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Prospective Fellows

Thank you for your interest in the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program. 
  • The opportunity to be a 2022 fellow is now closed. Check back Fall 2021 for information on 2023 fellowships
  • Application guidance is subject to change based on the annual Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity. 

Fellows will be placed in Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government. 

To learn more about the types of placements available through the fellowship program please review the list of potential 2021 Knauss positions.  

To learn more about the fellowship opportunity, watch the video created by the National Sea Grant Office and check out the 2020 Knauss informational webinar.

To learn more about a placement in the Legislative branch, watch the video created by Maryland Sea Grant.

Creating an Application  - Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Class of 2022

Deadline: Applicants must submit application materials by 5:00 p.m. local time on February 19, 2021 to eligible Sea Grant Programs. Applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Sea Grant Program in their state one to two months prior to the state application deadline to receive application support and provide notification of an intent to apply. The applicant should allow sufficient time to schedule an interview with the eligible Sea Grant program at the program’s request. For reference, please see full Federal Funding Opportunity (HERE) for more important information (note--a student will not apply through, application submission is through the Sea Grant program in the state in which the student is earning their degree. If there is no Sea Grant program, a Sea Grant program will be assigned). 


Any graduate student, regardless of citizenship, is eligible to submit to this opportunity if:

  1. The student is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program (PhD, MA/MS, JD) at any point between the onset of the 2020 Fall Term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and February 19, 2021;
  2. The graduate degree will be awarded through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories, and;
  3. The student has an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Required Elements - An application package must include:

(1) Curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages).

(2) Personal education and career goal statement emphasizing the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations of the fellowship experience in terms of their career development (1000 words or less).

(3) Two signed letters of recommendation. Must include one from a faculty member with knowledge of the applicant’s academic and research (when applicable) performance. All applicants will be evaluated solely on their application package according to the criteria listed in the Federal Funding Opportunity Section V. Therefore, letters of endorsement from members of Congress, friends, or relatives will not be accepted. Any letters beyond the two letters of recommendation and the eligible Sea Grant Director’s letter will be disregarded by the selection panel.

(4) Listing of classes and/or plans for spring 2021, summer 2021 and fall 2021 (not to exceed one page).

(5) Clear, scanned copy of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.

(6) For applicants in a state or territory not served by an eligible Sea Grant program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant program, a written statement from the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager referring the applicant to the most appropriate eligible Sea Grant program must be included as part of that applicant's application package to the Sea Grant program.

If an application reaches the national level review, the letter of endorsement from the sponsoring Sea Grant program director, required federal application documents, and required Sea Grant budget forms will also be considered.

Evaluation Criteria - At the state/territory and national Sea Grant reviews, components of the application will be evaluated with consideration of the following criteria:
(1) Recommendations and/or endorsements of student (10 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program the endorsements and content of the letter from the applicant's academic reference, and the second letter of recommendation are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the letters demonstrate knowledge of the applicant and their abilities;
  • the letters speak to the leadership potential, confidence, maturity, and self-direction of the applicant;
  • the letters provide evidence of the applicant’s willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond their area of expertise and an openness and capacity to expand experience;
  • the letters provide evidence of the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts.

(2) Academic record (5 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program, the graduate and undergraduate transcripts, as well as the curriculum vitae, are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the education and experience in the applicant’s area of expertise are appropriate to the career stage;
  • the applicant displays strength in academic performance and competitive course grades;
  • records of publications and/or presentations are appropriate to the career stage, field, and institutional setting.

(3) Statement of career goals of the student (45 percent). For the Knauss Fellowship program, the career goal statement is reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the goal statement is specific, direct, and concise while discussing what the applicant would bring to and gain from the Knauss fellowship;
  • how clearly the applicant articulates a career or life goal;
  • the future year activities support the career goals of the applicant;
  • the goal statement demonstrates the applicant’s diverse personal and professional background;
  • the goal statement provides evidence of creative thinking, analytical skill, and/or indicates the applicant’s capacity and willingness to make connections between science and broader economic, social, and political issues;
  • the goal statement demonstrates the applicant’s ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts;
  • the goal statement includes clear objectives which align with the broader mission of the Sea Grant program and NOAA.

(4) Additional relevant experience related to diversity of education; extra-curricular activities; honors and awards; work and life experience; and interpersonal, written and oral communication skills (40 percent total). For the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program, relevant experience would be in marine or aquatic-related fields. The curriculum vitae, career goal statement, and future year activities are reviewed on the extent to which:

  • the applicant has employment, volunteer, or extracurricular activities in relevant academic, applied, research, administration outreach, or policy positions;
  • the experience in the applicant’s area of expertise is appropriate to the career stage;
  • the applicant has received relevant honors and awards;
  • the applicant has shown interest in working with diverse stakeholders;
  • the applicant’s experience demonstrates a commitment to apply scientific expertise to serve society;
  • The applicant demonstrates work/life experiences that are relevant and applicable to serving the American people;
  • the applicant’s experiences show prior leadership roles relevant to career stage (e.g., student government, faculty committees, advisory committees, professional societies, community initiatives, etc.).

The application will also be reviewed more generally for clarity (e.g., misspelled words, grammatical errors, undefined acronyms, etc.). 

For Further Information:

If you have any questions, please contact your nearest Sea Grant program, or reach out to:
Fellowships Management Team
NOAA National Sea Grant Office
Tel. (240) 507-3712