Program Dates

For summer 2021, students will arrive in DC on Saturday, June 5 and depart DC on Saturday July 31, 2021. Internships should begin Monday, June 7 and run through Friday, July 30. There will also be enrichment activities and meet and greets with guest practitioners on some evenings and/or on weekends during the program.

The Course and Course Objectives

Students will receive 3 credit hours for their internship and 3 credit hours for an online course, ADPR 5990e – Public Affairs Communications – Practice in a Federal Context, for a total of 6 credit hours.

The goal of this course is to provide students with the tactical skills essential to make them effective public affairs practitioners in Washington, D.C., as well as to develop an understanding of the nature public affairs communications at the federal level. Students will complete 8 modules that provide students with the essential skills needed to support a public affairs principal and manage external affairs in Washington, D.C.  Students will learn to develop briefing materials, testimony, as well as the basics of speechwriting, fundraising, and event planning, among other things in the federal context.

Who can apply?

This program is only open to students currently enrolled in Grady College or students outside of Grady who are enrolled in the Public Affairs Professional Certificate Program or in School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA).

Apply to Grady DC Field Study and Internship Program

Applications open in August of each year. Applications for Summer 2020 are due by 5pm, Thursday, January 16, 2020.

To apply, click the “Apply now” button, which will direct you to UGA’s of Global Engagement’s StudyAway Portal.  If you have any questions about the application process, contact Rebekah Ryan, Grady College distance learning coordinator, at

Program Faculty

Joseph Watson, Jr. is the program Director and Faculty for the Grady DC Field Study and Internship Program. Watson is the inaugural Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications at Grady College. In this role, Watson oversees the first program in the nation to provide students with practical training in the strategy and practice of public affairs communications focused on public policy and politics.

Professor Joseph Watson brings 20 years of experience in public affairs, campaigns and communications to Grady College. He served as an appointee in the Administration of President George W. Bush where he led the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s domestic policy office. Professor Watson also worked on Capitol Hill, serving as Legislative Director and Legislative Counsel to former U.S. Senator Peter G. Fitzgerald of Illinois.

Prior to joining the faculty of Grady College, Professor Watson established and led the public affairs communications group for Exelon Corporation, a Fortune 100 company. At Exelon, he managed award-winning public advocacy campaigns that successfully raised public and policymaker awareness of the value of nuclear energy, culminating in the enactment of unprecedented new legislation and rules promoting nuclear energy in Illinois and New York. Prior to leading Exelon’s Public Advocacy group, he managed federal government affairs for the company in Washington, D.C.


Contact Professor Watson with any questions about the program:


Joseph Watson, the Carolyn Caudell Tieger Professor of Public Affairs Communications