Washington, D.C. Accelerator Program

Jumpstart your career in Washington, D.C.

With the O’Neill School’s Washington, D.C. Accelerator Program, you can earn your Master of Public Affairs from a top-ranked program while gaining experience in D.C. for a full year before graduating.

In addition to learning and working in Washington, D.C., you’ll gain access to powerful networking opportunities through our locally based partners and O’Neill alumni dedicated to your success. 

Description of the video:

An O'Neill degree is currency in Washington D.C. Everyone knows O'Neill and everyone is looking to hire O'Neil students.

The D.C. Accelerator is a very valuable addition to the MPA program because it's going to allow students the opportunity to be at the center of the action. They will be able to take the concepts and principles that they've learned and see the reality every day.

O'Neill is the number one master of public affairs in the country, which is an incredible reason to come to Bloomington in the first place. The opportunity to be with that cohort of people in a Big Ten school in a Midwest environment and then take those Midwestern values and go to D.C. is an invaluable opportunity.

The benefit of doing the D.C. Accelerator program is that you have the best of both worlds. You have the opportunity to be in close communication and contact with your faculty here on the Bloomington campus, but then to also spend one year in Washington D.C. and take courses at the same time in both residence in our D.C. office as well as online.

It's a program that's focused on putting students out there to practically engage in public policy, to practically engage in building networks that are going to help us tomorrow.

Being able to be in the D.C. area and meet people working in the field and build that network early is definitely going to be beneficial to their career when they're ready to graduate.

D.C. is an excellent place to launch a career. The one thing that unites everybody that goes to D.C. is they're looking to change lives. They're looking to change the world.

What you can enjoy

Connected to the prestigious Willard InterContinental Hotel.
Safe and secure learning environment. 
Dedicated classroom spaces.
Access to our spacious conference room. 
Access to study/meeting spaces. 
You’ll have a stunning view of the Washington Monument and National Mall.

As an IU student in Washington, D.C, you’ll attend classes in the Willard Center. This historic building, connected to the prestigious Willard InterContinental Hotel, offers you unparalleled advantages. 

  • Convenience: Just a 7-minute walk from the Metro Center, our offices provide easy access via public transit to anywhere in the D.C. area. 
  • Proximity: From the Willard Building, you can enjoy views of the National Mall and the Washington Monument, placing you at the heart of all that D.C. offers. 
  • Amenities: Access study/meeting spaces, printers, AV-equipped rooms, and the IU Secure network. Plus, enjoy a kitchen with complimentary drinks. 
  • Direct support: With on-site staff available daily, including an intern, you'll have easy access to assistance and guidance for whatever needs arise.  
  • Central security: Benefit from high-security measures, given the proximity to the White House, ensuring a safe and secure learning environment. 

How to apply

You can apply to the Washington, D.C. Accelerator Program as part of the regular admission cycle for the MPA, but you must apply by January 15. Space is limited to 24 students per year.

If you apply to the D.C. program and are not accepted, you will still be considered for the residential MPA program as part of the same application.

D.C. internship opportunities

Your internship will give you hands-on experience and valuable networking opportunities with Washington, D.C. organizations. The O’Neill Career Hub is available to assist you in finding an internship that best fits your career goals. 

D.C. organizations that have recently placed O’Neill students and grads:

  • Abt Associates  
  • Booz Allen Hamilton  
  • Cherry Bekaert   
  • Deloitte  
  • GEOTAB  
  • Grant Thornton    
  • Guidehouse  
  • Macfadden    
  • SRI International  

  • Congressional Budget Office   
  • Defense Intelligence Agency  
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission  
  • International Finance Corporation World Bank Group  
  • Law Library of Congress  
  • Office of Management and Budget    
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture   
  • U.S. Department of Commerce  
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services   
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  
  • U.S. Department of State   
  • U.S. Department of Transportation   
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency   
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office  
  • USAID  

  • The American Red Cross  
  • Center on Budget and Policy Priorities  
  • Hispanic Access Foundation    
  • Human Rights Campaign    
  • International Rescue Committee  
  • Mitre    
  • National League of Cities    
  • The Nature Conservancy  
  • Resources for the Future  
  • Solar Energy Industries Association    
  • Wilson Center  
  • World Resources Institute   

To pair the quality of an O’Neill education with the D.C. networking and job environment has real benefits rooted in its connection components. You are not coming out to D.C. on your own; you are coming as a part of a community.

—Christina Motilall, MPA-MSES’12, Faculty Instructor, D.C. Accelerator Program