Interested in a career serving U.S. interests abroad? If so, the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to promote positive change in the world. Upon successful completion of a two-year master’s degree program and fulfillment of fellowship and Foreign Service entry requirements, fellows have the opportunity to work as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Department of State, in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC and at U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions around the globe.
The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program is a U.S. Department of State program collaboratively administered by Howard University and the Bureau of Global Talent Management via a cooperative agreement. The program seeks to attract and prepare outstanding individuals who represent ethnic, gender, social, and geographic diversity and have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State. The Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need.
This is a highly selective program. To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.
- Seek admission to a two-year, full-time, on-campus, master’s degree program at a U.S.-based graduate institution to begin in the fall of 2024 in an academic field relevant to the work of the Foreign Service (public policy, international affairs, public administration, business, economics, political science, management science, organizational development/leadership, sociology, or regional studies).
The Pickering Program plans to award 45 fellowships of up to $42,000 annually for a two-year period for tuition, room, board, books, and mandatory fees for completion of two-year master’s degrees. This includes up to $24,000 per year for tuition and mandatory fees and an academic year stipend of $18,000.
Fellows must obtain graduate degrees in international affairs or a related subject such as public administration, public policy, international relations, business administration, economics, history, political science, communications, or foreign languages at a graduate school approved by the Pickering Program. Law degrees do not satisfy this requirement. Fellows are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 throughout their period of study. Applicants apply to two-year graduate programs at U.S.-based universities separately from their application to the Pickering Program.
Fellows will participate in an orientation at Howard University during the week of June 03, 2024. The purpose of this orientation is to familiarize the Fellows with all aspects of the fellowship and to enhance their understanding of, and skills for, Foreign Service careers.
Two Summer Internships (Domestic and Overseas)
Fellows will participate in two internships. The first, an internship working at the U.S. Department of State headquarters in Washington, DC, will occur in the summer in between their first and second year of graduate study. The second internship will be an overseas placement in a U.S. Embassy or Consulate that takes place during the summer after fellow’s graduation. The program provides additional support for summer travel, housing, and other related expenses.
Pickering Fellows Overseas Internship Locations
Fellows will receive mentoring from Foreign Service Officers for the duration of the fellowship.
Employment and Contractual Obligations
Fellows who successfully complete the Pickering Program and Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments in the State Department Foreign Service in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy. Fellows are required to obtain and maintain security, and suitability clearances and meet the minimum medical qualification standard in order to remain in the program. Each Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service in the Foreign Service. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Pickering Program and the subsequent five-year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation. Visit the Fellow Obligation page to learn more about the obligations that Fellows assume when they accept the fellowship.