2024 - 2026 NOAA Coastal Management & Digital Coast Fellowships

2024-2026 NOAA Coastal Management & Digital Coast Fellowships
Funding Category
Application Deadline
Focus Area(s)
Education, Training and Public Information


The NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship was established in 1996 to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management and policy for postgraduate students and to provide project assistance to state coastal zone management programs. Similarly, in 2012, the NOAA Digital Coast Fellowship was established to provide additional on-the-job education and training opportunities with a focus on technical assistance to help advance the goals of the Digital Coast and its partner organizations. Both programs match postgraduate students to assist on projects proposed by state coastal zone management programs (referred to as hosts) and are selected by NOAA. 

Placement for the Coastal Management Fellowship and Digital Coast Fellowship positions is a singular, integrated placement process. Candidates apply to the Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship program as a whole. Selected candidates will be eligible to interview with both the state coastal programs and the Digital Coast partnership organizations at the fellowship matching workshop.

Up to seven Coastal Management fellows are placed with state coastal programs every year, while up to three Digital Coast fellows are placed with Digital Coast Partner organizations every other year, in the even years. Both two-year opportunities offer a salary, health insurance, worker’s compensation, professional development, travel and relocation expense reimbursement. The current salary is $42,000 per year. In the second year, a locality pay factor may be added to the salary, depending on the location of the fellowship.

To read about the 2024 projects, visit Coastal Management Fellowship projects and Digital Coast Fellowship projects in early December 2023.


Any U.S. citizen who will complete a master’s or other advanced degree at an accredited U.S. university between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2024, is eligible to apply for the Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowships. Students from a broad range of programs are encouraged to apply. A variety of degrees are applicable to the fellowship because the projects are new and different each year. 

Previous fellows have had degrees in environmental studies, natural resource management, marine affairs, marine science, geology, public affairs, communications, social sciences, and regional land management. The most important prerequisite is an interest in coastal issues. Students who are not U.S. citizens or who attend non-U.S. institutions are not eligible. 

Applicants are eligible for any of the projects regardless of where they live or have studied. Fellows will be reimbursed up to $1,000 to move to their fellowship location and up to $1,000 to move at the end of the two-year fellowship. However, application packages must be submitted to the Sea Grant program office in the state where you earned your degree. Only students who received their advanced degree in California are able to apply through California Sea Grant.

For more detailed information about the state projects, please visit NOAA Office for Coastal Management: Coastal Management Fellowship.

For more information on the Digital Coast Fellowship please visit NOAA Office for Coastal Management: Digital Coast Fellowship.

California Sea Grant will host a workshop to support applicants in developing competitive application materials for national fellowships associated with California Sea Grant (e.g., 2025 Knauss Fellowship, 2024 Coastal Management/Digital Coast Fellowship, 2024 NMFS-SG Fellowship) on January 10th, 2024 from 12:00 - 1:30 PM PST. Click here to register for the application workshop.


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., LastName_statement.pdf or LastName_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 California Sea Grant through eSeaGrant and must be submitted by the application deadline to be considered. If submission errors through eSG occur for the letter writer, letter writers may reach out to sgproposal@ucsd.edu for assistance. 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. 

Only Acrobat documents (pdf) are accepted.

For technical issues with submitting your application through eSeaGrant, or for electronic files larger than 30 MB please contact sgproposal@ucsd.edu.

Application deadline: January 26, 2024, 11:59 PM PST

NOTE: We advise not to wait until the last minute to submit your application; when eSeaGrant experiences high user traffic, you may experience page loading delays. It is the applicant’s responsibility to get all required materials submitted before the deadline, and the submission deadline will not be extended.


Required Elements

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12 point font)
  • Statement of the applicant’s goals with emphasis on what the applicant expects from and can contribute to the fellowship experience. This should also include how the fellowship can help reach goals that may be difficult to reach without the fellowship opportunity. Include any obstacles that have been overcome to reach this point in your academic career (500 words or less).
  • Two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant’s principal professor. If no principal professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant's academic work may be substituted. 
  • Unofficial copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.

Any additional materials submitted will not be considered in the selection process. If you are selected as a finalist, an additional writing sample will be requested.


Applications must be submitted by 11:59 pm PT, January 26, 2024, to the California Sea Grant Program as PDFs using eSeaGrant, California Sea Grant’s online submission portal.


From the nominations submitted by Sea Grant directors, 20 finalists will be selected by a panel. California Sea Grant programs may select and forward to the NOAA Office for Coastal Management up to four applications. In order to increase diversity in the fellowship, California Sea Grant may submit one additional application from a candidate who attended a minority serving institution, for a total of five. The fifth nomination spot is reserved solely for minority serving institution candidates. Final decisions will be made by March 22, 2024, and all applicants will be notified of the decision by the end of the following week. 

Finalists will be selected using the following criteria:

  • Statement of the applicant’s goals. How well does it emphasize what the applicant expects from and can contribute to the fellowship experience? Does it address how the fellowship can help reach goals that may be difficult to reach without the fellowship opportunity? Consider any obstacles the candidate may have overcome.
  • Diversity of educational background and quality of academic performance
  • Candidate experience, including life experience, internships, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and jobs
  • Scholarships, awards, honors, and acknowledgements
  • Endorsement letter from the applicant's Sea Grant director
  • Support from two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant's principal professor. The letters should demonstrate knowledge of the applicant and their abilities.


The Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship matching process will take place in two parts in late April 2024. First, program orientation by NOAA, project presentations by the hosts, and presentations by the finalists will be conducted virtually the week before the in-person portion of the matching workshop. Sessions will be live but will also be recorded for those that may miss a session.

The following week, in-person interviews will take place in Charleston, South Carolina. The finalists will be brought to the in-person portion at the expense of NOAA. Before the workshop begins, each of the finalists will be able to review the fellowship projects on the fellowship website. Each of the selected host organizations will send the fellow mentor to the placement workshop. No contact between prospective hosts and finalists should be made prior to the placement workshop. Candidates and hosts will submit their top choices of placement to NOAA, and NOAA will match fellows with hosts.

Of the finalists selected in 2024, up to seven will be placed with a state coastal program and up to three will be placed with a Digital Coast partner. If a host does not find a suitable candidate during the matching process, it will be given the option to defer fellow placement for one year. 

For more information on the 2023 state projects, please visit the Coastal Management Fellowship website. For more information on the 2022 Digital Coast projects, please visit the Digital Coast Fellowship website. 2024 projects will be posted in early December. Contact the fellowship coordinator with any questions at ocm.fellowships@noaa.gov.


  • Friday, January 26, 2024 - Applications due from candidates to California Sea Grant
  • January - February, 2024 - Interviews held by California Sea Grant
  • Friday, February 23, 2024- Endorsements from California Sea Grant to NOAA Office for Coastal Management due
  • Friday, March 22, 2024 - Finalists selected by NOAA Office for Coastal Management 
  • Late April to early May, 2024 - Matching workshop presentations-virtual
  • Late April to early May, 2024 - Matching workshop interviews in Charleston, South Carolina 
  • Thursday, August 1, 2024 - Fellowship begins
  • Friday, July 31, 2026 - Fellowship ends


Questions about the fellowship program

Fellowship Coordinator
NOAA Office for Coastal Management
(843) 740-1273

Questions about the application process

California Sea Grant