Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Program

Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to promote positive change in the world. The 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.

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 with the U.S. Department of State, in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC or at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission around the globe.

The Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship is a U.S. Department of State program administered by Howard University that seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people, based on financial need, who represent ethnic, gender, social, and geographic diversity and have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State.  Women, members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and students with financial need are encouraged to apply.


  • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen
  • Open to all academic fields
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Graduating senior or alumni
  • Applicants must enroll in a two-year, full-time master’s degree program, at U.S. based graduate institutions only, 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)
    • Recipients must prepare to enter the Foreign Service upon completion of graduate study

Award Highlights: 

  • Up to $37,500 annually for tuition, room and board, books, mandatory fees and some travel expenses for a two-year master’s degree in fields related to the Foreign Service such as business administration, economics, public policy, international affairs, and other relevant fields.
  • 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.

Application Components: 

  • Biographical information
  • Personal statement (600 words maximum)
  • Brief essay (350 words or less) with example of relevant planning or organizing skills
  • Statement of financial need (400 words maximum)
  • Letter of recommendation (2)
    • One from a faculty member who is well acquainted with the individual
    • One from a community leader or other individual who can comment on the applicant’s college, volunteer, work or community activities
  • Proof of citizenship (PDF format)
    • Passport, birth certificate or certificate of citizenship
  • Student aid report (SAR), generated from FAFSA
  • Official financial aid statement from senior year (if student received financial aid)
  • Transcript (s)
  • GRE or GMAT scores (optional)
Award Website

application Deadline

September 21, 2023

Contact the Advising Team

Advisor: Office of Distinguished Scholarship