Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowships provide funding to participants as they prepare academically and professionally to enter the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service. The program’s goal is to attract outstanding students from all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds who have an interest in Foreign Service careers representing U.S. interests abroad.
Each award covers up to $40,000 annually for actual expenses during the first and second years of graduate school. Tuition costs will be covered first—pending availability, any remaining funding covers room and board, books, fees, and round-trip travel between a fellow’s residence and his or her academic institution. Participating schools provide financial support in the second year of graduate study based on need.
Fellows also receive stipends to support their participation in two paid summer internships—one in Washington, D.C. at the State Department during the summer the first and second years of graduate school, and one overseas at a U.S. embassy during the summer immediately following graduation from graduate school. Fellows also have access to Foreign Service officers and similar professionals for mentoring during the course of their fellowships.
Candidates must be U.S. citizens at the time of application and seeking admission to graduate school for the following academic year—fellows are expected to enroll in two-year full-time master’s degree programs in fields such as public policy, international affairs, public administration, or academic fields such as business, economics, political science, sociology, or foreign languages. Candidates must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.2 on a four-point scale and maintain a similar academic record throughout their participation in the program.
In choosing fellows, the program considers all qualified applicants who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and academic achievement in programs relevant to the work of the U.S. Department of State. Women, members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and students with financial need are encouraged to apply.
Each successful candidate is obligated to a minimum of three years of service in an appointment as a Foreign Service Officer. Candidates must be able to obtain medical, security, and suitability clearances in order to remain in the program.