Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Important Dates

Visit for details.

Online application availability: Late summer/early fall

Application Deadlines:
Campus deadline: August; candidates may submit directly
National deadline: September

Notification of qualifying candidates: October

Notification of winning candidates: November

Scholarship Overview

Are you passionate about public service and want to represent the US around the world as a foreign service officer?

The Thomas R. Pickering Fellows Program provides outstanding graduate students with financial support, mentoring, and professional development to prepare them academically and professionally for a career in the Department of State Foreign Service. The program funds students as they complete a two-year master's degree and provides them with the opportunity to enter the Foreign Service after graduation. Members of historically underrepresented groups, women, and those with financial need are encouraged to apply.


Information for Applicants

  • Eligibility

    Applicants must be:

    • Undergraduate seniors seeking admission to a two-year, full-time, on-campus master's degree at a US institution 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)
    • US citizens
    • Have a minimum 3.2 GPA at the time of application


    Who cannot apply:

    • International students
    • Students 60+ years old
    • Students planning to pursue a master's in an academic field not relevant to the Foreign Service


    For more information about eligibility requirements, visit

  • Additional Requirements

    As part of your application, you are required to demonstrate that you are in need of financial assistance in order to attend graduate school.

    If you accept a fellowship, you are required to complete your master's degree and commit to a minimum of five years of service in the Foreign Service. 

    Seek advising early in the application process. Schedule an advising appointment with the Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Campus Advisor, Dr. Francisco Miranda, at or 907-786-4035 to discuss intent to apply.

    Interview requirements:
    Campus interview: Yes
    National interview: Yes, for semifinalists

  • Award Benefits
    • Up to $42,000 per year for tuition, room, board, textbooks, and mandatory fees
    • Program orientation before beginning your master's degree
    • Two paid summer internships, one in Washington DC, and one in a US Embassy or Consulate abroad
    • Mentoring from a Foreign Service Officer
    • Employment with the US Department of State Foreign Service upon successful completion of the program and Foreign Service entry requirements


    Award can be deferred for participation in a Fulbright program or for personal/family emergencies. Award cannot be renewed.

  • Candidate Profile
    • Strong leadership and academic excellence
    • Strong interest in working as a Foreign Service Officer with the US Department of State and representing the US around the world
    • A passion for public service
    • Familiarity with the 13 Dimensions of a Foreign Service Officer
    • Ability to articulate and provide examples of the dimensions from your life experiences
    • Preference is given to applicants from historically underrepresented groups in the Foreign Service, women, and students with financial need
  • Application Procedure
    1. Find a faculty member willing to serve as your mentor throughout the application process.
    2. Notify the Pickering Fellowship Foreign Affairs Fellowship Campus Advisor, Dr. Francisco Miranda, at or 907-786-4035 of your intent to apply the semester before you plan to apply for the fellowship.
    3. Schedule and advising appointment with the Pickering Fellowship Foreign Affairs Campus Advisor to discuss internal and external application processes and timelines.
    4. Register at and start completing the application.
    5. Start developing your Personal Statement after reviewing the 13 Dimensions of a Foreign Service Officer. Your statement should discuss your reasons for applying, interest in international affairs, commitment to pursue a career in the Foreign Service, and any relevant experience.
    6. Develop your statement of financial need. Your statement should discuss your need for financial assistance to attend graduate school, any financial assistance received during your undergraduate studies, overall education-related debt, and ability or plans to pay for graduate school independently.
    7. Two letters of recommendation are required. Select recommenders who can explain why you are uniquely qualified for the fellowship. One letter should come from a faculty member who is able to comment on your intellectual achievements, your leadership abilities, and your potential to pursue a career as a diplomat. The other letter may come from someone familiar with your college, volunteer, work, or community activities.
    8. Gather additional materials for your application, including an official financial aid award letter from the applicant's last year of undergraduate studies, a FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR), proof of US citizenship, and transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended for credit. You have the option to provide a copy of GRE/GMAT scores. For a complete list of application components, visit
    9. Submit a complete copy of your application as a PDF to Dr. Francisco Miranda at by the campus deadline. Only complete applications will be considered.
    10. Prepare for your campus interview, which will take place 1-2 weeks after the campus deadline.
    11. The Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program Review Committee will conduct a preliminary selection of applicants and invite selected applicants to a personal interview in Washington DC in November.
    12. Selected candidates will be notified in late November.


    About 13% of applicants receive awards.

  • Advising

    Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Campus Advisor:

    Dr. Francisco Miranda
    ADM 276

    Information sessions:
    The Pickering Fellowship Program staff are available to meet with prospective candidates for one-on-one meetings during August-September at specific times. Visit to book a meeting. There are also some recordings of previous sessions. For more information about the fellowship, visit