Q: Who is eligible for a AAAS S&T Policy Fellowship?

Applicants for Executive, Legislative or Judicial Branches must:

  • Hold a doctoral level degree (Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D., DVM, EdD, etc.), in a qualified field or a MS in engineering and three years of professional engineering experience
  • Hold U.S. citizenship (dual citizenship from the United States and another country is acceptable).
  • Be eligible to receive federal government funds through the System of Award Management (SAM).
  • Be in compliance with U.S. Selective Service System requirements.
  • Not be a federal employee, including Title 42 positions and Presidential Management Fellowships.
  • Not be an employee of AAAS or be working with AAAS through a paid engagement.

 Q: Do I need to submit materials confirming my eligibility to STPF?

STPF uses the nationally accredited ProVerify service to verify your application data (e.g., education, citizenship). You will be asked to provide your contact information, education institution, work history, and proof of citizenship. The verification form and fee are submitted once per application year. The fee cannot be refunded. If you are applying to two fellowship areas, only one form and fee are required. If you have a graduate degree from an international institution, ProVerify may need additional information from you and will contact you directly with questions.

 Q: I am a current fellow, can I apply to a second fellowship?

Yes. Fellows may serve for a maximum of three years in two different Washington, DC area-based fellowships.

  • Legislative branch, judicial branch and Revelle fellowships are for a term of one year; executive branch fellowships are for a term of one year with a potential to renew for a second year.
  • Fellows in a legislative branch, judicial branch or Revelle fellowship may serve for an additional one to two years in an executive branch or other fellowship for the maximum of three years.
  • Executive branch fellows sponsored by a partner society may not serve a second fellowship in the same agency where they were sponsored.

 Q: Is the selection process different for current fellows applying for a second fellowship?

Fellows applying for a second fellowship placement must meet a higher bar than first-year fellowship applicants. They must present a clear and compelling case for a second fellowship opportunity and specify how they expect to contribute to and gain from a second fellowship experience.

 Q: Do I need to have a Ph.D.?

For scientists in the social or behavioral sciences; medical or health sciences; biological, physical or earth sciences; or computational sciences or mathematics, you are required to have a terminal scientific degree (Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D, D.V.M., etc.). For engineers, you do not need a Ph.D, but must have at least a master's degree in any field of engineering plus a minimum of three years of professional engineering experience (not including further academic studies). If you do have a Ph.D. in engineering, the three years of professional engineering experience are not required. A J.D. does not qualify as a doctoral level degree.

 Q: Is my science degree eligible?

For non-engineer applicants, you must have a terminal scientific degree (Ph.D., Sc.D., M.D, D.V.M., etc.) in the social or behavioral sciences; medical or health sciences; biological, physical or earth sciences; or computational sciences or mathematics. Degrees other than those noted here may also qualify and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

 Q: Who is the ideal candidate for a AAAS S&T Policy Fellowship?

Fellows come from many different disciplines in science and engineering; they arrive from academia, industry, and the nonprofit sector; and they represent a broad range of career stages, from recently graduated postdocs to mid-career professionals and faculty on sabbatical, to retired individuals.

 Q: Is previous experience in public policy necessary?

No, but it is important to convey an understanding of the societal impacts of science in your application materials and during an interview. You should also be prepared to speak about how your specific scientific specialty relates to policy issues and how it can be applied in government decision-making.

 Q: I am completing my doctorate after the application deadline but before the fellowship year starts. Can I still apply?

No. The degree requirements must be met by November 1. If that is your situation, we hope that you will consider applying next year. NOTE: Our partner scientific and engineering societies sponsoring congressional and executive branch fellowships have different application deadlines and selection criteria.

 Q: What if I have completed all of my requirements for my doctorate, but my degree will not be conferred until after November 1?

You may be eligible. All degree requirements must be completed by November 1, including dissertation defense and any revisions. In addition, your committee chair or equivalent appropriate official must submit a letter verifying that you have satisfied all requirements for the PhD or equivalent degree. The letter must state the official date the degree will be conferred.

 Q: May I apply with permanent resident status even though I am not a U.S. citizen?

No. U.S. citizenship is required to apply for a fellowship via STPF. A few of our partner societies do accept applications from non-U.S. citizens.

 Q: May I apply if I expect to have my citizenship before the fellowship year begins?

No. Applicants to STPF must have U.S. citizenship at the time of application. A few of our partner societies do accept applications from non-U.S.citizens.

 Q: Does AAAS have any fellowship programs for undergraduate or graduate students?

Yes. AAAS also administers the AAAS Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellows Program, which places undergraduate and graduate students in media organizations throughout the U.S. for a science journalism experience each summer.

 Q: Why are federal employees not eligible?

The AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships are designed to educate about the policy process, and to bring additional scientific knowledge and external perspectives to government decision-making. Federal employees are often already involved in the policy process, and they would not bring external perspectives. Those not in policy-related positions have the opportunity to seek such positions from within the government system. There also are other options for federal employees to arrange exchanges that provide an experience in another agency or on Capitol Hill, such as an IPA (inter-agency personnel agreement). Also, the executive branch fellowships are funded by the hosting agencies and they seek individuals who cannot easily move into the system without a fellowship. NOTE: Some partner societies that sponsor congressional and executive branch fellowships do accept applications from federal employees. 

 Q: Are post-docs at federal agencies or national labs eligible?

Yes, except those who hold Title 42 positions. This category conveys the privileges of federal employment, and therefore is not eligible for the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowship. Applicants who hold a temporary/term-limited fellowship or post-doc with a federal agency are considered eligible, as are post-docs at national labs who are funded by a federal agency.

 Q: I currently work for Congress; am I considered a federal employee?

Yes. Anyone working in a full-time, paid, permanent position at the federal level of government (including the executive, judicial and legislative branches) is considered a federal employee for eligibility purposes.

 Q: Are members of the military eligible to apply?

No, members of the active duty military are federal employees and are therefore not eligible. Applicants who have completed their military service and/or are retired from the military are eligible, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.