Syracuse University

Center for Fellowship & Scholarship Advising

Payne Fellowship Program

About the Payne Fellowship Program

Supports 2 years of graduate study and prepares students for entry into the USAID Foreign Service.
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. The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program attracts and supports outstanding students for entry into the USAID Foreign Service.

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.

Special 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 at least a 3.2

Student year:

Student year at time of application:  Graduate or Senior

University endorsement required?


Citizenship requirement:

Must be U.S. citizen

The Payne Fellowship Program application process:

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.

Applications due in mid-January.

Advising contact:

Kate Hanson  Email:
More Information:

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