, or 2) alternately, students may 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 less than the regular academic year program because students pay fees in summer on a per-unit basis. Other costs (housing, food, personal costs, etc.) remain about the same and varies by student.

    Do I have to be accepted into the UCDC program before I can seek internships in D.C.?

    Most students apply to the UCDC program first and research/apply for D.C. internships after acceptance. Students interested in the summer term and/or applying for internship sites with early deadlines (i.e. FBI, CIA, White House, State Department, etc.) should apply to those internships prior to applying to the UCDC program. Summer internships in DC is very competitive. In addition, more motivated students tend to seek and apply to internships before they get accepted into the UCDC program.

    Can I apply if I am undocumented/have DACA/AB540 , a transfer student, or international student?

    Yes! Please see the UCR UCDC Internship Database for "undocufriendly" internship sites you may participate in (not extensive list) as a UCDC student. If it's unclear, please inquire directly with the organization.

    Transfer students are welcome to apply! You must have completed at least one UC quarter AT THE TIME of application. This typically means, transfer students who enter UCR during the fall term may participate as early as the summer after their first year at UCR, or participate as early as fall quarter of their senior year if they enter UCR during the winter term.

    International students are also welcome to apply and must consult with their International Student Advisor to ensure they meet any immigration/visa guidelines.

    How do I get to D.C.?

    Students are expected to arrange their own flights to D.C.; however, they may plan with other cohort members to travel together. Once in D.C., public transportation is low-cost and very convenient! During orientation, students will be provided a free U-Pass card to use the bus and metro.

    How do I deal with my UCR on/off-campus housing lease while I'm participating in UCDC?

    The answer to this question depends on your housing situation. If you have UCR campus housing, please contact UCR Housing Services to discuss your options, and do this EARLY. They will usually accommodate your needs as best as they can, either with a reduced rent and or/save your housing for when you return. If you have off-campus housing, please consult with your landlord or independent housing office immediately.

    Does my LOR have to come from a professor? Can I just get one from a TA or a former employer?

    YES, your LOR must come a professor. There are no exceptions. At this stage in your UCR career, you should have already made connections with UCR faculty or faculty/professors from previous schools, if you're a transfer student. Please give your professor 2-4 weeks to get back to you with a letter. See the LOR instructions above.

    Can I use my CalFresh and EBT benefits card in another state?

    Yes. In all states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (except Puerto Rico).

    I won't be able to get my LOR by the application deadline. What can I do?

    Not to worry! Please submit everything else you have ready. You may continue working on your LOR. We will give you two more weeks past the deadline.

    My GPA is below the 3.00 GPA requirement. Should I still apply and how likely am I to be accepted?

    Yes, please still apply. Occasionally, students below a 3.00 GPA are accepted because they demonstrate an upward improvement in their academic track record through their transcript(s). This, along with strong letters of recommendation, may support students' applications. Please be aware, any applications under the 3.00 GPA will undergo additional review with our campus UCDC faculty advisors.

UC Washington DC

"Through my participation in the UCDC program, I learned how important it is to be passionate about the work that you do regardless of the field that you are in. I also learned that by being an active member of our community through voting, researching and having helpful discussions, we can each have a significant impact on society. Washington, D.C. is a place that fosters personal and professional growth and this program allows students to step into this environment and see the endless opportunities it has to offer."

–Daisy Velazco, English, Class of 2019