Washington Leadership Program

Live, work, and learn in Washington, D.C.

Get a jump start on your career with professional experience in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Leadership Program (WLP).

During this semester-long program, you’ll live, work, and learn in our nation’s capital—while earning IU credit and gaining valuable professional experience.

WLP logo

How to apply

Students typically participate in WLP in the fall or spring semester of their junior or senior year. Admission is open to all IU Bloomington and IUPUI students.

Be sure to attend an information session or schedule an individual consultation prior to application.

WLP participants serve as IU ambassadors in the nation’s capital and represent the O’Neill School as a future generation of leaders.

We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 cohorts. Our next application deadline is Tuesday, February 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. If you have any questions about applying to the WLP, please contact wlp@indiana.edu for additional information.

Apply today

Here is the information you’ll need for the online application:

  • A cover letter that answers why you are interested in the Washington Leadership Program, your personal and professional goals, and how the Washington Leadership Program will help you Lead for the Greater Good.
  • A professional copy of your resume—we strongly advise that you seek assistance from your career services office. If you are an O’Neill student, contact the Career Hub and have them review your cover letter and resume before you submit them.
  • A professional reference from a current or former professor, or work supervisor in support of your application. Reference letters must be submitted to wlp@indiana.edu, with the subject line "Student Name_WLP Reference".

The WLP class is selected based on academic record (transcripts will be obtained and reviewed for all applicants), student conduct record, the online application including cover letter and resume, professional reference, and an interview with the selection committee.

Internships: Get career experience in the nation's capital

As part of WLP, you will intern a full workweek in Washington, D.C. Working as a professional, you will complete substantive and independent assignments while gaining valuable career experience in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors.

You will be responsible for researching and applying for your own internship, but the O’Neill Career Hub is here to help. Use Career Hub as a resource throughout your search and application process—we can help with any necessary security clearance paperwork, as well as answer questions you may have leading up to and during your Washington, D.C. internship.

WLP students have worked in all three branches of government and the private and nonprofit sectors. Make a consultation with WLP staff today to learn more about what you might do in the program.


See the benefits of the Washington Leadership Program.

Description of the video:

[happy guitar music]
[student Meghan Martin speaking] SPEA is
definitely a program where they're going to push you and encourage you to be the best person that you can be and taking advantage to
the Washington Leadership program I think was a really good choice in my opinion.
[student Kyle Cheverko speaking] So, basically, D.C. just opened me up to
so many more methods in networking and opportunities that I wouldn't have expected beforehand.
I definitely don't feel like an intern going into it because of all the substantial work that I do. I feel more like a co-worker
among all of the staff in my budget office and
frankly, it's... I'm having a blast doing it.
[Meghan resumes] I work in a very small office and through that I've been able to get really close with people from very different areas.
I've just been meeting all different types of individuals and working with them on a colleague
level versus just an internship level and I feel like not only am I learning for my internship , but I'm also learning from them as well.
Being in the Washington Leadership Program, I've learned a lot about environmental policy and through that I actually got a job offer!
I feel like being in this fast-paced environment
I really understand what it's going to be like in these next few weeks, when I do start a job.
[Kyle resumes] What definitely excites me about the future is that I've
networked so much out here that I've made a lot of contacts. When I describe it, I definitely say
It's so busy, but it's super fun, and it's like nothing
I've ever done before.
[Meghan] I think from this experience, I'm going to miss the people, definitely.
There's just a connection that you make that's so special with people that you're
kind of living with and working with and going to school with. You just get so close in such a short amount of time.

Live—and learn—in the heart of D.C.

Brick apartment buildingAs part of the Washington Leadership Program, the O’Neill School will arrange housing for you in the heart of Washington, D.C., through the Washington Intern Student Housing  (WISH). You will live in a safe, convenient apartment close to public transportation. (Pictured: Chinatown Apartment)

Specific living, costs, roommate and move-in information will be provided during your orientation.

Learn more about housing through WISH

 Getting around in D.C.

Once in D.C., your most economical form of transportation is the Metro rapid transit system. Your apartment will be within walking distance of Union Station. As a WLP student, you will not need a car during this semester. If you should occasionally need a car, Zipcar provides a convenient alternative.

Learn more about Metro   Learn more about Zipcar

Our Spring 2020 Washington Leadership Class

Students from schools across the IU Bloomington and IUPUI campuses make up our cohort—including the Kelley School of Business, the Media School, the College, and the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Our campus-wide program develops professional skills and leadership.

Student on campus
Mohamed Osman Mohamed

WLP Alumnus 2016

“Like many first-generation students, I struggled transitioning into college life, until the day I decided to apply to the WLP.”

Read more
Sheila Raghavendran

WLP Alumna 2018

“I was used to being one of the few people of color in classrooms and workplaces. Then I started my WLP internship at EMILY’s List, surrounded by other South Asian-American women, which was transformative for my professional experience.”

Nathan Saylors

WLP Alumnus 2017

“It’s important to learn about issues in the classroom and then be able to see for yourself how government agencies work together to address them.”

Read more