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Spring – International Affairs & Public Policy



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The comprehensive nature of the semester program gives you and other outstanding students the academic background necessary to develop into the influential policymakers, journalists and global leaders of tomorrow.

The program’s academic goal is to further educate you about the principles and values upon which the United States was founded and examine the impact of those principles on the nation and world.  What better place to do that than in the heart of the nation’s capital?

The intense academic program includes twelve credit hours in international economics and government that are designed to complement your DC internship experience.  The courses offer you a thorough examination of the American political tradition as well as free market global economics.  In addition, the internship seminar focuses on professional development and current events shaping today’s political and diplomatic landscape, as well as the impact the media has on policy decision-makers.

Students may earn credit for all courses through George Mason University and the classes held in their state-of-the-art-facilities, conveniently located a few metro stops away from student housing in nearby Arlington, Virginia.  GMU was recently named one of the top 100 research universities in the U.S. by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

My experience during Capital Semester shaped the course of my postgraduate education and career goals. Without my semester in DC, I would have never attended George Mason University to obtain a Master's in economics. With my Master's I plan to apply economic principles toward my future law education. I will always be indebted to TFAS for helping me discover my potential and my niche in the world.”

Adam Kwasman, Tulane University
Intern, Congressional Office

Course Descriptions

International Economic Policy
ECON 385 (3 credits)

This course focuses on international economic policy using standard tools of economic analysis and case studies. Students will examine how economic institutions, property rights, and the operation of markets differ across countries. The primary focus will be on economic and political changes that have occurred in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, South American, and the United States during the past 30 years. Students will explore the reasons why some economic policies encourage trade and growth between countries and other policies reduce economic activity. The course will draw on historical examples to illustrate different incentives and how they affect income, poverty, trade, and political stability. Please click here for a sample syllabus.

American Political Thought
GOVT  420 (3 credits)

This course is the perfect complement to any internship in the nation’s capital - where politics and the federal government are front page news every day. This interactive course will explore the development of the American political tradition from the New England Puritan settlement to the Founding Era and the conclusion of the Civil War. The class will also examine how the role of government has changed, how people’s relationship to the government has evolved, and what this means for the future.  Students will discuss the many ways in which Enlightenment liberalism developed alongside alternatives such as classical republicanism and Christianity. Students will explore these contradictory impulses in American political culture and discuss ways that they can be reconciled. Please click here for the current syllabus.

Internship Seminar
ECON 496 (6 credits)

The internship seminar offers a structured environment in which to reflect on internship experiences, and discuss assigned readings to explore “How Washington Works” from an insider’s perspective as well as the role the media plays in covering public policy issues. Observing Washington in action makes clear that politics in real life often differs from how it is portrayed in textbooks. This seminar is team-taught by the founding editor and first White House correspondent for USA Today as well as a former Congressional Chief of Staff and senior advisor at the Department of Labor. High level guest speakers will cover pressing issues such as national security, cases before the Supreme Court, political campaigns and pending federal legislation.

The course will be taught in two parts. Please click here for part one's Spring 2018 syllabus. Please click here for part two's Spring 2018 syllabus.

“Each class period was engaging and the professors went beyond the basic facts to make the material more exciting for all of us.”

Mallory Jones, Campbell University
Intern, United States Navy Memorial


Richard Benedetto, American University
Internship Seminar

Richard Benedetto retired from USA Today in 2006, where since 1982 he had served as their White House/national political correspondent as well as a political columnist for Gannett News Service. He has covered the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He also has covered the presidential campaigns of 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004.  Presently, he is an adjunct professor at American University.

Benedetto has lectured at colleges and universities across the country and received numerous journalism awards. In 2005, he was a visiting professor at the University of Colorado and St. Bonaventure University. He also taught news writing and reporting as an adjunct professor at Utica College.  He was honored in 1998 with the National Italian-American Foundation Media Award for his projection of a positive image for Italian-Americans.

Benedetto received his B.A. from Utica College of Syracuse University and holds an M.A. in Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communication. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1992.

Richard Boyd, Georgetown University
Professor, American Political Thought

Richard Boyd is an associate professor of government at Georgetown University. His research interests include the intellectual history of liberalism, civil society and pluralism, economic and sociological theory, post-colonialism, and the theory and practice of immigration and citizenship policies in the United States. Before coming to Georgetown in 2007, Boyd taught at the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Deep Springs College.

Boyd is author of Uncivil Society: The Perils of Pluralism and the Making of Modern Liberalism. His articles have appeared in Review of Politics, Journal of PoliticsPolitical Theory, History of Political Thought, Polity, European Journal of Political Theory, Urban Studies, Social Philosophy & Policy, and other journals. He is currently completing a book-length manuscript titled “Membership and Belonging: On the Boundaries of Liberal Political Theory."

Anne Bradley, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics
International Economic Policy

Dr. Anne Bradley is the Vice President of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, where she develops and commissions research toward a systematic biblical theology of economic freedom.  She is a visiting professor at Georgetown University and has previously taught at George Mason University and at Charles University, Prague.  She is currently a visiting scholar at the Bernard Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy.  She served as the Associate Director for the program in Economics, Politics, and the Law at the James M. Buchanan Center at George Mason University.

Karen Czarnecki, George Mason University School of Law
Internship Seminar

Karen M. Czarnecki currently serves as the director of education at the Law and Economics Center at George Mason School of Law. Previously she served as the Chief of Staff to Rep. Mike Kelly and as a senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. She joined the Labor Department in June of 2001, and in June 2003 she was appointed Director of the Office of the 21st Century Workforce. In addition, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Intergovernmental Affairs, giving her responsibility for outreach to state and locally-elected officials. Professor Czarnecki received her BA and juris doctorate degrees from Catholic University of America and is also an alumna of the ICPES program.

Lecture Series

As part of our comprehensive program, guest lectures give you a chance to learn, question, and more often than not, exchange business cards with some of the best foreign and public policy experts without ever needing your passport.

These lectures are designed to complement what you are learning in your classes and internship. Covering a wide variety of topics, the events are lively, interactive, and challenging.

See below for a list of the type of top Washington, DC policy makers and global experts you’ll hear from as part of the lecture series.

  • Ambassador Otto Reich, Principal, Otto Reich & Associates, LLC
  • Sheree Anne Kelly, Vice President of the Public Affairs Council & Executive Director, Foundation for Public Affairs
  • Dr. Christopher Preble, Vice President, Defense and Foreign Policy Studies, CATO Institute
  • Dr. Laura Brown, Director for the Political Management Program, Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University
  • Holly Jackson, State Policy Network
  • Dakota Wood, Senior Research Fellow, Defense Programs, The Heritage Foundation
  • Ed Hudgins, The Atlas Society, Center for Objectivism
  • Jodi Olsen, Peace Corps
  • Dr. George Ayittey, President of the Free Africa Foundation
  • Ms. Zainab Al-Suwaji, Co-founder and Executive Director, American Islamic Congress

The experiences this program has provided me with outside of work and outside of the classroom have been some of the most rewarding, enriching, and memorable experiences of my life.. It truly is a one of a kind experience.”

Lauren Meadors, Syracuse University
Intern, U.S. Department of Commerce