When is the Virginia Capital Semester?
The program is offered in the spring semester and begins the first week of January, corresponding with the calendar of the Virginia General Assembly.
Who is eligible?
The program is open to all undergraduate students — not just political science majors — from accredited colleges and universities, both public and private. Students from colleges and universities in other states also are welcome to participate.
What is the relationship of the Virginia Capital Semester with other colleges and universities?
Arrangements will be made with other institutions to accept the transfer credits from Virginia Commonwealth University. A number of universities will designate a faculty member or other person to serve as the contact point or liaison with the Virginia Capital Semester.
How are students selected for the program?
Participants in Virginia Capital Semester are selected by a committee comprised of faculty members and state officials, with preference given to students who will have advanced sophomore, junior or senior standing at the time of participation in the program.
Where will the Virginia Capital Semester students be interning?
Interns with the Virginia Capital Semester will work with individual members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates. The preferences of participating students will be honored but cannot be guaranteed. Final placement will be based on mutual agreement between the student and the office sponsoring the internship.
Do participants receive a stipend for the internship?
A need-based financial award may be available to qualified participants.
What are the course requirements?
The internship and policy making seminar are required of all students in the Virginia Capital Semester. Additional related courses taken from the VCU curriculum are recommended. Given the demands of the internship, students should not exceed a total of 15 credits during Virginia Capital Semester.
Keep in mind as you plan for classes that you must work at your internship for a minimum of 20 hours per week (many students work far more hours) during the General Assembly session. Although individual internship work hours can be tailored to your course schedule, classes that cluster together will make for a much more productive and enjoyable arrangement.
The two Capital Semester courses are:
GVPA 423 – 3 credits. Capital Semester Seminar: Policy Making Process. This three-credit seminar is designed as an integral part of Virginia Capital Semester and is limited to students enrolled in that program. Provides an examination of the state legislative process using the current General Assembly Session as illustration. While the Seminar is coordinated with the internship portion of Virginia Capital Semester, it is treated as a separate, academic course
GVPA 494 – 3 credits. Political Science Internship: Virginia Capital Semester Course. This three-credit internship is designed as an integral part of the Virginia Capital Semester and is limited to students enrolled in that program. Designed to provide the student with an opportunity to relate theory to practice through observation and actual experience in the legislative, executive, or judicial branches of government, or in interest groups or political party organizations. The course focuses on participation in the activities in and related to the annual session of the Virginia General Assembly.
What courses may be taken during the Virginia Capital Semester?
The entire VCU curriculum is available to Virginia Capital Semester students. Courses directly related to the Virginia Capital Semester experience are recommended, including courses such as Contemporary Social Problems, Public Administration, Virginia Government and Politics, History of Virginia, Public Policy, Policy Implementation and Politics of the Environment.
What are tuition costs?
Students participating in Virginia Capital Semester will pay the VCU semester tuition and fees, and are eligible for all services of matriculated VCU students. For VCU tuition rates see the VCU Student Accounting website.
What is the deadline for application?
October 1. Early application is encouraged.