Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship

Website: Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship


Funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Howard University, the Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students with financial support, mentoring and professional development to prepare them academically and professionally for a career in the U.S. Department of State Foreign Service. Women, members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and students with financial need are encouraged to apply. Candidates interested in the management and consular career tracks in the Foreign Service are also encouraged. 

Pickering Fellowship Program Benefits

  • Graduate candidates: 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.
  • Two summer internships, one at a domestic office of the Department of State in Washington, D.C. and one overseas at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The program provides stipends, transportation and housing for these internships.
  • Orientation to the Program and the Foreign Service at the Department of State.
  • Mentoring from a Foreign Service Officer throughout the duration of the fellowship.
  • Employment in the Department of State Foreign Service for those who successfully complete the program and Foreign Service entry requirements.




Graduate Fellowship Eligibility:

  • 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 2023 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).
Student Type
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen

Personal background information (e.g., name, contact information, language skills).

A personal statement (600 words or less) that discusses the applicants’ 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.

Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can explain why you are uniquely qualified for the fellowship.  One letter must be from a professor, faculty member, or instructor.  The other letter may be from someone else familiar with your college, volunteer, work, or community activities.

  • Note: Applicants will include contact information for recommenders in the online application.  Recommenders will be sent an email with instructions to submit letters electronically.

A statement of financial need (400 words or less) that discusses the applicant’s need for financial assistance to attend graduate school, including an explanation of financial assistance received during undergraduate studies; overall education-related debt; and, ability/plans to pay for graduate school independently.

Official financial aid award letter from the applicant’s last year of undergraduate studies if she/he received financial aid.  Applicants must submit a Financial Aid Letter listing grants or loans unless they did not receive aid.

FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) for the 2022-2023 academic year.  If an applicant received financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he is required to submit the SAR form.  If an applicant did not receive financial aid during the most recent academic year, she/he must complete the FAFSA to generate a SAR for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Proof of U.S. citizenship, which may include a copy of (choose one) a U.S. passport, birth certificate, or certificate of naturalization.
**Applicants are required to bring originals to the interview if selected as a finalist.

Transcripts from all colleges and universities the applicant has attended for credit.  Please upload university-generated transcripts.  An official transcript would be best; a student copy is acceptable if it is in the format of an official transcript (must list your name, institution name, and most recent/final GPA).
**If you are selected for an interview, you will have to bring an official transcript in a signed, sealed envelope, to the interview.

A copy of GRE/GMAT scores report sent to the student (optional).


The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship is named in honor of one of the most distinguished and capable American diplomats of the latter half of the 20th century.

Ambassador Pickering served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (1997-2000) and as U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. He also was the U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he led the U.S. effort to build a coalition in the UN Security Council during and after the first Gulf War. He has held additional positions in Tanzania, Geneva, and Washington, including as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs and as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger. After retiring from the State Department in 2000, Ambassador Pickering joined The Boeing Company as Senior Vice President, International Relations and member of the Executive Council. He serves on a number not-for-profit boards. He holds degrees from Bowdoin College, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the University of Melbourne and speaks French, Spanish, and Swahili fluently and also Arabic, Hebrew and Russian.


Service Agreement

Upon accepting the fellowship, you will sign a contract that clearly outlines your benefits and responsibilities as a Fellow. Fellows must meet and maintain all Foreign Service entry requirements including security, medical and suitability requirements in order to remain in the program. 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. Failure to meet the contractual obligations, including obtaining and maintaining required medical, security, and suitability clearances may result in your disqualification from the fellowship program and repayment to the U.S. Government of financial assistance received related to your education.

Contact Information

Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
171 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352803
Seattle, WA 98195-2805
Phone: 206-543-4282
Fax: 206-616-4389-


Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship