California Sea Grant State Fellowship

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California Sea Grant State Fellowship 2018

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2018 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, implementation and management 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, federal or municipal agencies in California for a 12-month paid fellowship ($3,792 per month).

Application Deadline: September 1, 2017, 11:59 pm PST

 **NOTE: An optional informational webinar about this fellowship program along with applications tips was held on Wednesday, August 9 from 10 - 11 a.m.



Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
Application, Tips & Informational Webinar
How to Submit
Host Agencies - 2018
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 marine or coastal-related field at a California university.  Graduate students who recently completed their degree at a California university with graduation date [i.e. date diploma awarded by the university] after May 1, 2016 are also eligible to 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 $45,500 in stipend for the twelve-month assignment ($3,792/month). Additional funds will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($3,000) and to cover travel for the matching workshop 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, for this competition, will begin in early winter between January, 2018 through March, 2018, 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 point font).
  2. A personal education and career goal statement that emphasizes the applicant's abilities 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

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

Please use the eSeaGrant Instructions document as you fill out your application. 

You will need to register for an account (click on the banner labeled “Register”) in eSeaGrant. 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 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. James Eckman, 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 1, 2017, 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. There will be no one at Sea Grant available to help you after approximately 4:30 pm on September 1.


Participating hosts for the 2018 class below (There are 21 fellowship opportunities total. Download individual position descriptions on the right.)

  1. California Coastal Commission* – Climate Change Emphasis
  2. California Coastal Commission* – Coastal Engineer or Nearshore Oceanographer
  3. California Department of Parks and Recreation – Natural Resources Division
  4. California Fish and Game Commission
  5. California Ocean Protection Council - 2 Fellowships in Climate Change Impacts and Marine Protected Areas/Fisheries Management
  6. California State Lands Commission 
  7. Delta Science Program – Adaptive Management and Independent Science Board
  8. Delta Science Program – Science Plan and Science Infrastructure
  9. Delta Science Program – Water Supply and Science Communication
  10. Delta Stewardship Council – Planning Division
  11. State Coastal Conservancy - Climate Ready Program
  12. State Coastal Conservancy - South Coast Program
  13. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
  14. San Francisco Estuary Partnership
  15. State Controller's Office 
  16. State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality
  17. State Water Resources Control Board - Office of Information Management and Analysis
  18. NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary - Resource Protection
  19. NOAA NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center
  20. Port of San Diego - 2 Fellowships total in Planning and Green Port (Aquaculture and Blue Technology Program)

*The CA Coastal Commission has two host descriptions but intends to fill only one fellowship opportunity.


Selection of finalists (Class 2018) 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, career goals, additional qualifying experience, and support of referees. Fellowship assignments for the Class of 2018 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 on October 24-25, 2017. (Travel costs will be 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 regions and neighborhoods close to agency offices
  • Answers major questions previous Fellows have asked

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

Past Fellows

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

Watch the 2016 State Fellow’s video.


1 September (11:59 pm PDT): Applications due to the California Sea Grant Office

7 – 22 September (approximate): Interviews for selection of finalists by California Sea Grant

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

24 -25 October: Matching workshop in Sacramento with hosts and fellowship finalists. Attendance is mandatory.

15 November (approximate) – Fellow/host pairings announced

January 2018– March 2018: 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 Ligare, Research & Fellowship Coordinator
(858) 534-1160