Les Aspin Center - Washington, D.C. Program

The Les Aspin Center provides an opportunity that cannot be experienced just in a traditional classroom setting. For either a semester or a summer, you could work in an internship tailored to your interests and career goals, while also taking classes to contextualize and complement your work and time in D.C. After spending a term at the Les Aspin Center, students view their experience as crucial to their development as leaders, students, and as people dedicated to public service. 

  • Requirements and Application
  • Program Academics
  • Program Costs

If you are an undergraduate interested in learning more about the rewards and challenges of public service and you meet the eligibility requirements listed below, you may apply. Our students come from more than 30 different universities and all academic disciplines. We ask that applicants:  

- have a GPA above 2.75
- have a sophomore standing at the time of participation in the program 
- (recommended) course work in Introduction to American Politics (POSC 2201) or equivalent  

Apply

 

The Les Aspin Center emphasizes close interaction among students and faculty. Small class sizes and a dedicated faculty allow tremendous attention to be paid to the intellectual development of each student. Students receive instruction in seminar-style classes in which individual participation and focused study are demanded. The academic rigors of the program, which features courses in political science, philosophy, fine arts, and community issues set it apart from similar programs in Washington.

The variation in coursework allows students to fulfill several of their academic requirements. Political science courses can be counted toward elective requirements, and fine arts courses can be counted toward core course work. For questions about how these courses fulfill your requirements, we recommend speaking with your academic advisor.

Semester Courses

POSC 4221 Interest Group Politics (3 credits)

How groups are organized around particular economic interests and political preferences to influence policy-making institutions. The internal incentive structure of political organizations, including business, professional, trade union and "public interest" groups. Functions of, and biases inherent in, the group process.


POSC 4201 The United States Congress (3 credits)

Membership, legislative process and internal distribution of power in the U.S. Congress. Congressional relationships with the presidency, executive bureaucracy, interest groups and public.


POSC 4986 Internship in Politics (3 credits)*

Practical learning experience in politics. Evaluation to require students to relate the experience to literature on the subject. Requires a written evaluation by the student's office supervisor at the conclusion of the course.
* Non-political science students can arrange for credit in their respective majors.

 

ARSC 4953 Seminar on Urban Social Issues (3 credits)

Examines the problems that plague many urban areas and the policy responses that attempt to solve them. Students to explore such issues as homelessness, addiction, terminal illness, juvenile justice, and failing schools using Washington, D.C. as a case study. Combines lectures by faculty experts with site visits to government agencies and private organizations to explore theoretical and practical dimensions of problems that trouble all large cities.


ARSC 3370 The Arts and a Democratic Society (3 credits)

Consists of a seminar intended to introduce students to the cultural resources of Washington, D.C. and provide experiences and conceptual tools for exploring the role of the arts in a democratic society.

 

Summer Courses

POSC 4986 Internship in Politics (3 credits)*

Practical learning experience in politics. Evaluation to require students to relate the experience to literature on the subject. Requires a written evaluation by the student's office supervisor at the conclusion of the course.
* Non-political science students can arrange for credit in their respective majors.

 

POSC 4931 Topics in Political Science (3 credits)*

Lectures and discussion in a broad area that, because of its topicality, is not the subject of a regular course. Course topic to be announced before the summer application deadline.
*Non-political science students can arrange for credit in their respective majors.

Tuition and fees

Semester Program

The estimated cost of the program for the 2018–19 academic year is $25,040, which includes tuition and housing. Financial aid a student receives at Marquette it also applied during their semester term as part of the Les Aspin Center. 

Summer Program

The estimated cost of the summer program is $6,582, which includes tuition and housing.

Scholarships and Fellowships Available

Stipends
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are proud to give stipends to all eligible semester and summer Les Aspin Center participants to help students pay for living expenses like food and transportation. The amount of the stipend is subject to change at the determination of the Les Aspin Center based on available resources. 

Les Aspin Center Scholarships
Again, because of our generous donors the Les Aspin Center offers accepted students an opportunity to apply for additional financial aid on top of their existing financial aid package at Marquette. Scholarship awards are based on elligibility, academic merit, and need.  

Apply for financial aid

 

The Pittsburgh Foundation's James G. Fulton and J. Steele Gow Political Fellows Program
The James G. Fulton Fellows Program was established in 1972 as a living memorial to the late western Pennsylvania congressman who, during a 27-year period, trained more than 100 students in his office and taught them firsthand about the challenges and rewards of public life.

The J. Steele Gow Political Fellows Program was established in 1965 in memory of the late J. Steele Gow, who was executive director of the Maurice and Laura Falk Foundation from when it began in 1929 until it ended in 1965. The foundation was a pioneer in supporting economic research and political science education; developed and published more than 75 books in these fields; and developed political internships at 25 colleges and universities.

Council for Opportunity in Education’s Keith Sherin Global Leaders Scholarship
Sponsored by the Council for Opportunity in Education’s Keith Sherin Global Leaders Scholarship fund, highly deserving TRiO, SSS or McNair students spend a semester working in a congressional office and learning about the political process at the Les Aspin Center. One student per semester is selected. The application and selection are conducted by the Council for Opportunity in Education.