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 sixth 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 fellowship begins with an onboarding process that leads to a year-long internship placement in a city-county agency. The second year focuses on professional and leadership development, including a project related to the fellow’s internship work that will be shared with professionals in the field. Fellows are awarded a $20,000 stipend disbursed over four semesters, with an additional $3,000 available for professional development activities in the second year.

Graduate Fellowship applications for 2024-2025 are open and will close on November 30, 2023.

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

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.  

Get Support for Your Application 

Attend one of our information sessions facilitated by Fellowship staff which provides 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.


Join us for a Zoom information session to learn more 

  • Dates TBA

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