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Payne International Development Fellowship

If you are interested in furthering your career in the Field of International Development as a US citizen, the Payne International Development Fellowship is for you.

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).

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 Payne Fellowship, which provides up to $96,000 in benefits over two years for graduate school, internships, and professional development activities, is a unique pathway to the USAID Foreign Service.

Payne Program Overview

Fellowships for Graduate Studies 

The Payne Fellowship Program awards ten 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.

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.

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

The purposes of this orientation are to familiarize the Fellows with all aspects of the fellowship and to enhance their understanding of, and skills for, international development careers.

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.

Access further instructions here

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