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The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Program

The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is a program funded by the U.S. Department of State program and administered by Howard University, that attracts and prepares outstanding young people for Foreign Service careers in the U.S. Department of State. It welcomes the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the State Department, women, and those with financial need. Based on the fundamental principle that diversity is a strength in our diplomatic efforts, the program values varied backgrounds, including ethnic, racial, social, and geographic diversity.

The Pickering Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to promote positive change in the world. 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 in accordance with applicable law and State Department policy, serving in Washington, DC and at a U.S. embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission around the globe. 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.

Pickering Program has made, and continues to make, an important contribution to the diversity of the State Department Foreign Service. Fellows currently represent the United States in countries around the world, in areas as diverse as Africa, East Asia, Latin America, South Asia, Europe and Eurasia. They are promoting human rights, assisting American citizens overseas, enhancing prosperity and development, deepening ties between the United States and people around the world, and supporting U.S. global values and interests in many different ways.

The Pickering Program provides graduate fellowships to qualified college seniors and college graduates committed to joining the Foreign Service. The fellowship helps finance two-year graduate programs, provides two summer internships, offers mentoring from a Foreign Service Officer, and provides other professional development activities. The Pickering Program continues to ensure that the Foreign Service reflects the face of America to foreign audiences and provides a source of trained women and men dedicated to pursuing Foreign Service careers with the Department of State and representing America’s interests abroad.

Dates and Deadlines

We will post specific dates for the 2022 Pickering Fellowship application, notifications and interviews as they are determined. The program follows this general schedule:

Application Open: July 2021
Application Close: September 22, 2021
Finalists Notified: October 29, 2021
Finalist Selection Process: November 15-19, 2021

The Pickering selection panel will choose approximately 90 finalists by the end of November. Program staff will communicate the Pickering selection panel's decisions by email to successful and unsuccessful applicants by the end of November. Program staff will invite candidates selected for final consideration to participate in a virtual interview and a written exercise between November 15-19, 2021. The program will complete the selection process and make offers to 45 fellows by late November 2021.


1. Register

Select the appropriate online program that best suits your application (eligibility information is specific to each program). Click on the "Register" link and complete and submit the registration form.

2. Login

Login to the award with your email and password.

3. Create

Create your online application. For a list of required information and attachments, please review the Application Requirements Guide.

4. Save

During the Call for Applications period, your application can be saved as DRAFT until all the required information is completed and attachments uploaded. As each section is complete, you will see a appear in the category tab when the application is saved. At any time, you can download and print your application by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section.

5. Submit

On completion, save your application as FINAL. Download and print a copy of your application for your records by clicking on the icon in the Application Summary section in the right column. Note: If an update is required prior to the Call for Applications period, you can make the update and resave as FINAL.

If you require assistance or additional information, please contact the Program staff at

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First time visitor? Use the "Register" button. Once you submit your registration, use the "Log in" button and start your online application.

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Contact Us

Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Program
2218 6th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-806-6495
Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Program