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.


Rangel, Pickering and Payne Fellows study at SIS in 2023-24

SIS Partner Funding Opportunities

SIS partners with the organizations below to offer funding that can help make your graduate education more financially accessible. SIS funding support ranges from application fee waivers to partial scholarships and graduate assistantships.

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 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 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 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.

External Funding Opportunities

This list of opportunities includes funding resources that aim to serve historically underrepresented populations. Each collapsible contains specific information on how to apply for these opportunities outside of SIS. 

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 American Association of University Women International Fellowships (AAUW) are awarded to women who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents and are pursuing full time study or research in the United States. Both graduate and postgraduate studies at accredited U.S. institutions are supported. Application is open from August 1-November 15. 
Eligibility: Applicants must have the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. This fellowship is renewable for two years. 

For the class of 2019, we’re seeking female-identifying college students in 6 locations who can commit to 4 hours a week for four months. In return, we offer a $1,000 stipend, a tablet to work with and keep, a travel stipend to Washington, DC in October, and a network of support. You’ll get one-on-one coaching and a diverse support system of other fellows and organizers. Interested in joining the fight against nuclear weapons? The BombSquad fellowship is an opportunity to advocate for a no first use policy in the United States. All collegiate women are encouraged to apply,

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.

Begin your path toward becoming one of our nation’s future Latino policymakers. Recent college graduates can take advantage of this paid CHCI Public Policy Fellowship, which opens doors for talented young Latinos who are pursuing a career in public policy. Our goal is to help you accelerate your career in public policy so that more Latinos attain higher levels of policy leadership, which will make a better America for us all. You will spend nine months working in Washington, D.C., with significant exposure to leaders in congressional offices, federal agencies, national nonprofit advocacy organizations, government-related institutes, and more—growing both personally and professionally during your fellowship experience.

 Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must have earned a Bachelor’s Degree within three years of the program start date
  • High academic achievement (preference of 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 without restriction for any U.S. employer

Deadline to apply: December each year; Fellowship runs August-May 

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 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 Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Bridging the Dream Scholarship is for currently enrolled graduate students (full- or part-time). The deadline each year is Oct. 1st and the $10,000 award provides funding for the current academic year. These awards are for diverse students, defined by TMCF as including, but not limited to: gender, disability, race, ethnicity, or belonging to an underserved community. See the TMCF website for more on eligibility and how to apply.

Through the Horizons Scholarship, Women In Defense encourages women to pursue careers supporting U.S. national security, with a focus on defense or foreign policy. The application will open early February. 
Eligibility: Be a female currently enrolled at an accredited university or college, either full-time or part- time. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible; undergraduates must have attained at least junior level status (60 credits). Demonstrate interest in pursuing a career related to national security or defense. Demonstrate financial need. Have a minimum grade point average of 3.25. Be a citizen of the United States 

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 Summer 2023 – December 1, 2022
Deadline Fall 2023 – 

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.

EmpowHer is a 14 week spring and summer program that helps undergraduates, graduates, and recently graduated women (those who identify as a women) to gain professional development and secure an internship in Washington D.C. Summer funding is also available. Areas of interest include and are not limited to: government, public service, nonprofit endeavors, the private sector, and/or women’s rights, and can include the social sciences, the humanities, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and the arts. 

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 to 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 internship, which includes housing for those not living in DC. The internrship is open to all students (both undergraduate and graduate) regardless of ethnicity, age, gender, faith, etc. 

Spring Deadline: October 3, 2022
Summer Deadline: February 28, 2023
Fall Deadline: June 30, 2023

The Robina Franklin Williams Internship is seeking diverse applicants for its internship program at the Council of Foreign Relations. CFR generally considers undergraduate and graduate students with majors in international relations, political science, economics, or a related field for its Robina Franklin Williams Internship Program. A regional specialization and language skills may also be required for some internships. In addition to meeting the intellectual requirements, applicants should have excellent skills in administration, writing, research, and computers, as well as previous office experience. Interns must also be willing to commit to fourteen to eighteen hours per week.

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, 2023

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.


Fellowship Availability: Fall 2022 (September - December 2022)
Application Deadline: August 11, 2022

Full time interns receive a stipend of  $1000 at the completion of the internship. In addition to assisting with the Author and Embassy Series programs, interns also contribute to Celebrating Women Leaders Benefit Luncheons. Interns will also research foreign policy topics before events, assist in media outreach, the production of our newsletter, as well as update the WFPG database and webpage. 
Eligibility: Students must be eligible to work in the United States. 

Organizations provide a stipend for the students' living expenses and other costs. The Thursday Luncheon Group's (TLG)mission is to increase the participation of African Americans and other minorities in the formulation, articulation, and implementation of U.S. foreign policy. TLG works in conjunction with the Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies (HECFAA) and Asian American in Forgien Affairs Association(AAFA) to provide internships. Applications are usually open from mid September until November 1 for summer internships.