Syracuse University

Center for Fellowship & Scholarship Advising

Payne Fellowship Program

About the Payne Fellowship Program

The USAID Donald Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign service of the U.S. Agency for International Development. If you want to work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges of our times — poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism – the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development provides an opportunity to advance U.S. foreign policy interests and reflect the American people’s compassion and support of human dignity.

What does a USAID Foreign Service Officer do? USAID FSOs work in close partnership with the governments and people of more than 100 countries in five regions of the world, a with private voluntary organizations, universities, private businesses, trade and professional associations, other donor governments, faith-based organizations, and other US government agencies. They assess country needs, prepare strategic plans, design and evaluate programs, oversee budgets and contracts, and report on results.

If you are interested in this compelling, international career track and want to earn a Master’s degree, consider the Payne Fellowship Program. This program provides benefits valued at up to $90,000 over two years toward a two-year master’s degree, arranges internships on Capitol Hill and at USAID missions overseas, and provides professional development and support activities. Fellows who successfully complete the program become USAID Foreign Service Officers.

Location of award, if applicable: U.S. university and internships in Washington, D.C.

Eligible applicants:

– are alumni or college seniors
– are seeking admission to enter graduate school in the following fall for a two-year program at a U.S. university
– want to enter the USAID Foreign Service
– have earned a GPA of 3.2 and above
– are US citizens

University endorsement required?


Citizenship requirement:

Must be U.S. citizen

The Payne Fellowship Program application process:

Review the information on the fellowship website to gain a better understanding of the program requirements, application process, eligibility, and employment and contractual obligations.

Contact CFSA and your mentor(s) to discuss your interest in the fellowship and plans to apply.

Application will be made concurrently with graduate school applications. Approved areas of study include international development, international relations, public policy, business administration, foreign languages, economics, agriculture, environmental sciences, health, or urban planning.

Application opens in October.

Application components include:
– a completed online application form
– a personal statement
– a statement explaining the need for financial assistance to attend graduate school
– two letters of recommendation
– proof of US citizenship
– GRE or GMAT scores
– transcript(s)

Applications due in mid-January.

Interested? Contact CFSA for more information on how to get started.

Advising contact:

Jolynn Parker  Email: More Information:

Enter any terms you are interested, such as “Government” or “Biotechnology”,