WilDCats at the Capitol

Spend a semester interning on Capitol Hill with your fellow Wildcats. WilDCats at the Capitol is the University of Kentucky's federal government internship program that offers any UK student the opportunity to intern, earn course credit, and gain experience at the highest levels of government while living in the nation's capitol. 


Hear From Our Students


Gain Experience by Interning in Washington, DC

Internships provide a dynamic opportunity to gain real-world experience and apply classroom learning in a fast-paced, professional environment. Students spend 40 hours per week interning in a selected office or agency. Internship responsibilities will vary depending on the needs and opportunities available in individual positions. Interns will be responsible for collaborating with the onsite supervisor to identify and define their scope of responsibilities. All effort will be made to place students with the legislator of their choice, though no guarantees can be made. 


During the spring and fall semesters, the internship program and related coursework will take place throughout the entire semester. During the summer, internship appointments vary in length by office, with some lasting the entire semester and others organized in 6-8 week-long terms. There are no DC-based classes during the summer term. 


Interns have been placed with: 


Academic Responsibilities and Expectations

WilDCats at the Capitol is open to all majors. As a participant in this program, you will remain a full-time student earning 12 academic credit hours through your internship and classes (excluding summer) taught by UK faculty in Washington, DC. During the spring and fall terms, a UK-affiliated faculty will teach two courses in his/her field of specialty, with a focus on taking advantage of Washington DC’s resources to enhance the coursework. As part of this experience, students will be responsible for writing a research paper on a topic related to their internship, and for participating in a weekly meeting, which will include opportunities to hear prominent speakers as well as to reflect on their internship experience. Students will earn six credits for the coursework (excluding summer) taught by the UK-affiliated professor and six credits for the internship. Students will enroll in the following courses: 

● PS 399: Political Science Internship in Government or Politics (6 hours)
● PS 395: Independent Research (optional for graduating seniors only)
● PS 391: Special Topics In Political Science (the course offerings will vary from semester to semester depending       on the expertise of the lead faculty member (3 to 6 hours)

Students may also arrange additional or related coursework or internship credit with their individual department. Students can take advantage of online and distance learning options in consultation with your academic advisor and the Internship Director. 


Convenient Housing with UK Students

Students participating in the program are required to live in program-organized housing. The University of Kentucky contracts with the Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH) program to locate students in close proximity with their internship experience. WISH housing is students-only, fully furnished, located in the historic District, Metro accessible, and only steps away from the U.S. Capitol Building, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. The University of Kentucky Code of Student Conduct applies to students living in WISH housing during their internship period. 

All WISH properties include utilities, cable TV, wireless internet access, full kitchens, dishware, cookware and appliances (toaster, microwave, coffeepot, etc.), free laundry facilities (irons/ironing boards), and weekly and emergency maintenance. Furnishings also include access to WISH office and building management staff, 24-hour emergency staffing, as well as social and professional development events (see www.internsdc.com). Residents are required to provide their own phone service, bed linens, and towels. Parking accommodations are not included with WISH housing. 


Competitive Program Costs 

Participants pay the same UK tuition and fee rates while living in the nation's capital, but because WilDCats at the Capitol interns remain full-time students they can utilize their financial aid and scholarships. 

The WISH partnership includes double-occupancy bedrooms on Capitol Hill. The following rental rates apply and will be billed through the regular UK billing process: 
● Refundable Security Deposit:  $200 per resident
● Double Occupancy Room:
o $4,320 per resident (Fall and Spring)
o $3,925 per resident (Summer)

WISH programs, receptions, social mixers, and speakers are free for all residents. Each resident living in WISH housing must complete and sign the WISH Housing Application Form prior to term. Housing Applications are due to program organizers within one week of placement. 


Financial Aid

In addition to scholarships and financial aid that you have already earned, applicants are encouraged to apply for additional support offered by the Office of the President, Department of Political Science, and the UK Student Government Association. Last year, the WilDCats at the Capitol program awarded more than $15,000 in scholarships to participants.


Selection Process

Admissions decisions for both programs are made on a rolling basis until the program is full or the program application deadline is reached. The most successful applicants will have a minimum 3.0 GPA and a strong application. If your GPA is lower than 3.0, you are still encouraged to apply and to discuss your application with the Internship Director. The admission committee considers a number of factors in addition to your cumulative GPA. Student selection will be based on this application, a resume, transcript, one letter of recommendation from a UK faculty member, and interview with the selection committee. Materials should be sent to psintern@uky.edu. Candidates for interview will be notified by the selection committee. The following dates are approximate and may shift slightly given the academic calendar. The committee will continue to accept applications (beyond the deadline) until all placements are made. 


For placement during the Spring 2020 Semester (all dates are approximate): 

Applications Due - October 11th, 2019 (10/11/19)
Interviews - Last week of September to end of second week of October
Placement - October/November
Orientation - Finals week of Fall Semester 

For placement during the Summer 2020 Semester (all dates are approximate): 

 Applications Due - January 20th, 2020 (1/20/20)
Interviews - Last two weeks of January 
Placement - March/April 
Orientation - Finals week of Spring Semester 

For placement during the Fall 2020 Semester (all dates are approximate): 

Applications Due - April 10th, 2020 (4/10/20)
Interviews - Last two weeks of April 
Placement - June/July 
Orientation - Finals week of Spring Semester 




Contact Information

Tiffany Barnes, PhD
Associate Professor and Internship Director
Department of Political Science
Christopher Crumrine
Deputy Chief of Staff
Office of the President
Eric King
Director of Federal Relations
University of Kentucky
James Hammock
Director of Government Relations
UK Student Government Association