Experiential Learning

In addition to enrolling in cutting-edge courses, the Program's location in Washington, D.C. provides unparalleled learning opportunities. Up to 6 of the 24 credits required for the LL.M. in Law and Government degree may be for out-of-classroom learning opportunities, including externships and independent studies.


Externships are a critical way to fuse the classroom experience at Washington College of Law with the greater Washington, D.C. classroom. Students can engage in legal work in a number of organizations in the D.C. area.* Fieldwork experience is enhanced by regular advising sessions with the externship professor and supervising attorney. Externships expand a student's network of contacts and provide hands-on experience in a specialized area of interest.

Each semester LL.M. in Law and Government students extern in a variety of places. Recent externships include:

  • Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services
  • D.C. Public Schools, Office of General Counsel
  • D.C. Federal Defender's Office
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Law firms devoted to immigration representation and whistleblowing cases
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
  • U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
  • U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration
  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • The U.S. Senate
  • The U.S. House of Representatives
  • Pan American Health Organization

Students obtain externships in a variety of ways, including applying for positions listed in the Law School's regularly updated Externship Database, applying directly to organizations of interest, attending WCL's annual Externship Fair, and working with the Program's faculty and staff to identify organizations of interest.

Current students may register for an externship online at www.wcl.american.edu/llm/externship.

*International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa may be subject to limitations regarding externships and internships. Please contact the Program for more complete details.

Independent Study Credits

With the prior approval of the Associate Director and a sponsoring faculty member, students may earn credit through independent study. A student pursuing independent study will, under the supervision of a faculty member, research and write about a U.S. public law topic of interest to the student. Each independent study credit hour equals approximately 25 double-spaced typed pages of text. In the past, students have found the independent study a means to delve deeply into a specific topic with the personalized attention of an expert faculty member. In some cases, students will use the independent study to prepare for future publication.