Washington Center

Fall Program FAQ

UCDC Fall 2021 Term

Frequently Asked Questions 

Last updated July 20, 2021

UCDC is thrilled to welcome students back to the nation's capital this fall! We are opening our building 50% capacity, which will allow each participant to have a private bedroom and space for social distancing in common areas. This document changes as information about COVID-19 and safety guidelines evolve so please check back regularly. 

Housing and Student Services | Safety | Courses | Internships | Engagement

Questions about Housing and Student Services

What will living arrangements be in DC? Students will share a two-bedroom apartment with one other student. Each student will have their own bedroom and share the common spaces (living room, bathroom, kitchen) with the other person. There will be no additional cost for private bedrooms. Masks will not be required in apartments.
Who will I be living with? Your apartment mate is chosen based on the information you provide in the Apartment Matching Form. The form is due Tuesday, July 20, at 12:00p PDT. The form should be completed as fully and accurately as possible so we can find hte best match for you. Room changes will not occur after the term starts.
Am I able to request an apartment mate? Yes, you may choose your apartment mate using the Apartment Matching Form. You must list the first and last name of your desired apartment mate, and they must list your first and last name in the "Preferred Apartment Mate" section. The form is due Tuesday, July 20, at 12:00p PDT.
Am I required to live in the building to participate in the program? Yes. UCDC participants are required to live in our building, which is in a lively, centrally located neighborhood six blocks from the White House.
Can I have family or friends visit me while I’m in DC? Unfortunately, no. We will not be allowing day or overnight guests in the building during the Fall 2021 term. We will notify residents if/when this policy changes.
Will there be social programs so I can meet other UCDC students? Yes. All social programs will be delivered in accordance with DC Department of Health regulations. This may require events to be outdoors or require pre-registration. We will do our best to create an enriching social experience while adhering to safety regulations.
Will I be allowed to travel to other states once I arrive in DC? We follow DC policies for local requirements and currently the District has no travel restrictions to other states and does not require any quarantine upon return. This may change and we will inform you if it does. 
Will I be able to access Basic Needs resources if UCDC is at half-capacity? You can always access the remote resources from your home campus, which is the best place to start for your Basic Needs support. UCDC hopes to have on-site assistance for the in-person program, and you would have access to that as well.
Are counselling services available at UCDC? We expect to have counselling services available at the Center. Additional information about accessing and scheduling these services will be forthcoming.
Additional questions? Email ResidentialServices@ucdc.edu for housing questions and BasicNeeds@ucdc.edu for basic needs questions.

Questions about COVID-19 Safety

What precautions are being taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the building? Multiple precautions are being implemented to quickly identify cases and contain spread. In addition to reducing occupancy, anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask in all public spaces, including hallways and elevators. Contactless faucets and soap dispensers have been installed in all public bathrooms. Mandatory surveillance testing may be required of students, faculty, and staff. We are in regular contact with the UC Office of the President’s risk management team and will comply with all DC Department of Health requirements.

Will vaccines be required for everyone in the building? The University of California has released its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine policy, which you can access here. In accordance with this policy, all students who plan to attend UCDC are required to be fully vaccinated, with allowable exceptions. Proof of vaccination (or application for an exemption) must be provided to the relevant office on your home campus no later than two weeks before UCDC move-in.

  • For UCDC semester students, this means by August 7 for move-in on August 21. *The time is very short for those who are currently not vaccinated.*
  • For UCDC extended quarter students, this means by August 24 for move-in on September 7.
  • For UCDC quarter students, the means by September 4 for move-in on September 18.

What happens if someone in the UCDC building tests positive for COVID-19? All potentially exposed parties will be notified and contact tracing will occur. Infected students may be moved to a quarantine/isolation space in the building. A protocol will be distributed for meals and managing your internship and class commitments.

How can I stay up to date on national and DC COVID information? We use the following websites for regular information about COVID health and safety recommendations and requirements. Please check them frequently for updates.

Questions about Courses

Will classes be taught in person or remotely? We plan to hold classes in person only. The one exception to this is Dr. Demessie's semester elective, which will be remote. Masks will be required in all classrooms regardless of vaccination status.

What can I anticipate from the courses being offered? All classes are small, seminar-style and are scheduled in three-hour blocks. Most seminars are offered during the day and electives in the evening. All internship organizations know that students require a day off to attend classes and office hours. Our courses are offered across the week to provide choices for our students depending on their internship schedules. All seminars include individual research and writing assignments. Other assignments depend on the subject matter, and instructor and typically include quizzes, presentations, infographics, video projects, or group discussions. Electives may include midterm and final exams.

What courses will be offered? We are currently finalizing our courses for the fall quarter and semester and will share that information as soon as it is available.  We anticipate that many of the same courses that have been offered in the past year will likely be offered again. You can find information about seminars and electives on the Academics section of our website. You will find course titles and descriptions, faculty bios, and past syllabi (Fall 2021 syllabi forthcoming).

Who are the instructors and what will they bring to the classroom experience? Our instructors are experts in policy, government and media who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to UCDC courses. Most have been teaching in the program for years and are invaluable resources for connecting theory to practice in our classes.

How do I enroll in classes? You enroll in two separate ways. One, you must be enrolled on your home campus. Different campuses have different course numbers for UCDC seminars and internships. Your UCDC Campus Coordinator will provide you with instructions on how to enroll on your home campus.

In addition to being enrolled on campus, you are required to enroll in courses through UCDC’s enrollment system, GoSignMeUp. Enrollment opened to all students on Wednesday, July 14, and will remain open through the add/drop period that closes on October 1.

What date will instruction begin?

  • Fall semester (UCB and UCM) instruction begins the week of August 23, 2021
  • Fall quarter (UCD, UCI, UCR, UCSD, UCSB, UCSC, and UCLA) instruction begins the week of September 20, 2021

Can students be enrolled part-time in UCDC for internship credits only? No. All students must enroll in a UCDC seminar.

What if I have academic ADA accommodations? Contact your campus disability services office and ask them to send your accommodation letter to Professor Diascro, UCDC Associate Academic Director, at jennifer.diascro@ucdc.edu.

For further questions regarding UCDC academics, please contact Sabrin Said, Administrator of Academic Services, at Sabrin.said@ucdc.edu.

Questions about Internships

Will internships be offered in-person or remote? Our team is in contact daily with hundreds of organizations in DC to update employers’ plans for re-opening once local restrictions are lifted.  We foresee that internships could be offered in one of three ways or a combination thereof, all during residence in DC at the UC Washington Center:

  • in-person: interns would report to an office located within the DC metropolitan area to perform duties and work along with their supervisors and other staff members
  • remote: interns would work remotely on projects from the UC Washington Center.
  • hybrid: interns would report to the office in person for work on specific days of the week and complete other days remotely from the UC Washington Center.

If the organization I am applying to states that internships will be remote or hybrid, what kind of work will I do as an intern? Remote assignments mirror those assigned in person. Projects vary based on the organization and could include research, analysis, news monitoring, social media management, or logistical support. Employers are encouraged to assign projects that relate to the goals of the organization and short-term projects helping with the day-to-day work of the office.

Where can I find a list of organizations offering internships (in-person, remote or hybrid)? We distribute a newsletter to students each Wednesday – from May 19 through early September -- with internship leads and pertinent details. Remote internships can also be identified in our database by clicking on the Fall 2021 Internship Opportunities banner.

What are the dates for the internships this fall?

  • Fall semester: August 24 to December 3
  • Fall extended quarter: August 24 to December 3 or September 8 to December 3
  • Fall quarter: QuarterSeptember 21 to December 3

How many hours per week are students expected to work? Students intern 24-32 hours of work per week. Schedules are determined by agreement between the internship supervisor and the student. Additional hours are permitted if both parties agree.

Are internships compensated? Some positions include compensation, though a majority are unpaid. You should inquire about pay when you apply or interview with organizations. We encourage internship sites to offer compensation when possible. There are no restrictions on UCDC students receiving compensation while also receiving academic credit.

If remote, will a DC internship increase my chance of securing other internships or employment once organizations re-open to in-person work? The ability to connect with employers in a remote professional setting is a great asset. Since March 2020, thousands of organizations in the DC area have shifted to remote operations. Your creativity, collaboration, empathy, desire to learn, and flexibility are qualities that future employers will value. The connections you make and the experiences you will be able to share will make you a stronger candidate for future opportunities.

Who should I contact if I have internship questions? Members of the Academic Internship Team (AIT) are assigned by campus affiliation.  For further information, contact your program administrator:

Questions about Student Engagement, Networking, and Events

What other programming is planned? UCDC is more than internships and classes. We work with alumni to pair interested students with mentors in fields of interest and develop professional development workshops to help students convert their internships into jobs.  We offer a speaker series, to give students a chance to ask questions of policymakers, journalists, and lawmakers.

Will the UCDC Preparation Series (formerly the UCDC Orientation Series) still be offered? Yes. The UCDC Preparation Series began on May 12 and is offered every other Wednesday at 5p PDT.

Will I have a chance to “meet’’ other participants? Yes. We will hold multiple events – either in-person or remotely, where you will have a chance to engage with participating students from all nine UC undergraduate campuses. There may be opportunities to connect on social media. We compile a directory of students with internship placements to help students connect.

How open is Washington D.C.Museums, restaurants, theaters, and most bars are open with varying rules for masking, distance, and other health and safety protocols. Many of Washington’s attractions are outside, which makes them more accessible than they might otherwise be. A primary source of DC-specific information is at the Government of the District of Columbia site, which includes the DC Mayor’s updates. Please check these frequently for updated information.