California Sea Grant State Fellowship

Application Deadline: September 02, 2019

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2020 California State Fellows Program. The State Fellows Program provides a unique educational opportunity for graduate students who are interested in marine, coastal, and/or watershed resources and in the decisions affecting those resources in California. Modeled after the highly successful Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program, the State Fellows Program provides an opportunity to acquire on-the-job experience in the planning, implementation and management of marine, coastal, and/or watershed resource policies and programs in the state of California. The program matches highly motivated and qualified graduate students and recent graduates with hosts in state, federal or municipal agencies in California for a 12-month paid fellowship ($3,905 per month).

There will also be an opportunity for state fellows to work with the Sea Grant Extension program. California Sea Grant extension specialists work with state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and members of the California coastal community to identify emerging marine resource problems and opportunities, conduct applied scientific research, and share findings with stakeholder groups. Fellows will choose extension project/s that align with their fellowship assignments and is anticipated to contribute no more than two months spread out over the year.

Application Deadline: September 2, 2019, 5:00 PM PST

Informational webinar:

There was an optional informational webinar about this fellowship program along with applications tips on Tuesday, August 13, from 3:30 pm– 4:30 pm.

Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
How to Submit
Host Agencies
Guidebook & Past Fellows


Applications may be submitted by a graduate student close to completing his/her degree (Masters, Ph.D., or J.D) in a field related to conservation, management, protection, stewardship, public policy, or law of marine, coastal, and/or watershed environments, or areas that impact those environments, at a California university.  Graduate students who recently completed their degree at a California university with graduation date [i.e. date the degree was awarded by the university] after May 1, 2018 are also eligible to apply.  Applicants should address their degree of interest and experience in either marine/coastal/watershed science, natural resource management, public policy, and/or law.  Fellows must complete all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Sea Grant is committed to increasing the diversity of the Sea Grant workforce and of the communities we serve.  Sea Grant embraces individuals of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking.

Stipend and Expenses

Each fellow will receive $46,860 in stipend for the twelve-month assignment ($3,905/month). Additional funds will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($3,120) and to cover travel for the matching workshop, state fellow’s in-person meeting, and fellowship related travel ($2,400). Additional travel associated with the fellowship may be covered by the host agency at the agency’s discretion.

Length of Assignment

The length of assignment is 12 months (non-renewable). The fellowship will begin in early winter between January 2020 through March 2020, though other schedules may be arranged.


A complete application will include:

  1. Personal and academic curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12-point font).
  2. A personal education and career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant's abilities and interests, and the applicant's expectations of the career development experience (1,000 words or less).
  3. Two letters of professional recommendation, including one from the student's major professor. If no major professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant academically may be substituted.
  4. Copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts. Unofficial copies will be accepted.

How to Submit an Application

The electronic files comprising your application must be submitted as PDFs using eSeaGrant, California Sea Grant’s online submission portal:


You will need to register for an account (click on the banner labeled “Register”) in eSeaGrant if you have not done so in the past year. You can change the randomly generated password once you log in successfully into the website.  To apply for this fellowship, follow eSeaGrant instructions specific for this opportunity.

Please make sure to include your last name in the file names for each section of the proposal (e.g., Smith_statement.pdf or Smith_cv.pdf). When naming the document please do not use apostrophes. Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.

IMPORTANT: To maintain confidentiality, letters of recommendation may be submitted directly from the referee to CASG through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered. Letters may also be emailed to Please address letters to Dr. Shauna Oh, Director, California Sea Grant.  Late submissions may lead to the rejection of incomplete applications. Candidates are encouraged to work with referees to meet the deadline. 

For electronic files larger than 6 MB, contact to make other arrangements.

Only Acrobat documents (pdf) are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant please contact Miho Ligare at or (858) 534-1160.

Application deadline: September 2, 2019, 5:00 PM PST

NOTE: the eSeaGrant proposal portal will close at the date and time stated above, and late applications (even 1 minute late) cannot be accepted.  It is your responsibility to get materials submitted before the deadline.


Download all the host descriptions

Participating hosts for the 2020 class (28 fellowship opportunities total. Download individual position descriptions on the right):

  • California Coastal Commission - Climate Change
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation - Natural Resources Division
  • California Energy Commission
  • California Fish and Game Commission
  • California Ocean Science Trust
  • California State Lands Commission - Coastal Policy, Tribal Engagement, and Environmental Justice
  • California State Lands Commission - Sea-Level Rise Planning and Adaptation
  • California Department of Transportation - Environmental Engineering, Water Quality and Special Projects
  • Delta Science Program - Collaborative Science and Peer Review Unit
  • Delta Science Program - Science Communication, Synthesis, and Decision Support Unit
  • Delta Science Program - Science-Based Adaptive Management Unit
  • Delta Stewardship Council - Planning and Performance Division
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • NOAA Fisheries (Office of Aquaculture and Southwest Fisheries Science Center)
  • NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
  • NOAA Office of Coastal Management
  • Ocean Protection Council - Climate Change Program
  • Ocean Protection Council - Marine Protected Areas Program
  • Port of San Diego - Coastal Policy and Planning
  • Port of San Diego - Environmental Conservation
  • San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission: Regional Sea Level Rise Adaptation
  • San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission: Sediment Management
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership
  • State Coastal Conservancy - Climate Ready
  • State Coastal Conservancy - Coastal Restoration
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality: Ocean Standards Unit
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality: Sustainable Water Plans and Policies
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Office of Information Management and Analysis


Selection of finalists (Class 2020) is made by staff of the California Sea Grant College Program based upon review of written application materials and interviews (in person, Skype, or phone) of a subset of applicants. Selection criteria used by California Sea Grant include: academic ability, communication skills, diversity and appropriateness of academic background, career goals, additional qualifying experience, and support of referees. Selected finalists will be guided through a matching process with host agencies at a mandatory workshop on October 29 - 30, 2019 in Sacramento (travel costs will be reimbursed), and video or phone interviews October 31 – November 8, 2019.  Please note that California Sea Grant will not cover expenses incurred during interviews since traveling is not required to interview. During the interview week, host agencies will have interview slots starting at 7:30am and 5:00pm to accommodate those working. Additional details on the matching process will be made available once finalists are confirmed. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed.


California Sea Grant developed a guidebook for prospective and incoming fellows.

This guidebook covers:

  • How to prepare for the matching workshop
  • Highlights regions and neighborhoods close to agency offices

With contributions from State Fellow alumni, this guide offers insight and experiences from those who have lived through it.

Past Fellows

Read fellows blog, and learn about the previous class agency placements.

Watch the 2016 State Fellow’s video.

Review initial career placement data about alumni.


September 2, 5:00 PM PST: Fellowship applications due
September 4 –  27 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists
September 28 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
October 29 - 30 : MANDATORY matching workshop in Sacramento

October 31 - November 8: (Remote) Finalist Interviews
November 13  (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2020–March 2020: Fellowships begin


For additional information about the State Fellows program (or the Dean John A. Knauss National Sea Grant Fellowship, which matches graduate students with federal hosts in Washington, D.C.), please contact:

Miho Ligare
Research & Fellowship Coordinator
(858) 534-1160



Catherine Courtier
Extension & Program Analyst
(858) 822-2167