California Senate Fellows Program

Applications for the 2019-20 Capital Fellows Programs are now CLOSED.  Applications for the 2020-2021 fellowship year will be available late fall. 


2018-2019 Senate Fellowship Brochure

Established in 1973, the California Senate Fellows (CSF) program is one of the oldest and most distinguished service learning programs in the country. The CSF program grew out of a desire to provide people with insight into the legislative process through experiential learning. It offers college graduates a paid, full-time legislative staff position in the State Capitol for 11 months. The fellowship program's primary goals include exposing people with diverse life experiences and backgrounds to the legislative process by providing research and other professional staff assistance to the Senate. The CSF program is jointly sponsored by the California State Senate and the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. Fellows receive a monthly stipend of $2,698 plus full health, vision and dental benefits. They also earn 6 units of graduate credit from the Sacramento State Political Science Department.

The 2019-20 deadline is Monday, February 11, 2019 at 5:00PM PST

California Senate Fellows Brochure

An indepth view of the Senate Fellows Program 

Graduate Students

Senate fellows receive fully-paid enrollment at California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State), and earn graduate units for seminars taught by faculty from the Sacramento State Department of Political Science.

Upon successful completion of the Fellowship, fellows earn a Capital Fellows Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government.

Office Placement

Eighteen California Senate Fellows will be selected to serve as full-time Senate staff for 11 months beginning in October. Fellows are assigned to Member or policy committee offices and work as part of the public policy staff team in the Capitol. Responsibilities include helping develop legislative proposals, researching and analyzing bills, responding to constituent inquiries, and writing press releases and speeches. Many of the CSF participants continue their post-fellowship as career staff to the California Senate.

Minimum Qualifications

1.   Have a bachelor's degree by September 1st of the fellowship year and either a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher or a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the last 60 (semester) or 90 (quarter) units. 

2.   20 years of age or older by Sept. 1 of the fellowship year

3.   Non-U.S. citizens must provide proof of appropriate immigration status. The Capital Fellows Programs do not meet the requirements for F-1 or J-1 visas, nor any work permits requiring participation in the E-verify system.

PLEASE NOTE: Fellows are prohibited from outside academic studies during the fellowship year (i.e. graduate work outside the fellowship seminar, law school, etc.).  Applicants must be prepared for full-time employment, Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm. 

Application Requirements

2019-20 Fellowship Application

Personal Statement

Submit a personal statement, not to exceed three pages. The written statement is a vital part of your application packet and provides an opportunity to distinguish yourself from other excellent applicants. Your application will be strengthened with a carefully written and substantive personal statement. A hastily written statement with grammatical and/or typographical errors - or with mistaken references to other fellowship programs for which you are an applicant - will weaken your application. Be sure to proofread your statement for errors.

The selection panel is interested in learning about you, including your aspirations and why you are applying to the Senate Fellows program. Use your three pages to demonstrate your writing skills and to provide the selection committee with information that may not otherwise be apparent from your application. Do not simply repeat in narrative form the information that is already included in your application, and do not write a policy paper. Simply utilizing a one- or two-page statement prepared for another application is not the best use of this opportunity, and it will weaken your application. Written statements must be typed and double-spaced with a minimum font size of 12 points and margins of at least one inch. Your name should appear on the top of each page. Do not, however, include your social security number.

Three original/current letters of recommendation. At least two of the letters must be from persons who are not presently Members or employees of the California Legislature. It is strongly suggested that at least one of the recommendations be provided by a faculty member familiar with your work and one of the recommendations be provided by a supervisor/employer.

Transcripts from each college and university attended

Selection Process

  •   Application Deadline: Monday, February 11, 2019 at 5:00 pm PST
  •   April: Invitation to selected candidates to interview before selection committee panel.
  •   Late April/early May: Interviews in Sacramento and Los Angeles.
  •   May: Acceptance letters sent out to selected candidates.
  •   October: Selected class of fellows begin fellowship in Sacramento.

If you have questions regarding the Senate Fellowship Program please call (916) 278-6906 or e-mail:

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