About the Fellowship for Graduate Students

Graduate student fellows in City Hall with Mayor Breed

The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Graduate Fellowship Program will begin its fixth cohort of fellows in January 2024. Similar to the undergraduate program, the graduate fellowship provides SF State Master of Public Administration students who have faced barriers pursuing a college education with an opportunity to gain professional experience in the public sector while developing a lifelong commitment to public service.

The Graduate Fellowship is a two-year program in which Fellows are responsible for substantive projects that help advance the mission of their city agency/program placement site. The first year is spent interning at their placement site. The second year focuses on presenting at a professional conference or submitting a paper to a professional journal. Fellows are awarded a $20,000 stipend disbursed over four semesters as well as $3,000 for professional development.

Graduate Fellowship applications for 2023-2024 are closed. Please be on the lookout and check back to this website to see when the Graduate Fellowship application for 2024-2025 opens. 

Eligibility Requirements for Graduate Students in Calendar Years 2024-2025 

To become a Willie L. Brown, Jr. Graduate Fellow for calendar years 2024-2025, you must:

  • Be admitted to and enroll in the Master’s in Public Administration program
  • Have completed no more than 18 units towards degree before the first semester of the fellowship
  • Enroll in at least 6 units per semester for the full two years of the fellowship
  • Be available to intern 20 hours/week throughout the 2024 calendar year at a city agency* 
  • Have the following minimum GPA: Undergrad Cumulative or SF State GPA: 3.0; Grad Cumulative or SF State GPA: 3.0

*Note: Internships are held in accordance within SF State and public health mandates in light of COVID-19.

How to Apply for Calendar Years 2024-2025

Applicants are required to log into AcademicWorks to fill out the application and provide support documents required through the AcademicWorks site. 

Supporting documents include:

  • College transcripts combined into one document
  • Current resume
  • A personal statement of 1,000 to 1,500 words. The statement should be a coherent essay that describes: (1) your academic and career goals, including fields of interest, (2) any hardships you have faced in life and how they have shaped your academic and career goals, (3) your background and/or interest in working in the public sector, (4) your strengths and skills and (5) how participating in the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Fellowship Program will help you attain your goals.
  • Names, titles, affiliations, phone numbers and email address for two references. For students currently enrolled at SF State, there is a strong preference for at least one reference to be a faculty member or official advisory (staff member) at SF State.  

Applications Open: Fall 2023

Applications are now closed. 

Get Support for Your Application 

Attend one of our information sessions facilitated by Fellowship staff which provide a general overview of the program and application. Fellowship alumni are usually in attendance for our information sessions to provide their experiences and answers your questions from a student perspective. Send an email to the Program Manager Orisi at wbfellows@sfsu.edu to set up an appointment or come to his drop-in hours on Wednesday 11am to 1pm and Thursday 1pm to 3pm at HSS 210.

Current and Past Graduate Placement Sites 

  • San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
  • San Francisco Department of Human Resources
  • San Francisco Human Services Agency
  • San Francisco Office of the Controller
    • Office of the Controller, Systems Division
    • Office of the Controller, City Services Auditor
    • Office of the Controller, Office of Public Finance