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American Studies Program

American Studies Program

For a semester, experience the realities of a lifestyle in public policy, global development, or strategic communication. An internship will provide you with valuable knowledge and skills in an area of interest to you.  Dialogue with leaders in these areas will give you the opportunity to critically assess prominent domestic and international issues

Additional information available at American Studies Program.

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All Messiah approved semester-long, off-campus programs are approved and designed to meet the requirements for the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI). To learn more about the process, please explore the ELI Off-Campus Study Information Page.

  • Students will complete all of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) requirements that are a part of this program.
  • Junior and Seniors - will accept some Sophomores
  • 2.75 GPA or higher

Since studying off-campus for a semester is a privilege, please note the following implications of being place on probation at Messiah University:

  • Chapel Probation: A student currently on chapel probation for the first time (or with an impending chapel probation for the upcoming semester) will be required to communicate or meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.  If a student has been placed on chapel probation more than once during their time at Messiah, they will not be eligible to study off-campus for a semester.
  • Academic Probation or Low GPA: A student on academic probation or whose GPA drops below 2.75 will be not be eligible to study off-campus.

  • Disciplinary Probation: A student who has been placed on disciplinary probation at any time during the off-campus study application / acceptance process will be required to meet with the Director of the Intercultural Office to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.

Off-Campus study is a time of challenge and change. The following are some things you should understand about this program before you participate. Students at ASP should anticipate:

  • Living in regular, close-quarters community in a two-bedroom apartment with 3-5 other students, with shared bathrooms and bunk beds, kitchens, and communal spaces
  • Living in an autonomous setting where a student is in charge of decisions such as meal planning/prep, budgeting, religious activity, etc. without the previously accustomed resources of their home campus (i.e. there is no cafeteria, housekeeping, required chapel, or free on-campus counseling services).
  • Sustaining a weekly schedule that requires evening studies after a full day of work at an internship
  • Walking an average of two miles a day during the work week when commuting to internships and in-city class sessions.
  • Spending time daily in the urban, culturally pluralistic context of Washington, D.C., engaging local Washingtonians, taking public transportation (buses, Metro trains, taxis), and exploring neighborhoods where stark imbalances between power and poverty often reside in the same space
  • Experiencing potentially challenging personal, political, religious, and cultural learning, lectures, field trips and assignments.

Part-time internships in organizations, such as the Department of Justice, White House, Congress, Associated Press, Library of Congress, Christian Legal Society, Samaritan Ministries, Heritage Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institute, give students hands-on experience. Program advisors attempt to place students according to their interests.

Explore Internship Opportunities

Courses may meet general education or major requirements.

Courses will come back on your transcript with a letter grade

Participation in this program does not meet cross-cultural requirements.

Pass/Fail Option

During their university careers, students may take a maximum of four courses on a pass/fail (P/F) basis with these conditions: 

  • Such a course must be from a discipline other than those required for the student's major or minor.
  • Courses fulfilling requirements for a major, minor, or general education may not be used.
  • Students may declare their intention to take a course under the Pass/Fail option when they register or through the first calendar week of classes at the beginning of the new term. Students may also select to return to the letter grade system during this same time period. The selection cannot be changed after the first calendar week of classes.
  • The cut-off point to obtain a P is C–.
  • The instructor will submit only conventional letter grades to the Registrar's Office. This office will then convert the grade to P or F. (An instructor does not know which students are taking a course on a pass/fail basis.

The first FIVE DAYS of your classes are critical:

Recognizing that courses change while abroad, a student is required to communicate to the Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes if their Off-Campus Course Approval Form in Terra Dotta has changed since the original submission/approval. Specifically, if a student desires to change a course to a pass/fail instead of a letter grade, this must be approved by Messiah University Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes at the host partner program.

Auditing

Students are required to take no fewer than 12 credits towards their overall degree requirements and no more than 18 credits. These 12-18 credits include courses taken as pass/fail and letter grades. However, in addition to those 12-18 degree credits, students who would like to audit an academic course for no credit are permitted to do so for up to one 4 credit hour course for the sake of learning, cultural immersion or personal interest at no additional charge. This audited course will not appear on the Messiah University student’s transcript.

What do you pay?

TOTAL COSTS = Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Student services fee + $1,350 off-campus study fee*

*Note: Off-campus study fee increases annually at the same rate as the yearly tuition increase.

These Costs Include:

  • tuition, housing - meals are not included
  • educational excursions
  • pre-departure and re-entry orientation
  • student services fee
    • Student Services fee includes access to various services available to all students, including internet access, the Learning & Writing Centers, Career Services, Disability Services, Library, Department of Safety, Intercultural Office Off-Campus Programs, and other offices that provide a service to students both on and off campus.

Note: additional fees students may encounter include local transportation and meals. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from Washington, D.C.

Credit Limit Policy for Semester-Long, Off-Campus Program

Typically when students study off-campus in Messiah-approved, semester-long programs, students earn between 13 and 18 credits. All students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The tuition/fees charged for Messiah’s approved study abroad programs permits a student to complete 12-18 credits.  Messiah University will process up to 18 credits.  If a student completes more than 18 credits and would like the additional credits applied to their transcript, additional tuition will be charged for credits over 18 and would be assessed after the official transcript is received/processed by Messiah.

Updated 03 March 2021

 *Note: Off-campus study fee increases annually at the same rate as the yearly tuition increase. 

Messiah Pre-Approval Deadlines

  • Fall - December 1
  • Spring - April 1

American Studies Program Deadline

  • Fall - June 1
  • Spring - December 1 

Rolling admissions; students are strongly encouraged to apply early