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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General


What is the UCDC Program?

The UC Merced Washington Program (or UCDC) is a semester long program where student participate in two academic courses and an internship while living in Washington D.C. The Program is offered both Fall and Spring Semester

Where is the UCDC Center located?

The UCDC Center is located at 1608 Rhode Island Avenue, NW in Washington D.C. This is located in between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle near the General Winfield Scott Statue.

Who attends the UCDC Program?

The UCDC Program is open to all continuing UC Merced undergraduate students. At the UCDC Center, majority of the students participating in the program are from other UC Campuses. Additionally, the UCDC Center welcomes students from the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of San Francisco.

Are all majors welcome?

Yes, all majors are welcome to apply for the UCDC Program. Speak with your Academic Advisor on how UCDC can fit into your graduation plans.

What is there to do in my free time?

There are many experiences and opportunities UCDC has to offer in your free time, some of these include visiting the National Monuments and Museums, traveling on field trips to Gettysburg or Philadelphia, touring historical landmarks like the Capitol or Supreme Court, networking with D.C. Professionals during Monday Night Forums, etc.


Academics


What classes will I take?

You are required to take one elective course and one seminar course. These courses are writing intensive and require you to apply skills learned in your internship into the course work. Elective courses generally have an added bonus of field trips and sometimes guest speakers, some recent field trips have included, NPR, the Capitol, and the Newseum.  More information can be found here: http://www.ucdc.edu/academics

Where do I go to take classes?

Classes are held in the UCDC Center, typically on the level 3 or 11. Sometimes you will be required to attend an event for class, for example, the Supreme Court Class requires students to attend an Oral Argument at the Supreme Court.

How many hours a week do I spend in classes?

Classes range between 3-5 hours per week, and can be taken during one day per week or on week nights.

Where are office hours for faculty?

Faculty Offices are located on level 3 of the UCDC Center. They will specify in their syllabi what time they hold office hours.

Where do I find textbooks/materials for class?

Typically there are not required textbooks for UCDC Courses. Instead, material is found online or at the Library of Congress (which most students spend time in doing research for their papers). If textbooks are needed, it will be specified in the syllabus.

How many units will I receive for my classes?

In total you will receive 13 units for UCDC, 8 of which are for classes, 4 units for the research seminar and 4 units for the elective course. These 8 units are graded with a letter grade.

What academic resources are available to me at the UCDC Center?

On level 3 of the UCDC Center, there are many resources available to you. These include your Professor’s office, UCDC Center staff offices, a computer lab, IT services and a writing tutor.

Internship


Where can I intern?

Anywhere! The options are limitless. We have had students intern for Congress, the Supreme Court, ACLU, on Campaigns, for non-profit organizations, for the White House, the United States Attorney’s Office, Environmental Health organizations, Department of Education and many more. More information can be found here: https://www.ucdc.edu/internships

How do I find an internship?

You can begin by using Google to search for internships in your field of interest. We also have many tools on our “Internships” button, located under the “About” section on our website. Once in the UCDC Program, you will work with Program Administrators from the UCDC Center to cultivate leads. On campus, the UCDC Campus coordinator and Career Center can also assist you with your search.

How many internships should I apply to?

You should apply to as many as you find interesting. We always suggest students apply to about 12 internships, that way it allows the student a wide range of opportunities to choose from. Students can always apply to more internships.

When should I start applying?

Right away. Students who are interested in highly competitive internships that require a background check (Homeland Security, FBI, Supreme Court, the White House, etc.) should consider applying even before they are accepted into the UCDC Program. Once students are accepted into the program, they should not delay in applying for internships.

For students attending in Fall, we suggest to begin applying in late February, mid-March. For students attending in Spring, we suggest applying in mid-September, early October.

How many hours each week do I spend interning?

Students will spend anywhere from 24-32 hours each week interning, this could equal 3 or 4 days a week depending on the schedule you agree on with your internship supervisor.

Can I apply for paid internships?

Yes, you can. The only caution is that sometimes students who only apply for only paid internships miss out on opportunities non-paid internships may have to offer. We suggest students apply based on their interests instead of focusing on whether or not it is paid.

How many units will I receive for my internship?

In total you will receive 13 units for UCDC, 5 of which are for your internship. These units are P/NP, and are graded based on your internship supervisor evaluation.

What if I do not find an internship?

If you apply to internships early, and follow the method of applying to 12 or more, the chances are very small that you will not receive an internship offer. However, if you arrive in D.C. without an offer, there are a few organizations housed within the UCDC Center where you can be placed in an internship.

It is also important to note, that some students do arrive in D.C. without an internship, this is because internships sites sometimes require an in-person interview with their interns.

Financial Aid (taken from UC Merced Financial Aid UCDC FAQ)


How do I apply for Financial Aid for UCDC?

Students who wish to participate in the UCDC Program apply for financial aid the same way as any other undergraduate student, by completing the FAFSA or California DREAM Act Application.

How does the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships know that I am participating in the UCDC Program?

The UCDC office will provide Financial Aid with a list of accepted participants.

How will my financial aid change?

Once the list of accepted participants is ready, the Financial Aid office at UCM will replace the cost of UCM with the cost of your UCDC Program. Your financial aid will then be reevaluated and adjusted according to your eligibility. You must have a completed FAFSA or California DREAM Act application and satisfy all the requirements to receive any type of aid, including loans.

Will my financial aid cover the cost of the UCDC program?

You will receive your financial aid the same way that you do when you are studying here at UC Merced. Your financial aid will automatically be applied to your UC Merced billing account 10 days prior to the start of the semester at UC Merced. If our financial aid exceeds your charges then you will receive a refund, if your charges exceed your financial aid then you will be responsible for the remaining balance.

If you have direct deposit, any refund will be transferred to your account. If you do not have direct deposit, any refund will be sent in a paper check.

Are there any scholarships I can apply for?

You can visit https://ucmerced.academicworks.com/ for a list of outside agency scholarships that you can apply for. The scholarships listed are offered by various donors, schools, departments and offices through the university.

Who can I contact with my Financial Aid questions?

Please contact Anabel Garza (agarza8@ucmerced.edu).

Housing


Where will I live during the UCDC Program?

You will live in the UCDC Center. This 11 story building has student apartments floors 4-10. The apartment consists of a full kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and two bedrooms. Each apartment houses 4 students total, two per room. More information about your apartment can be found here: http://www.ucdc.edu/res-life/apartments

What will I eat while in DC?

You will have a full kitchen in your apartment, so you are able to cook most of your meals at home. There are grocery stores around the neighborhood, and Target can be accessed via Metro. There are also many restaurant options in the surrounding area. Finally, there are various networking events at the UCDC Center that are catered and your internship may offer networking opportunities with food as well.

How will I get around DC?

There are many methods of public transportation. There is the Metro with stops near most internship sites, Uber/Lyft (you can use the carpool option to meet other D.C. professionals), Taxis, and of course, walking is another option that is equally effective.

Are there Resident Advisors/Housing Staff?

Yes there are, and they love to put together exciting events for you during your Semester. They are also there to provide support, and have Counseling Services available (similar to CAPS). Learn more about the Res-Life Staff here: https://www.ucdc.edu/residential-life/staff

Are there any events hosted in the center?

Yes, there are many events hosted at the UCDC Center. They have an event every Monday night where a Washington Professional visits, gives a brief lecture and then participates in a Q&A forum, this is called Monday Night Forums. Additionally, there are alumni events where students can network with alumni, residential life programs, sometimes there are town hall meetings or other special panel discussions with UCDC Professionals, and finally there are large dinners like the closing ceremony before students depart.

Can I have any visitors?

Yes, you can! There are some limitations and restrictions on how long a guest can stay and how many guest you may have at a time. Please consult the Residential Life Handbook found online here: https://www.ucdc.edu/node/2380

Applying


What semester is this program offered for?

Currently the program is offered for Fall or Spring semester each year.

How many students are accepted into the program?

We accept 8 students for Fall Semester and 4 students for Spring Semester.

How do I apply?

You can click on the “Apply Now” button from the menu selections.

What does the application process consist of?

The application consists of the following:

  • Resume
  • A 2 page personal statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation, 1 must be from a UC Merced faculty member.
  • A 5 page writing sample (previously written in a class)
  • Unofficial Academic Transcripts
  • Academic Advising Form

    More information can be found here: https://ucdc.ucmerced.edu/application

What are the deadlines?

The deadlines vary each year, but are consistently around the following times:

  • Fall Semester applications are typically due around the end of February or early March.
  • Spring Semester Application are typically due around the end of September or early October.

See the "Calendar" page on our website for exact deadline dates.

What resources are available to me on campus to help with my application?

The Career Center will look over your resume and personal statement before you submit your application. The UCDC Campus Coordinator can assist you with questions.