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South Carolina Honors College

Placements and Curriculum

In Washington, you'll work full-time in congressional, executive, judicial or private sector offices. Though you won't be chosen based on your political preferences, now is the time to determine where you stand politically, because we make placements consistent with political philosophy. In addition to your internship, you'll enroll in three courses for a total of 15 honors credits.

The South Carolina Congressional Delegation, with seven representatives and two senators, provides the core of fellowship placements. However, other recent placements have included:

  • Institute of Peace
  • CNN’s The Situation Room
  • Center for American Progress
  • Heritage Foundation
  • Aspen Institute
  • Department of Education
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Organization for Women
  • House Subcommittee for Africa and Global Health
  • House Committee on Financial Services
  • Children's Defense Fund
  • Department of Justice
  • Smithsonian
  • The State Department

Internship Duties

Office work varies widely, from copying and faxing, to giving tours of the Capitol, to answering constituent mail. In addition to routine office work, interns might also take notes for the Congressional office at a committee meeting, attend meetings and hearings or provide public policy research. The job can range from preparing information for news conferences to representing an office at a reception to writing public blogs. The beauty of this program is that you become a member of your office family.


We accept students who we believe will thrive in Washington D.C. We don't pick students based on placements we have in hand, but rather we try to choose placements that will inspire them to succeed and learn. We also try to match students to placements consistent with their political philosophies. 

On the Hill Placements

Before placing you on the HIll, we need to know if you are registered with a party, if you have volunteered for any candidate or if you are related to an elected official. We also need to know if you or someone in your family is close to a political office or office holder.

Remember that we have an obligation to the South Carolina Congressional delegation, and we will cover all offices that want someone at this time. But not all students can be placed in the delegation and we are open to exploring several options. Please tell us if you are okay with a placement on the Hill or if you have a strong preference to be off the Hill. 

Off the Hill Placements

The list of Off Hill placements compiled over the past 20 years is long and impressive, but each semester we have a pioneer or two in new areas. Off Hill placements require your help and involvement. Search the internet for organizations in Washington consistent with your interests, and let’s discuss them.

If you already have a specific placement in mind, let us know. It is OK if you have no preference, but you must have some ideas of subject areas that interest you, as well as what you wish to gain from your placement. Do research, talk with your professors and come prepared with ideas for your semester.

Many Off Hill placements have deadlines for applications. In your research, check to see if there are application deadlines and bring that information with you.

If you are exploring new areas, do not accept any placement until after we give you permission to do so. 

When Do I Find Out About My Placement?

Please do not expect to learn of your placement until you arrive in D.C. While some placements may work out quickly, we will not announce individual placements until all, or practically all, are settled. Please contact Steven Beckham if waiting causes you anxiety or concern. But please do not try to arrange any placement on your own — always talk to Mr. Beckham first. You are guaranteed a placement.

Steven Beckham, Federal Legislative Liaison, USC
Phone: 202-257-6461


All students enroll in three courses for a total of 15 honors credits. Each course is designed specifically for the Washington Semester Program and stresses experiential, hands-on learning. Students are responsible for checking with their academic and honors advisors to ensure the applicability of these courses to specific degree programs.

Students work full-time — usually 40 hours per week. Students also are expected to participate in a range of activities designed to help them experience D.C. Activities may include a Nationals baseball game, a live taping of a CNN program, performing arts events, museum visits and meetings with important political and media leaders. Students are asked to reflect on these experiences through a series of seminars and blog entries.

Washington D.C. is second only to New York as a theatre market in the United States. For this course, students attend professional theatre productions in D.C. and meet working theatre professionals to learn what happens “behind the scenes.” Students respond to the productions with short reviews and seminar discussions.

Students attend seminars designed to deepen their knowledge of politics and current events. Students also use the resources available to them in Washington to execute a research project of their design.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.