Pickering (Thomas R.) Foreign Affairs Fellowships


The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. Pickering Fellows receive up to $37,500 annually for completion of two-year master’s degrees in an academic field relevant to the word of the Foreign Service (public policy, international affairs, public administration, business, economics, political science, sociology, or foreign languages). This includes up to $21,500 per year for tuition and mandatory fees and an academic year stipend of $16,000. The program 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. In exchange for funding, all Pickering Fellows commit to a five-year service requirement with the Department of State’s Foreign Service upon entry into the Foreign Service.


  • U.S. citizen
  • Senior or recent alumnus/a
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Must commit to spending at least five years working in the Foreign Service; service must begin upon entry into the Foreign Service

Application Materials:

  • A completed application
  • Personal statement (600 words) discussing your reasons for applying, interest in international affairs, commitment to pursue a career in the Foreign Service of the Department of State, and any relevant experience or information
  • Statement of financial need
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official financial aid award letter from last year of undergraduate studies
  • FAFSA Student Aid Report
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
    • Original copy will be needed if selected as a finalist
  • GRE/GMAT scores (optional)
  • Transcripts

Application Procedure:

Office Application Deadline - September 22, 2020* 

While this scholarship does not require office involvement, we highly encourage applicants to notify the office by email (urfm@psu.edu) to allow us to help them prepare their written materials before the national deadline in October.

National Application Deadline - September 29, 2021 (Expected)

Applications must be submitted directly using the online application system.

Year at Time of Application: 
Senior or Beyond, Recent Alum
Duration of Award: 
Full Year or More
Underrepresented Ethnicity
Direct Submission
Area of Interest: 
Humanities, International Relations Political Science and Law
Earliest Application Deadline: 
Sept. – Dec.
Penn-State Sponsored: 
Fellowship Components: 
Public Service
Graduate School
Financial Need