California Sea Grant State Fellowship (Now Closed)

Application Deadline: September 24, 2015

note: The deadline to apply for the 2016 class has passed. Please return in summer 2016 for information about the next application process

California Sea Grant State Fellowship 2016

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2016 California State Fellows Program. The State Fellows Program provides a unique educational opportunity for graduate students who are interested both in marine resources and in the policy 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 and implementation of marine and/or coastal 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 or Federal agencies in California for a 12-month paid fellowship ($3,600 per month).

Application Deadline: September 24, 2015, 11:59 pm 

Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
Application, Tips & Informational Webinar
How to Submit
Host Agencies - 2016


Graduate students close to completing his/her degree (or recently completed with graduation date [i.e. date diploma awarded by the university] after May 1, 2014) in a marine or coastal-related field at a California university at the time of application may apply. Applicants should address their degree of interest and experience in either marine/coastal science and/or public policy or law.  Fellows must complete all degree requirements before starting the fellowship.

Stipend and Expenses

Each fellow will receive $43,200 in stipend for the twelve-month assignment ($3,600/month). Additional funds will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($2,500) and to cover travel for interviews and fellowship related travel ($2,000). 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 twelve months (nonrenewable). The fellowship, for this competition, will begin in early winter between January 2016 to March 2016, though other schedules may be arranged.

Application, Tips and Informational Webinar

A complete application will include:

  1. Personal and academic curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12 pt. font).
  2. A personal education and career goal statement which emphasizes the applicant's abilities and the applicant's expectations for the experience in the way of career development (1000 words or less).
  3. Two letters of 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. Undergraduate and graduate transcripts must be combined into one PDF before loading into the eSeagrant system.

There will be webinar on Tuesday, September 1, 2015 from 3 – 4pm to go over this presentation and answer questions.

Register for the webinar:
Call in #: 1-866-740-1260; Access code = 8222708
Note the "test your computer" link on the invitation. If you have never used this system, please register and log in early to the webinar to make sure it runs properly on your computer. You may be required to download a ReadyTalk program for the system to work.   

How to Submit

Please upload an electronic copy of all application items. The electronic version of your application must be submitted as PDFs using the California Sea Grant submission link:

If you have never used this website, you will need to register for an account. You can change the randomly-generated password once you log in successfully into the website.

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). Once submitted through the website, PDFs may not be edited. To change a PDF, it must be deleted and resubmitted.

IMPORTANT: To preserve confidentiality, letters of recommendations should be sent directly to our office. Letters can sent as attachments in emails to, or faxed to our office at 858-534-2231. Please use the "Required Mail" page in the submission website to let us know who will be writing your letters of recommendation. These are also due by 11:59 pm PST on September 24, 2015. 

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

Only Acrobat documents (pdf) are accepted. DO NOT include page numbers, headers, or footers.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeagrant please contact Roberto Chavez at or (858) 534-4441.

Application deadline: September 24, 2015, 11:59 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.


Participating hosts for the 2016 class below. (Download individual position descriptions on the right.)

  1. California Coastal Commission – Climate Change Emphasis
  2. California Coastal Commission – Technical Fellowship
  3. California Department of Fish and Wildlife - Aquaculture Program
  4. California Department of Fish and Wildlife - Marine Region, Invertebrate Management Program
  5. California State Lands Commission – Environmental Planning and Management Division
  6. California State Lands Commission – Legal, Environmental Planning, and Mineral Resources Management Division
  7. Delta Stewardship Council – Planning Division
  8. Delta Science Program – Independent Science Board
  9. Delta Science Program – Science Plan
  10. Delta Science Program – Water Supply Adaptive Management and Communication
  11. California Ocean Protection Council – Climate Change
  12. California Ocean Protection Council – Marine Protected Areas
  13. California Ocean Science Trust
  14. California Coastal Conservancy - Climate Ready Program
  15. California Coastal Conservancy - South Coast Program
  16. State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality
  17. California State Parks
  18. Office of Lt. Governor Newsom
  19. NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
  20. NOAA Fisheries, Office of Aquaculture, West Coast Region
  21. NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service – Southwest Fisheries Science Center
  22. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP)


Selection of finalists (Class 2016) is made by senior staff of the California Sea Grant College Program based upon review of written application materials and interviews (in person, or via 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, additional qualifying experience, and support of referees. Fellowship assignments for the Class of 2016 will be based on interviews and ranking of preferences by both the finalists and participating hosts at a mandatory two-day matching workshop in Sacramento (16-17 November 2015, travel costs reimbursed). Consequently, placement to a specific host cannot be guaranteed.


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

This guidebook covers:

  • How to prepare for the Matching Workshop
  • Highlights unfamiliar regions and neighborhoods close to agency offices
  • Answers the major questions previous Fellows had asked

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


24 September: Applications due at the California Sea Grant Office

29 September – 21 October: (approximate): Interviews for selection of finalists by California Sea Grant

21 October (approximate): Finalists are notified of status and finalist’s applications distributed to participating hosts

16-17 November: Matching workshop in Sacramento with hosts and fellowship finalists

1 December (approximate): fellow/host pairings announced

January 2016– March 2016: Fellowship begins (date negotiated between fellow and host agency)


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 Umezawa, Research & Fellowship Coordinator
(858) 534-1160