California Sea Grant State Fellowship

state fellowship collage of fellows doing policy, field work, outreach
Application Deadline: July 27, 2020

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2021 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 hands-on 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 ($4,022 per month).

Since the inception of this program in 1987, 233 graduate students and recent graduates have been successfully placed in a variety of municipal, state, and federal agencies that address California coastal and marine resource issues. This fellowship program has helped jump-start the careers of coastal and marine policy professionals.  You can read about current and past state fellows here

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: July 27, 2020, 5:00 PM PT

Informational webinar:

There will be an optional informational webinar about this fellowship program along with applications tips on Tuesday, June 23, from 2:00 pm– 3:00 pm *NOTE: Webinar time change one hour later than originally scheduled.

The presentation will be recorded and can be found here

*If this is your first time using Zoom, we encourage you to log in at least 5 minutes before the webinar starts, as you may need to download software and test your audio.

Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
How to Submit
Host Agencies
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, 2019 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 $48,264 in stipend for the twelve-month assignment ($4,022/month). Additional funds of $3,240 will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($270/month) and $2,472 to cover travel to the matching workshop, state fellow’s in-person meeting, and other fellowship related travel. 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. The fellowship will begin in early winter between January 2021 and March 2021, 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). The statement should include information about why the applicant wants to be a California Sea Grant State Fellow and what the applicant hopes to get out of the experience. One to two paragraphs of the statement should illustrate how the applicant's experience with people from various cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds will contribute to the program. 
  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 Nick Sadrpour at or (858) 246-5269.

Application deadline: July 27, 2020, 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.


To allow for a broad fellowship applicant pool, applications for the fellowship will be open before all hosts are finalized. California Sea Grant recommends that prospective fellowship applicants  look at previous years' hosts as a gauge of possible opportunities. 

Tentative participating hosts for the 2021 class (full position list here).

*Hosts may withdraw due to COVID-19 related budget issues by August 14th. 

  • California Coastal Commission - Climate Change 
  • California Department of Parks and Recreation - Natural Resources Division, Coastal Programs Unit
  • California Department of Transportation - Environmental Engineering, Water Quality and Special Projects (2 positions)
  • California Fish and Game Commission
  • California State Lands Commission: Science Team/Coastal Resilience/Tribal & Environmental Justice
  • Delta Science Program - Science Communication, Synthesis, and Decision Support Unit
  • Delta Science Program - Collaborative Science and Peer Review Unit
  • Delta Science Program - Science-Based Adaptive Management Unit
  • Delta Stewardship Council - Planning and Performance Division
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary
  • Ocean Protection Council - Climate Change Program
  • Ocean Protection Council - Marine Protected Areas Program
  • Ocean Science Trust
  • Port of San Diego: Planning, Environment, and Government Relations Division
  • San Francisco Estuary Partnership
  • State Coastal Conservancy - Climate Ready
  • State Coastal Conservancy - Coastal Restoration 
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality, Sustainable Water Plans and Policies
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality: Ocean Standards Unit
  • State Water Resources Control Board - Office of Information Management and Analysis 


Selection of finalists (Cohort of 2021) is made by staff of the California Sea Grant College Program based upon review of written application materials and interviews ( Zoom, phone, or in person) 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 remote workshop on September 22 - 23, 2020. Prior to the matching workshop, host agencies will provide a brief webinar on their fellowship opportunity which will be recorded. Host webinars will take place August 24 – September 4, 2020. Finalists are encouraged to participate in the webinars to gain a better understanding of the fellowship opportunities and host agencies, and ask questions. Finalists unable to participate in the webinars will have access to the recordings. Additional details on the matching process will be made available once finalists and hosts are confirmed. Placement of a fellow in each prospective host office is not guaranteed.

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.


July 14 (approximate): Final host positions posted on California Sea Grant website
July 27, 5:00 PM PST: Fellowship applications due
July 27-August 21 (approximate): California Sea Grant screening of fellowship applications to select finalists 
August 14: Last day for hosts to withdraw due to COVID-19 related budget issues 
August 21 (approximate): Finalists notified and applications distributed to participating hosts
August 24 – September 4: California Sea Grant and host agencies hold informational webinars 
September 22-23: MANDATORY matching workshop in Sacramento or held remotely
October 5-9 (approximate): Fellowship matches announced
January 2021- March 2021: Fellowships begin



For additional information about the State Fellows program (or other fellowship opportunities:, please contact:

Nick Sadrpour
Program Coordinator
(858) 246-5269 or email


Catherine Courtier
Research & Extension Analyst
(858) 822-2167 or email


Past Fellowship Experiences 

Read the fellows blog and learn about their agency placements and experiences.