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. You will complete courses alongside students from the University of California campuses, as well as visiting students from other universities across the US.
BUSS2500 Washington DC Placement (Business Students Only) or USSC3703 (USYD arts students and UWA students) - compulsory
Completing the internship unit 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.
Note: UWA students will enrol in the USSC3703 unit as cross-institutional applicants, and will receive credit towards their UWA degree for the unit.
Students will be asked to rank the below list of 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. See below for 2018 class options. Details will be updated as they come through so be sure to check this page often.
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.
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.
Politics of Water Policy
Professor: Jim Desveaux
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?
Race and Ethnic Politics from Obama to Trump
Professor: Menna Demessie
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.
Money, Media, and Message
Professor: Steve Scully
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.
Professor: Michael Danielson
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.
Modern Political Campaigns
Professor: Michael Cohen
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.
Law and Society
Professor: Jennifer Diascro
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.
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.
When the University of California (UC) first opened its doors in 1869, it had just 10 faculty members and 38 students. Today, the UC system includes more than 220,000 students and more than 170,000 faculty and staff, with more than 1.5 million alumni living and working around the world. The academic presence of the University of California in Washington DC dates back to 1990 when two, and shortly thereafter, four UC campuses established academic programs in the nation's capital. By the time of the opening of the Center's present facility in 2001, that number had grown to include eight UC campuses. The multi-campus residential, instructional and research center provides UC students and faculty opportunities to research, work and study in Washington DC. UC students spend a quarter/semester in residence at the Center and work and study in the DC metropolitan area. As interns with Congress, the Federal Government, research and advocacy organisations, the news media and through a host of other opportunities, students gain first-hand exposure to the American political process while attaining valuable work experience.