UC Washington Center (UCDC)
- What is UCDC?
- Why You Should Participate: Words of Wisdom from Professor Dana Frank
- Receiving Credit: Applying UCDC Courses to the History Major or Minor
- Get Funded: Robert T. Matsui UC Fellowship Program
The UC Washington Center (UCDC) is a multi-campus residential, instructional and research center that provides students from the University of California with opportunities to study, research, work, and live within Washington's rich cultural, political and international heritage. The program is open through an application process to juniors and seniors (occasionally sophomores) in all majors. Students enroll for fall, winter, or spring quarter, earn 12-17 course credits, complete an internship, and continue to be registered as full-time students.
To learn more about the UCDC program, UCDC internship opportunities, and apply, visit the UC Santa Cruz UCDC website.
First of all, you should participate in the program because it will widen your knowledge of the world. Washington, D.C. is a center of U.S. and world power, teeming with intrigue, journalists looking for scoops, and advocates for every cause imaginable. With its museums, concert halls, galleries, and theaters, it's also a major center for the arts, and much of what's available is cheap or free. The Washington D.C. area is also resplendently diverse--not only its long-time African American communities but half a million Salvadorans and a large Ethiopian and Eritrean community, not to mention diplomats and lobbyists from the entire world.
Second, the internship component at the center of the UCDC experience will give you seriously valuable job experience. You can work in a think tank, in a museum, for a labor union or other social justice advocacy group, for someone in Congress, or for big or little media. That's just the beginning of the list of possibilities. In your internship you'll get to utilize and hone your writing skills, learn about how organizations function, and make all kinds of connections for your future (that's part of what DC is all about--networking). The UCDC center helps you develop your self-presentation as a professional about to launch into the job world, and navigate that world once you're in it.
Almost all courses at UCDC are small, so you'll get lots of attention from your professors. Most of the courses are pitched to understanding DC, so there's synergy between your classes, your internship, and your daily life. The long research paper you write (and history majors do great on this front!) helps you work on your writing and research skills. It can build on your internship experience, too, if you want.
Finally, UCDC is a great, fun, adventure. You get to hang out with students from all over the UCs, and meet all sorts of fascinating (and sometimes famous) guest speakers who visit the center. You can travel to New York City on the weekend at some point. You can listen to the people who do the work at the center, and hear about their daily lives, struggles, and points of view on the city. And oh, yes, you can go out at night and dance.
Dana Frank, Professor of History at UC Santa Cruz, taught in the UCDC program in the Spring quarter of 1996 and the Fall of 2012. She taught a research seminar for UCSC students and other courses on U.S. labor and women's history, with an emphasis on Washington, DC, history. She has advised prospective UCDC students for twenty years, served regularly on the UCDC admissions committee, and helped place post-UCDC students in Washington-area jobs.
"The UCDC program has been one of the most gratifying experiences as a history student at UCSC. Going to the nation's capital was an opportunity I couldn't have anywhere else for my education, whether I wanted to do archival work, apply my history skills to international relations or research, or even to do work in museums and public history." - Stephen Pearson, Class of 2014
UCDC courses are reviewed and approved by the History Department upon your successfully completetion of the UCDC program. Upon your return to UC Santa Cruz, make an appointment with the Undergraduate Director, Professor Noriko Aso, to complete a Post-UCDC Course Approval form (enterable PDF). Be prepared to justify why these courses should qualify as part of your major or minor. After your meeting with the Undergraduate Director, return your approved Post-UCDC Course Approval form to the History Department Office for inclusion in your academic file.
The Robert T. Matsui-U.C. Congressional Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to undergraduate students in the University of California Washington Program engaged in term-time congressional internships. The program aims to support this public service internship by providing financial support, placement assistance, and special programming for each class of Fellows. All University of California undergraduate degree candidates participating in UCDC for the fall, winter, or spring academic term are eligible to apply.