CSPC Presidential Fellows Program

About the Presidential Fellows Program
Selection Criteria
Requirements for Fellows
Campus Deadline

About the Presidential Fellows Program

The Presidential Fellows Program is hosted by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC).  For nearly 50 years, CSPC has drawn on the lessons of history to support policy makers, assist Presidential transitions, and navigate the challenges of today. Working closely with the Federal government, academia, and the private sector, Fellows have the unique opportunity to craft innovative solutions to today’s most crucial political issues.

Since 1970, CSPC’s Fellows have come to Washington, DC, to learn about leadership and governance, to share their outstanding research, and to explore careers in public service.  This year-long program is offered to undergraduate and graduate students from both American and international universities. They are given the opportunity to study the U.S. Presidency, the public policymaking process, and our Chief Executive’s relations with Congress, allies, the media, and the American public.  Fellows also work closely with CSPC staff on top policy projects, such as securing the U.S. electrical grid and examining U.S. policy towards Latin America.

The Fellows participate in three-day leadership conferences in Washington, DC during the Fall and Spring semesters, in addition to completing a research paper that is eligible for publication and awards.  While attending the conferences, the Fellows participate in workshops where they present and receive constructive criticism on their research papers.  The Fellows also have the opportunity to engage with policy experts, government officials, and leaders in the legislative process.  In the past Fellows have had the opportunity to meet with speakers such as Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke; Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Deputy Secretary of Labor Christopher Lu; journalists James Kitfiled, Ron Fournier, and Clive Crook; and defense experts Michèle Flournoy, Fronk Cilluffo, and Capt. Eric Jones, USCG.

All costs pertaining to the conferences in Washington, DC are covered by the Avery Barth Endowed Fellowship. Travel costs will be reimbursed by AHF after each conference.

For more information, visit the CSPC Presidential Fellows webpage here.

Selection Criteria

  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.5
  • Demonstrated interest in an aspect of the American government (ideally a senior thesis or independent project in progress)
  • Comfortable speaking, presenting, and writing specifically about the American Presidency or Congress
  • Open to constructive criticism and willing to engage with a mentor
  • Most Fellows are in the final year of undergraduate studies, but graduate students and advanced underclassmen are also welcome
  • All academic majors are eligible. Typically, Fellows major or minor in one of the following disciplines: political science, history, international affairs, business, philosophy, economics, public health, or journalism

Requirements for Fellows

  • Upon program enrollment, Fellows must meet all deadlines or forfeit their status as a Fellow in good standing
  • Fellows must engage with assigned mentor
  • Fellows attend two conferences in Washington, DC, during the course of the Fellowship year. For 2017-2018, the dates of Fall Conference are October 26-28, 2017 (dates for the Spring Conference in 2018 have yet to be determined). Presentation honors and paper prizes are eligible only to students attending both conferences.
  • Each Fellow undertakes an original research project on a subject with direct relevance to the U.S. Presidency and/or the Congress. Each member is responsible for producing a 10-15 page paper due in May. Fellows are encouraged to draw upon and incorporate independent study or thesis work that is being undertaken by them in the 2017-2018 academic year.


USC may select one candidate each year to participate in CSPC’s Fellows Program.

The deadline to apply is Sunday, August 13, 2017 by 11:45pm.

  • Applicants must complete and submit the CSPC Fellows Program Application.
  • One letter of recommendation in support of your candidacy is required. The letter should address the research project you intend to undertake on a subject with direct relevance to the U.S. Presidency and/or the Congress if selected as a CSPC Fellow.  Please have your recommender email their letter to Katie Capra at kcalvert@usc.edu by the August 13 deadline.

CSPC Fellows Program Application

Campus Deadline

Sunday, August 13, 2017 by 11:45pm

Contact Us

Request an Appointment

Back to Top