Is the San Francisco Fellows Program an internship?

Definitely not! The Fellows program is a full-time professional work experience opportunity. You will serve the City & County of San Francisco as a full-time employee working on various public administration projects that directly impacts a City department’s goals and mission.

How long is the program and when does it start and end?

The Fellows Program lasts 11.5 months.

The Program begins in mid-August 2018 and kicks off with a 2.5 weeks group orientation with all of the Fellows for the year.

The Program finishes at the end of July 2019 with a graduation ceremony to recognize your achievements for the year.

Is this a public policy fellowship?

No, the program provides professional experience in public administration rather than public policy. Fellows work within real program implementation versus policy research and development.

Which department will I work in?

Final participating departments will not be known until program orientation starts in August 2019. See the Fellows in Action Page for examples of past placements. In our current Fiscal Year 2018-19 program, the following departments are hosting a Fellow:

  • Recreation & Parks Department
  • Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)
  • Public Utilities Commission
  • Department of Public Health
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Department of Public Works
  • Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs
  • Office of the Controller
  • San Francisco Public Library
  • Office of Resilience & Capital Planning

Do I get a choice of what department I will work in?

Department placements are determined during Fellows orientation in August 2019. Fellows do a fit interview with each department & supervisor(s) during orientation to discuss each Department's needs and the Fellows' interests.

Feedback from both you and the department and will be used by the Program to place you in the department that best fits the needs of the department, your skills, interests, and overall fit.

Each Fellow is guaranteed placement in one of the participating departments.

What are the requirements to apply to the Fellows Program?

Prospective Fellows must have earned an undergraduate degree between May 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019. Specific field of study is not a requirement to be a Fellow.

How many Fellows are selected?

The final number and departments of Fellows is determined during the San Francisco budget process in June of each fiscal year. In Fiscal Year 2018-2019, there are 18 Fellows. We anticipate anywhere between 15-18 Fellows in each cohort.

What is the selection process for the Fellows Program?

The selection of Fellows is a multi-step process.  You will be required to submit a comprehensive application packet including the following:

  • Current Resume
  • Undergraduate degree transcripts that show your degree earned [or will be earned] between May 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019.  (Note: unofficial/non-sealed transcripts are acceptable.  If you are selected as a Fellow, you may be required to provide additional verification e.g. official transcripts, as part of the background screening process)
  • Responses to essay questions

If you progress in the selection process, you may be required to do any/all of the following:

  • Complete an online assessment for technical competencies
  • Submission of references
  • Phone/Skype Interview with a selection Committee

Finalists will be invited to in-person interviews held in San Francisco (Note: candidates must attend in-person interviews at their own expense)  

Selected candidates will be given a conditional offer of employment and go through a background clearance and reference check required of all City employees. A formal offer of employment with the SF Fellows program are given upon completion of the background clearance.


Finalist not selected as a Fellow may be offered the option to be put on an alternate list (3 to 5 Fellows are typically selected from the alternate list).


Please see the Key Dates page for the tentative timeline of the recruitment and selection process.

What if I have finished my degree requirements but am studying abroad and won’t have my undergraduate degree conferred until after June 2019?

Applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree between May 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019. For example, if you have completed all required coursework and would have been eligible to graduate in May 2019, but deferred your graduation to participate in a study abroad program, you would not be eligible to apply to the program this year. There are no exceptions to this.

What is the compensation?

Fellows are full-time City employees. The annualized compensation is approximately $57,000, plus health, dental, retirement and other benefits.

Can I take time off during the Fellowship?

Fellows are expected to work full time, and like all City employees must request approval for time off from their supervisors. Fellows receive up to 11 paid observed holidays, four paid floating holidays become available after six months; paid sick days are available after three months. Additional unpaid days off are made available at the discretion of department placement supervisors.

If you continue employment with the City after the end of the Program with no break in service, you will become eligible for paid vacation days after 12 months of full-time employment (Per SF City Charter).

Can I attend graduate school during non-business hours while a Fellow?

No. In order to focus on their work experience in the program, Fellows may not attend graduate school during the course of the Fellowship.

If I am relocating from another State or City, can the program assist with my relocation expenses?

No, the City is unable to provide relocation assistance.

Will the San Francisco Fellows Program sponsor a work visa for me?

The City and County of San Francisco does not sponsor visas. If you have a F1 student visa, the City will not sponsor the “optional practical training” requirement through work as a Fellow in the San Francisco Fellows program, so an F1 visa therefore does not demonstrate eligibility to work as an employee of the City and County of San Francisco. All Fellows must be able to demonstrate that they are legally able to work in the United States without visa sponsorship by the employer.

Can I apply if I graduated college more than five years ago?

No, this program is geared toward recent college graduates. In order to be eligible, applicants must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college within the last five years, between May 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019.

What if I have a Master's Degree?

A Master's Degree is welcome, and many past Fellows have had a Master’s Degree, but it is not a requirement of the program. The minimum requirement of the program is that an undergraduate degree was earned within the past 5 years, between May 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019.

Are you looking for a specific grade point average?

Generally, Fellows have high grade point averages but the program does not require a particular GPA nor is GPA a factor in selection. We consider a wide range of study, experience, and interests. Your undergraduate transcript is required as part of your application for degree verification.

Does my major in college impact my eligibility?

No. Fellows have studied in a wide range of areas.

What if my undergraduate degree is not from an American institution?

Your undergraduate degree must have been earned from an accredited school. If it is not an American institution or from an accredited school, your degree may still be acceptable. Please see the following information about verification of education requirements: How to Verify Education Requirements.

I never had a full time job before - am I qualified?

Prior work experience is not required. Cohorts have diverse experiences in and out of the classroom. For many Fellows, this program was their first full-time work experience.

May I apply if I am not from and/or do not live in San Francisco/Bay Area?

Yes, residency from San Francisco/Bay Area is not a requirement. We strive to form a diverse cohort with Fellows coming from all across the U.S. and internationally. We seek Fellows who have a sincere appreciation and desire to serve the City, its citizens and visitors; as part of the application process, you are asked to elaborate on your familiarity of San Francisco and your desire to work in public service for the City.

What happens after the Fellowship is over?

Fellows are not guaranteed employment with the City after completion of the program.

Fellows come to the program with different goals and objectives: gain work experience before attending grad school; experience public sector employment; stepping stone for long term employment with the City of San Francisco or another form of public service.

We encourage and assist Fellows who want to continue working for the City after the program to apply for a permanent job after the program and provide guidance and career counseling on the process throughout your time as a Fellow.

What if I have more questions?

Contact the San Francisco Fellows Program, at If you have questions, we strongly recommend you reach out well before the application deadline. Depending on volume, we may not be able to respond to all inquiries.