Welcome to the Payne 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). 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 Fellows at The National Press Club

    Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

    Applicants must be seeking admission to enter graduate school in the fall of 2019 for a two-year program at a U.S. university. They can be in the senior year of their undergraduate studies, graduating by June 2019, or they can be college graduates.

    Applicants must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale at the time of application.


  • Orientation that introduces fellows to the program and their USAID Foreign Service career.

    Summer internship in Washington, DC with USAID Foreign Service Mentor.

    Completing Master's degree in international affairs or a related subject.

    10-week overseas internship at a USAID Mission.

    An appointment to the USAID Foreign Service, with a required three years of service.

  • Payne fellows share their best advice with prospective applicants.

The Payne Fellowship encourages the application of members of minority groups who have been historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service and those with financial need.

Candidates can be graduating seniors or college graduates with strong academic records and a desire to promote positive change in the world.

Upon successful completion of the Payne Program and USAID entry requirements, Fellows receive an appointment to the USAID Foreign Service, with a required five years of service.