Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State, administered by Howard University, that attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State.   It welcomes the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department, women, and those with financial need.  Based on the fundamental principle that diversity is a strength in our diplomatic efforts, the program values varied backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, social, and geographic diversity.

The Pickering 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 Foreign Service entry requirements, fellows have the opportunity to work as Foreign Service Officers in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC and at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission around the globe.   Fellows also agree to a minimum five-year service commitment in the Department of State’s Foreign Service.  The five-year service commitment begins upon entry into the Foreign Service.


This is a highly selective program. To be eligible to participate, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • 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 2019 in an academic field relevant to the work of the Foreign Service (public policy, international affairs, public administration, business, economics, political science, sociology, or foreign languages).
  • Have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale

Period of Study

During this two-year program, you will enroll in graduate school in the fall of your first year and work toward your master’s degree throughout your fellowship.  Your two internships with the State Department—one in the U.S., the other overseas—will be in the summer between the first and second year of your graduate program and the summer after you finish.

Special Considerations

The Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need.


The Pickering Program plans to award 45 fellowships of up to $84,000 for tuition, room, board, books, and mandatory fees for completion of two-year master’s degrees. 


Completed applications will include the following materials:

  • Personal background information
  • A personal statement 
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A statement of financial need 
  • Official financial aid award letter from the applicant’s last year of undergraduate studies
  • FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Transcripts from all colleges and universities the applicant has attended for credit
  • A copy of GRE/GMAT scores 

Application materials are available on the Pickering Fellowship website


Applications are due October 21, 2020. 

Additional information and materials are available on the Pickering Fellowship website


Class Year

  • Senior
  • Recent Graduate
  • Graduate


  • Arts
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Health
  • Humanities
  • International Affairs
  • Public Affairs/Government
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM
  • Multiple


  • English


  • Yearlong
  • Other

Program Type

  • Graduate Study
  • Professional
  • Public Service
  • Tuition Aid


  • North America

GWU Sponsored?


GWU Endorsement Required?