Payne Fellowship

Payne Fellowship

Funding for 2 years of postgraduate study for a master’s degree in an area related to international development or related area

The Payne Fellowship seeks to attract outstanding individuals interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The USAID provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people’s compassion and support of human dignity through pressing global challenges such as poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism. The fellowship provides up $48,000 per year for 2-year programs that covers tuition and a stipend for room and board, books and other education-related expenses. Fellows receive an appointment to the USAID Foreign Service, with a required 5 years of service.



  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall for a 2-year program at a U.S. university in an area of relevance to the Foreign Service
    • Public Policy
    • International Affairs
    • Development
    • History
    • Communications
    • Agriculture
    • Environmental Sciences
    • Urban Planning
    • Public Administration
    • Business Administration
    • Economics
    • Political Science
    • Foreign Languages
  • Have a GPA of 3.2 or higher


  • Up to 15 per year

Selection Criteria:

  • Community activities
  • Academic excellence
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Leadership skills and potential
  • Demonstrated financial need

Application Material:

  • Payne Fellowship Application
  • Personal Statement
  • Short essay
  • Financial Need Statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation
    • 1 from a faculty member
    • 1 from a community leader or other individual who can comment on the applicant’s non-academic accomplishments and their potential to serve as a USAID Foreign Service Officer
  • Student Aid Report
  • Official Financial Aid Statement from your senior year, if you received financial aid


NOTE: Payne Fellows who obtain a master’s degree are committed to a minimum of 5 years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Payne Program and the subsequent 5-year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation



External deadline: November 1, 2020 by 9:59 pm MST



October 21, 2020: National deadline

Early December: Notification of finalist selection

Mid-January: Interviews

Late-January: Notification of selection

Length of Scholarship: 2 years

Scholarship Website:

Contact Information:

Director: Ginger Smoak:

Advisor: Alison Shimko: