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.

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 2023 and Spring 2024 cohorts. Our next application deadline is Friday, February 24, 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.

U.S. Representative Susan Brooks on the Washington Leadership Program

Description of the video:

As a member of congress, I had Washington Leadership students that worked in my congressional office. They got to see from the inside how a congressional office operated. In 2013, we went into a government shutdown. I had these Washington Leadership students who were the only staff. Because it was an internship program, I could keep them in the office. They helped me run that congressional office, and they did such a great job that when one of the young guys graduated, we had a job opening, we called and asked him to come work for us. He ended up being a staffer with me for about four years. And so I highly recommend students consider the Washington Leadership Program. It's a great way to kind of test the waters of public service.

Live—and learn—in the heart of D.C.

Avalon First and M, in the heart of NoMa

As part of the Washington Leadership Program, the O’Neill School will arrange housing for you in the heart of Washington, D.C., through Turnkey Housing Solutions. You will live in a safe, convenient apartment in the NoMa neighborhood and close to public transportation. 

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

Learn more about living at Avalon First and M Apartments

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.

50 years at O'Neill