DC Semester

“The DC Semester was the perfect complementary experience to studying in Pittsburgh and was the deciding factor in landing my current job.”

 - Jesse Smith (MPIA ’15)

GSPIA offers two programs in Washington, DC that combine coursework with internship opportunities: the Global Security and Development Program, offered in the fall, and the Lobbying, Advocacy and Public Diplomacy Program, offered in the spring. Some students have done both programs consecutively, and spent the whole year in DC!  While in DC, you’ll have the support of GSPIA career services through the Pitt Washington Center located near Dupont Circle.

Take advantage of Pittsburgh’s proximity to the DC metro area and explore this diverse and exciting city, where many of the world’s most influential institutions are located!

Global Security and Development Program

  • Offered in the fall semester. Application deadline is February 1.

  • Held in conjunction with Syracuse University's Maxwell School, and the University of Denver's Korbel School.

  • Ideal for: Students interested in national and international security, emerging markets, international development, international trade, economic security, and/or post-crisis stabilization.

  • Courses: Students typically choose to take three courses on the above topics, plus the Washington Practicum.

  • Classes held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), located close to Dupont Circle.

Lobbying, Advocacy and Public Diplomacy Program

  • Offered in the spring semester. Application deadline is October 1.

  • Held in conjunction with the Pitt Law School

  • Ideal for: Students who are interested in working at the intersection of law and policy with a focus on advocacy, public diplomacy, and the lobbying process, and looking for a hands-on DC experience with many guest speakers and field trips to Capitol Hill and other locations.

  • Courses: Public Diplomacy, Lawmaking and Lobbying courses (can be counted as Capstone), plus the Washington Practicum.

  • Classes held at the Pitt Washington Center, and CSIS located close to Dupont Circle.

Both Programs Offer You...

  • The benefits of living, interning and studying in DC without paying additional tuition.

  • Courses taught by experienced practitioners and many guest speakers who are DC-based professionals.

  • Courses that fulfill most degree requirements.

  • The opportunity to network with DC-based alumni and build connections with other young professionals. 

The Internship

  • Both GSPIA DC Semester programs are designed to allow you to intern part- or full-time while taking your courses

  • To complement the internship, GSPIA offers a three-credit online course, The Washington Practicum, specifically for students participating in the DC Semester programs. This course allows you to earn credit along with your internship while providing practical training.

  • Interested in a popular internship site? Because organizations receive up to 65 percent fewer applications during the school year rather than in the summer, students typically encounter less competition for highly prized internship slots.

  • Want to work in the intelligence community? Obtain an internship that requires a security clearance and have access to job fairs and hiring events restricted to those with a clearance.

  • Funding opportunities for internships are available through the GSPIA Professional Development Fund.

Mentor Program

The alumni mentoring program gives participants an unparalleled opportunity to interact with successful GSPIA alumni. Each student will have the opportunity to be matched with a GSPIA graduate who will offer guidance on achieving career goals and transitioning to the job market.

International Students

Many global and multinational institutions have offices in D.C. Whether it's the World Bank, a UN agency, or the Organization of American States, these organizations value the skills and talents international students bring to the table.

Sign Me Up! What's Next?

Students may apply online through GSPIA Connections. Candidates are selected to participate based on the strength of their essay, academic performance, and resume.

Funding opportunities are available; students are encouraged to apply for the Professional Development Fund.


Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
3601 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260