A handful of students from across the country will come to GW next semester to study through the University’s new study-away program, GW Spring Term.
The program, created earlier this year, invites undergraduate juniors at regionally accredited universities to spend their spring semester in Washington. Students will be able to study in one of three programs: National Security and Foreign Policy, How the Media Covers Washington and Military Planning and National Politics.
“(GW Spring Term) gives us the opportunity to tout the unique benefits of GW and its unique location in Washington, while generating interest in GW’s graduate programs,” said Gregory G. Lebel, the program’s academic director.
Students participating in the Spring Term will take classes with GW students, live on campus and pay the standard $963 per-credit-hour tuition.
The Spring Term is “still a pilot project in its initial stages,” said Lebel, who estimated that up to 10 students will enroll in the fledgling program.
Lebel added that he hopes the size of the project will grow in coming years as it attains the status of GW’s other study-away initiative, Semester in Washington, which was founded 1995 by the Graduate School of Political Management.
In Semester in Washington, about 50 students each semester take political management courses while participating in an internship program that places them in government and media organizations.
“Interest in a program like this has grown as the University has watched Semester in Washington develop into a viable program,” Lebel said. GW Spring Term will not include an internship program.
Margo Ellis, manager of communications for special programs, said Spring Term participants will have access to Washington events and speakers and will benefit from GW’s location in the nation’s capital.
“Nothing would be open to (GW Spring Term students) that would not be open to other GW students,” said Ellis, who added that professors for the programs have not yet been chosen.
She said that two of the three core courses for the program already existed when the Spring Term was created, and that all courses in the program are open to full-time GW students.
Applicants to the program should be in “good standing” at their universities and have displayed “consistent academic achievement” in their first two years at school, said Lebel, who will evaluate the applications with other faculty involved in the program.
Spring Term’s competitiveness will be similar to GW’s undergraduate admissions process and will look for the “same type of student,” Lebel said.
Eric Sherman, a senior at the University of Georgia spending this semester in D.C. as part of Semester in Washington, praised the program for its work opportunities.
“I like how Semester in Washington incorporates classes into the program while leaving a maximum amount of time for internship opportunities,” said Sherman, who is majoring in political science and Spanish.
While he complained about the small number of participants in GW’s study-away programs, Sherman said location is one of the biggest benefits of the program.
“Above all, a big part of the appeal of the program was getting to come to Washington,” he said. “It’s really a dynamic time to be in the city.”