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Contact:
Rebecca Coughlin
Director, SIS Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

School of International Service, Room 112

4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016 United States

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Making the most of your master's education

Graduate school can present a wealth of opportunities to launch or expand your career in international affairs, but we also recognize the challenges grad school can bring. Whether your focus is on funding your education, gaining experience abroad, building your professional network or all of the above, we know these challenges hit our students from historically underrepresented groups especially hard.

We partner with other organizations on campus and off who share our commitment to increasing diversity in the field of international affairs and we collaborate with each other to build an increasingly inclusive school community. The programs, funding opportunities and campus resources below may be just what you need to decide the time is right to pursue your graduate education or to enhance your experience as a current SIS student.

an SIS staff member speaks with new graduate students as part of the SIS Navigators program

SIS Navigators

SIS invites first year graduate students from historically underrepresented groups to connect with an SIS Navigator as they begin to pave their way through graduate school.

Learn More

Funding Opportunities

This list of opportunities includes funding resources that aim to serve historically underrepresented populations.  

The Pedro Zamora Public Policy fellowship is an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students seeking experience in public policy and government affairs focused on HIV/AIDS issues.

Fellows contribute to a variety of assignments including: researching a variety of public health and civil rights issues related to HIV prevention, treatment and care; attending Congressional hearings and coalition meetings; monitoring voting records; reviewing the federal register and Congressional Record; preparation of briefing materials, correspondence, and mailing; and general office administration. Students must commit to working a minimum of 30 hours per week for 8 weeks, with a maximum of 26 weeks possible. The fellowship also includes a stipend.

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation (EAF) is an organization dedicated to lifelong learning by providing students with scholarships, fellowships, and grants. The organization provides graduate students with two scholarship opportunities: merit-based scholarships and financial need scholarships.

Merit Based Scholarship eligibility:

  • Be a full-time, sophomore or beyond;
  • Be currently enrolled in an accredited degree-granting institution;
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 ("B" average);
  • Demonstrate community service and involvement.

Financial Need Scholarship Eligibility:

  • Be a full-time, sophomore or beyond;
  • Be currently enrolled in an accredited degree-granting institution;
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.5 ("C+" average;
  • Demonstrate community service and involvement.

The Rangel Program is a collaborative effort between Howard University and the U.S. State Department that seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. The program seeks individuals interested in helping to shape a freer, more secure and prosperous world through formulating, representing, and implementing U.S. foreign policy. The Program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need.

SIS Partnership: SIS offers bridging funds to all recipients of the Charles Rangel Fellowship.

The CBCF Fellowship Program was created in 1976 with the purpose of increasing the number of African Americans working as professional staff in the U.S. Congress. The fellowship program is open to students with a graduate or professional degree completed prior to the program start date. It consists of a 20-month paid fellowship where fellows will work as full-time legislative aides in congressional offices and on congressional committees. There are four different fellowships:

  • The CBCF Congressional Fellowship Program
  • The CBCF Stokes Urban Health Public Policy Fellows Program
  • The CBCF Donald M. Payne Foreign Policy Fellows Program
  • The CBCF Congressional Fellows Program on Energy

The CBC Spouses Education Scholarship is the CBCF's general scholarship, open to all students seeking financial aid to pay for their education. In order to be considered students should meet the eligibility criteria below:

  • Be preparing to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree full-time or be a current full-time student in good academic standing at an accredited college or university;
  • Have a minimum of 2.5 GPA;
  • Exhibit leadership ability and participate in community service activities.

The CHCI scholarship seeks to help students attain higher education by providing financial assistance with post-secondary education. The scholarships are afforded to Latino students in the United States with a history of performing public-service oriented activities in their communities and who demonstrate desire to continue their civic engagement in the future. It is a one time scholarship of $5,000 to pursue graduate-level study intended to assist with tuition, room and board, textbooks, and other educational expenses. Eligibility criteria:

  • Full-time enrollment in an accredited community college, four-year university, or graduate/professional program
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Consistent, active participation in public and/or community service activities
  • Strong writing skills
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees, or individuals who are lawfully authorized to work full-time.

The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people's compassion and support of human dignity. The Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $90,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, provides a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.

SIS Partnership: SIS offers bridging funds to all recipients of the Donald Payne Fellowship.

The FHI 360 Global Health Research Fellowship is a two-year, post-graduate program located at the headquarters in Durham, North Carolina. The fellowship allows fellows to be mentored by a cadre of experienced FHI 360 scientists, as well as the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary research teams from a variety of departments.

Fellows can participate in a range of assignments, including: study monitoring, protocol development, data management, and IRB submission and review processes. Additionally, fellows will have the opportunity to learn about and participate in research activities in areas such as clinical science, behavioral and social sciences, health service delivery, operations research, monitoring and evaluation, and more.

Global Health Corps (GHC) believes that a global movement of individuals and organizations fighting for improved health outcomes and access to healthcare for the poor is necessary in order to change the unacceptable status quo of extreme inequity.

GHC currently places fellows in Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, the United States, and Zambia.

Fellows work in a yearlong paid position with a manager at the placement organization who provides guidance and support.

Fellowships are available in a wide range of areas, from monitoring and evaluation to supply chain management, and communications to human resources. GHC focuses on engaging young people in fields that help to build health systems and improve health services without requiring clinical training.

Through "Dándole Alas a Tu Éxito/Giving Flight To Your Success," Southwest Airlines will provide round trip tickets to students with socioeconomic need who travel away from home to pursue a higher education. Students must submit a transcript and certificate of enrollment from the university that they are attending. More information is available regarding the online application, eligibility criteria and deadlines for the travel award program.

The fellowship is for full-time graduate students with an interest in the intellectual and institutional foundations of a free society. The fellowship is awarded to students regardless of race, gender, religion, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, or disability. The fellowship awards up to $15,000 for your studies for one year with the possibility of reapplying each year. In addition, fellows are also eligible to attend invitation-only events that provide them with opportunities to discuss new research and other advanced topics with leading scholars. The fellowship also offers the possibility of attending the annual Humane Studies colloquium where you can present and discuss research ideas. 

Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of university students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.

Each program is highly interdisciplinary and features daily lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians and activists, as well as site visits to government agencies, non-profit and community organizations, museums and memorials. The programs seek to highlight different models of action to remedy injustice.

The objective of the Humanity in Action Fellowship is to facilitate a collective exploration of the social and political roots of discrimination, as well as to provide a forum where potential solutions to some of today's most challenging issues can be considered and discussed. The programs are also intended to instill a responsibility among Humanity in Action Fellows to recognize and address the need to protect minorities and promote human rights—in their own communities and around the world.

Programs run from late May through early July in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Lyon and Warsaw

Eligibility: Students and recent graduates from universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States

The Diplomacy & Diversity Fellowship is an educational program for 24 American and European graduate students that focuses on the changing international dynamics of diplomacy and diversity. The fellowship takes place in Washington, D.C.; Paris; and Berlin; it is a 4-week program that will take place in May/June each year. Students will explore how American and European governments and societies are responding to a wide range of international and national diversity issues. The guiding mission for the program is to increase awareness of the importance of diversity in diplomacy and other international fields and to encourage and sustain the careers of professionals from minority backgrounds in foreign affairs.  

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 200 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential. The goal of the McNair Scholars Program is to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

SIS Partnership: SIS offers at least one scholarship yearly to newly admitted graduate students who were participants in the McNair program as undergraduates. McNair Scholars are also offered application fee waivers.

The Native American Community Scholars Awards allow students that are formally or informally related to a Native American community to undertake projects on a Native American subject and utilize the Native American resources at the Smithsonian. 

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship provides opportunities for continuing generations of able and accomplished New Americans to achieve leadership in their chosen fields. The fellowship is up to $25,000 in maintenance grants and up to $20,000 in tuition support for each year of supported graduate study in any field and in any advanced degree-granting program. Applicants must be no more than 30 years old on the application deadline, and must be naturalized U.S. citizens, hold a green card, or be the child of two naturalized U.S. citizen parents. For more information, please see the fellowship.

The PPIA mission is to promote the inclusion and full participation of underrepresented groups in public service and to advance their leadership roles throughout our civic institutions serving domestic and international affairs.

The PPIA Fellowship Program helps students achieve a Master’s or joint degree, typically in public policy, public administration, international affairs or a related field. The organization does this through the intensive study provided by participation in a Junior Summer Institute (JSI), through partnerships with universities across the country, and through an alumni network that provides opportunities to connect with nearly 4000 individuals who share the same interest in public service.  

The entry point for the PPIA Fellowship Program is attendance at one of our Junior Summer Institutes (JSI). Each year, this national program selects an elite group of students to participate in our Junior Summer Institutes, where these high-potential individuals are equipped with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in graduate school and ultimately, in influential roles serving the public good.

SIS Partnership: SIS offers two-thirds to full tuition scholarships to newly admitted PPIA fellows. Application fee waivers are also available.

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program provides funding to participants as they are prepared academically and professionally to enter the United States 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.

The Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Programs seek to recruit talented students in academic programs relevant to international affairs, political and economic analysis, administration, management, and science policy. The goal is to attract outstanding students from all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State. The Programs develop a source of trained men and women from academic disciplines representing the skill needs of the Department, who are dedicated to representing America's interests abroad.

SIS Partnership: SIS offers bridging funds to all recipients of the Graduate Pickering Fellowship. Pickering fellows are also offered an application fee waiver.

The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program (Yellow Ribbon Program) is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50% of those expenses and the VA will match the same amount as the institution. This award is meant to bridge the gap between Post-9/11 benefits and private university tuition and fees.

Internship Opportunities

This list of internship opportunities are offered by organizations with a committed interest to diversity and inclusion. Many of them are paid internships.

The CHCI Congressional Internship provides college students with a paid work placement in a Congressional Office or Federal Agency for a period of 12 weeks (Fall/Spring) or 8 weeks (Summer), allowing students to gain a first hand experience with our nation's legislative process. The Eligibility Criteria include:

  • Must be enrolled full time.
  • High academic achievement (preference of a 3.0 GPA or higher)
  • Evidence of leadership skills and potential for leadership growth
  • Demonstrated commitment to public service-oriented activities
  • Superior analytical skills, outstanding oral and written communication skills
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, asylees or individuals who are lawfully authorized to work full-time

Deadline for summer: December 1, 2017.

This internship program is a nine-week summer program that offers the opportunity to college students from across the nation to learn about the legislative process, leadership and careers in the policy making process. Interns work in Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member offices, attend professional development events, and participate in leadership development projects. Interns receive a $3,000 stipend and housing at a local university with all expenses covered.

Work with the largest development agency in the world. USAID is home to a wide range of world-renowned global health experts working on projects of international scope and importance. The internships are based in USAID's Global Health Bureau and other bureaus. These compensated positions will not only provide you with a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in the field of global health, you'll also be at the center of some of the most important and interesting work being done today. All internships require US citizenship or US permanent resident status.

The HACU National Internship Program provides students with the opportunity of intern with a range of federal agencies in order to gain experience and develop professionally. The internship runs for 15 weeks (Fall/Spring) or 10 weeks (Summer). It is a paid scholarship, which includes housing for those not living in DC. The scholarship is open to all students (both undergraduate and graduate) regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, faith, etc. 

Spring & Summer deadline: October 27, 2017

The Smithsonian offers students from a range of backgrounds a variety of internship opportunities. The internships range from general (such as the General Smithsonian Internship Pool) to specific internships (such as the Minority Internship Program and the Native American Internship Awards). In addition there are numerous internships that are specific to Smithsonian museums (the National Museum of African American History and Culture). Some internships may include stipends.

The Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship provides Native American and Alaskan Native American students with the opportunity to participate in a ten-week summer internship in Washington, D.C. The internship provides students with round-trip airfare, housing, per diem for food and incidentals, and a stipend at the close of the program. Students would be placed with a congressional or agency office and work on legislative issues that pertain to tribal communities, network with key public officials and tribal advocacy groups, experience an insider's view of the federal government, and enhance their understanding of nation-building and tribal self-governance.

Deadline: January 31, 2018

The Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI) in Washington, DC, offers the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship to one student three times annually. The fellowship, which is based on academic excellence and need, is open to both undergraduate and graduate students of color. The Hearst Fellow serves as an intern with PSI in the Washington, DC office of the Aspen Institute. Through this fellowship, PSI seeks to introduce a diverse group of students to issues and challenges affecting philanthropy, social enterprise, nonprofit organizations, and other actors in the social sector. Recipients may arrange with their colleges or universities to receive academic credit for this experience.

Deadlines: March TBD, 2018