Semester in D.C.

Pitt Law’s Semester in D.C. Program offers a different kind of semester for students who want full-time experience working in a specialty area, have a particular interest in policy or government-related work, or would like to work in Washington, D.C., after graduation.

Through the Semester in D.C. Program, students gain hands-on experience practicing law and policy by interning for a government or non-profit employer. Students obtain training and credentials in their field, meet regularly with an assigned alumni mentor and other Washington-area alums and practitioners, and learn about the incredible range of jobs in government agencies, on the Hill, and in lobbying firms, non-profit organizations, professional associations, and private firms and companies. 

    Program Tracks

    Flexible Track

    The Flexible Track consists of a full-time externship and a weekly seminar at Pitt Law’s Washington Center in downtown D.C. This option allows students to pursue their interests while interning for any non-profit or government office pursuing law-related work.

    Policy Track

    The Policy Track allows students to earn a public policy concentration by taking policy classes in D.C. alongside Pitt's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs students. It offers intensive training in the skills to succeed in a policy-related job after graduation. Pitt Law is the only law school in the country to provide students with a Semester in D.C. Program jointly with a graduate policy school. 

    Description Flexible Track Policy Track
    When?  Spring of your 2L or 3L year Spring of your 2L or 3L year
    Classes D.C. Seminar (3 credits)
    D.C. Externship (8-10 credits)
    Public Policy Seminar (3 credits)
    Lobbying & Advocacy (3 credits)
    Policy Colloquium (1 credit)
    Policy Externship (4-8 credits)
    Class Alternatives Flexible Track students can enroll in a Policy Track class if available. Policy Track students can substitute the D.C. Externship and D.C. Seminar for the Policy Externship and Policy Colloquium if they want additional credits.
    Credential None Public Policy Concentration
    Focus Learn from your externship experience Intensive training in policy skills through classes and your externship
    Students Law students only Law and GSPIA students

    Semester in D.C. FAQ's

    Alumni frequently consider the Semester in D.C. Program the pinnacle of their law school journey, citing its multifaceted impact. They highlight the importance of balancing regular meetings with full-time work and clarifying career goals and strengths. The program's experiential learning, credentials, and networking opportunities streamline the job search. Additionally, they stress the invaluable practical skills gained, surpassing the limits of classroom study. Applying legal knowledge in real-world settings enhances professional confidence significantly.

    All second and third-year law students.

    When deciding whether to participate in your second or third year, consider your career goals and other commitments. Joining in the second year can provide valuable internship experience for federal government roles, such as the Honors Program and Presidential Management Fellowship, which often begin recruitment early in the third year. Joining in the third year allows for deeper exploration of interests and closer contact with potential employers.

    Additionally, ensure you have a free semester for the program and consider how it fits your graduation requirements. Inform the director or faculty advisor if enrolled in certificate programs, clinics, or law journals. You might fulfill some certificate program requirements through the Semester in D.C. All program directors encourage participation for hands-on experience. However, plan your courses carefully to meet all obligations in other semesters.

    To address the elevated living expenses in Washington, Semester in D.C. Program students can apply for up to $4,500 in extra financial aid. Additionally, they may seek fellowships to offset costs; find more details here.