California Sea Grant State Fellowship

Application Deadline: September 01, 2016

California Sea Grant State Fellowship 2017 (Now Closed)

The California Sea Grant College Program is soliciting applications for the 2017 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 ($3,700 per month).

Application Deadline: September 1, 2016, 11:59 pm PST

 **NOTE: There will be an optional informational webinar about this fellowship program along with applications tips on Wednesday, August 10 from 10 - 11 a.m. Further information on attending this webinar can be found at

Stipend and Expenses
Length of Assignment
Application, Tips & Informational Webinar
How to Submit
Host Agencies - 2017
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, 2015 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 $44,400 in stipend for the twelve-month assignment ($3,700/month). Additional funds will be available for health insurance reimbursement ($3,000) and to cover travel for interviews 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 twelve months (non-renewable). The fellowship, for this competition, will begin in early winter between January 2017 through March 2017, 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

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:

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 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 identify your two referees and their affiliation in eSeaGrant. These are also due by 11:59 pm PST on September 1, 2016. 

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, 2016, 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.


UPDATED 10/18/16: Participating hosts for the 2017 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 State Lands Commission – Executive Office
  4. California State Lands Commission – Science Policy Advisor and Tribal Liason
  5. California Fish and Game Commission
  6. Delta Stewardship Council – Planning Division
  7. Delta Science Program – Adaptive Management & Independent Science Board
  8. Delta Science Program – Science Plan
  9. Delta Science Program – Water Supply and Science Communications
  10. California Ocean Protection Council - 2 Fellowships total in climate change, ocean acidification, and marine protected areas
  11. California Ocean Science Trust
  12. California Coastal Conservancy - Climate Ready Program
  13. California Coastal Conservancy - South Coast Program
  14. State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Water Quality
  15. State Water Resources Control Board - Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program
  16. Office of Lt. Governor Newsom
  17. NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary - Resource Protection
  18. NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary - Research Department
  19. NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Southwest Fisheries Science Center
  20. Port of San Diego - 2 Fellowships total in Planning and Green Port - Aquaculture Program

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


Selection of finalists (Class 2017) 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 2017 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 (2-3 November 2016, 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

Past Fellows

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

Watch the 2016 State Fellow’s video.


1 September: Applications due at the California Sea Grant Office

7 - 30 September: (approximate): Interviews for selection of finalists by California Sea Grant

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

2 - 3 November: Matching workshop in Sacramento with hosts and fellowship finalists. Attendance is mandatory. 

18 November (approximate): Fellow/host pairings announced

January 2017– March 2017: 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