Payne International Development Fellowship

The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

What is the Payne Fellowship

Fellowships for Graduate Studies  The Payne Fellowship Program awards up to fifteen fellowships valued at up to $48,000 annually for a two-year program.  The award includes up to $22,000 per year toward tuition and mandatory fees for completion of a two-year master’s degree at a U.S. institution; a $16,000 stipend for each academic year for room, board, books and other education-related expenses; and up to $10,000 per year in stipend, housing, transportation, and related expenses for summer internships (see below).  At the conclusion of two years of study, the Payne Fellow is expected to obtain a degree in international development or another area of relevance to the work of the USAID Foreign Service at a U.S. graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program.  Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as Foreign Service Officers with the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Payne Fellowship


"Why did I apply for the Payne Fellowship"

Program Overview

Orientation 
New Payne Fellows will participate in an orientation at Howard University in May, shortly after their selection.

Two Summer Internships 
Payne Fellows will participate in two internships. The first, an internship working on international issues in Washington, DC, will occur in the summer after being selected and before the first year of graduate study. The second will be an overseas internship in a USAID Mission that takes place during the summer between the first and second years of graduate study.  The program will provide stipends, housing, and transportation.

Mentoring 
Each Fellow will receive mentoring throughout the duration of the fellowship as well as during his/her early employment at USAID.

Curriculum 
Fellows must obtain graduate degrees in international affairs or a related subject such as development, economics, history, political science, public administration, communications, public policy, business administration foreign languages, agriculture, environmental sciences, or urban planning at a graduate or professional school approved by the Payne Program. Studies in law do not satisfy this requirement.  Applicants apply to two-year graduate programs at U.S. universities simultaneously with their application to the Payne Program.

Employment/Contractual Obligations 
Fellows who successfully complete the Payne Program and USAID Foreign Service entry requirements will receive appointments as USAID Foreign Service Officers.  Each Payne Fellow who obtains a master’s degree is committed to a minimum of five years of service as a USAID Foreign Service Officer. Candidates who do not successfully complete the Payne Program and the subsequent five-year service obligation may be subject to a reimbursement obligation.

Fellowship Interest Form

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Page last modified May 18, 2021