State Department Fellowship Program

AIP State Department fellows headshots

Applications Closed for 2023.

Application Deadline - December 1, 2023 (Extended)

Most of the foreign policy issues faced by the U.S. Department of State have a scientific or technical component. This Fellowship is intended to enhance the S&T capacity of the Department by enabling a scientist or engineer to work for the Department’s Washington, DC headquarters for a one-year term.

This is a unique opportunity to contribute scientific and technical expertise to the Department and raise awareness of the value of scientific input. In turn, scientists broaden their experience by interacting with policymakers in the federal government and learning about the foreign policy process.

The American Astronomical Society generously provides an annual contribution to the AIP State Department Science Fellowship.

Meet the AIP State Department Fellows

  • Membership in one or more of AIP's member societies at the time of application
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Ph.D. in physics or a field closely related to the physical sciences (degree must be complete before the start of the fellowship term)
  • Eligibility for security clearance
  • Interest or experience in S&T aspects of foreign policy
  • Excellent scientific credentials
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communications skills
  • Sound judgment and maturity in decision-making

Current Executive Branch employees are not eligible to serve as AIP State Department Science Fellows while continuing to hold their original federal appointment.

Term and Benefits

Fellowship term

Fellowships are for one year, usually running September through August. Prior to the start of the Fellowship term, Fellows interview with interested offices in the State Department to identify a placement where they wish to serve. Also at that time, arrangements will be made with the State Department to obtain a security clearance.

AIP fellows are part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program.  All fellows are required to attend a two-week orientation in Washington for all Science and Technology Policy Fellows, organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During their term, Fellows are expected to work full-time at their Fellowship. Requests to extend the term for a second year will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


  • Stipend of $86,100 per year
  • Initial allowance of $3,000, which can be used for relocation or other expenses in support of your fellowship
  • Reimbursement for in-service travel or professional development up to a specified maximum 
  • Reimbursement for health insurance premiums up to specified maximum

Scientists at all career stages, including mid- and late-career professionals, are encouraged to apply. Although the Fellowship is a full-time position, arrangements to supplement the stipend by continuing to receive a salary from a current employer while taking a sabbatical or leave of absence during the Fellowship term may be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

Application information

Developing a clear, comprehensive and competitive application takes significant time. Start early and contact your references as soon as possible.  

All application materials must be submitted via our online application system.  It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all application materials, including letters of recommendation, are submitted prior to the deadline.  Applicants can verify receipt of recommendation letters via the online application system.

Application Deadline

  • December 1, 2023 (extended)

Apply here:  AIP State Department Fellowship Application System

Application materials include:

1. Application Form

2. Letter of intent

Your Letter of Intent should be limited to 2 pages and provide information regarding:

  • Reason for applying
  • Scientific training and professional background
  • Foreign policy interest or experience
  • Attributes and experience that would make the applicant effective in this position.

3. Resume

Your resume should be limited to 2 pages with up to one additional page allowed for a list of key publications.

4. Letters of recommendation

Recommendation letters should be from those having direct knowledge of the applicant's character, professional competence and particular attributes or experience that would enhance the candidate's suitability for this position. Three letters are required.

Apply here:  AIP State Department Fellowship Application System