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Capital Fellows Programs

The Capital Fellows Programs are nationally recognized public policy fellowships which offer unique experiences in policy-making and development in each branch of government.

Capital Fellows are placed at some of the highest levels of California state government and assist state legislators, senior-level executive staff, and court administrators with a broad range of public policy issues and projects and are typically given assignments with a significant amount of responsibility and challenges.

Over 2,000 alumni have participated in the Capital Fellows Programs, and the ranks of former fellows include judges; members of the United States Congress and the State Legislature; state and local government officials; corporate executives; community and non-profit leaders; and university professors, administration and staff.

About the Capital Fellows Programs

Rooted in experiential learning and public service, Capital Fellows spend 10-11 months as part of a cohort working in a Legislative, Executive or Judicial Branch office.

All Fellows receive:

  • a monthly stipend of $2,794, as well as medical, dental and vision benefits;
  • fully-paid enrollment and earn six graduate units;
  • student loan deferment; and
  • upon successful completion of the fellowship, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government.

Dates & Deadlines

  • October: Capitol Fellows Programs applications open in early October.
  • February: Capitol Fellows Programs application deadline: February 3, 2020
  • April: Interviews the last week of April
  • May: Interviews the first week of May.
  • September: Program orientation begins in Sacramento. (Judicial Fellows begin in September. All other programs begin in October.)
A group shot of all the 2016-17 Capitol Fellows participants

Apply to the Capital Fellows Programs

Applicant Minimum Qualifications

  • A completed 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.
  • Applicants must be 20 years of age or older by Sept. 1 of the fellowship year.
  • Non-U.S. citizens must provide proof of appropriate immigration status. The program does not meet the requirements for F-1 or J-1 visas, nor any work permits requiring participation in the E-verify system.
  • Applicants must be prepared for full-time employment, Monday - Friday.

Application & Selection Process

All applications must include the following materials:

  • Completed online application,
  • Personal statement and program or policy statement,
  • Three letters of recommendation,
  • Transcripts from each college and university attended.

2020-21 application

Applications are now open - apply here

california state capitol building

California Senate Fellows program

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 cultivate leadership capacity and insight into the California legislative process through experiential learning. Fellows gain the confidence to move from genuine discovery to active participation in a political educational environment where knowledge is exchanged, and essential tools are provided to make enduring progress in our society.

18 fellows are accepted into the 11-month long program which begins in October of each year.

Senate Fellows Brochure

Executive Fellowship

As a comprehensive career development and executive leadership opportunity, the Executive Fellowship Program is designed to harness and inspire the next generation of California public leaders.

We call on solutions driven individuals with a passion for making a difference in their community to join our program and learn first-hand the complexities and challenges of governing a state of over 40 million people. Over the past 6 years over 100 fellows have been placed in 40 different offices, engaged in solving issues at the community, local, state, national, and international level. Fellows are exposed to renowned leaders from the public and private sectors of our state and are tasked with the direct responsibilities of implementing and developing policy across our state. Additionally, you will have a hand in creating your own experience with your mentor, as you learn to develop the skill sets necessary for you to create change at a state level.

18 fellows are accepted into the 10-month long program which begins in October of each year.

Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship

Join the nation’s oldest legislative fellowship program and make an impact on your community and state.

Work in the state capitol and directly shape public policy, from education to environmental justice, while being mentored by senior legislative staff. Assembly fellows develop skills, expand their professional network, and build towards a meaningful career while being part of a cohort of other service aspiring individuals.

18 fellows are accepted into the 11-month long program which begins in October of each year.

Judicial Fellowship Program

Are you interested in providing access to justice for the millions of people who call California home?

Judicial Fellows work in Superior Courts and Judicial Council offices throughout California and gain experience in the executive level management of California’s judicial branch. Courts do more than adjudicate cases. Judicial Fellows are tasked with a variety of work assignments during the fellowship such as legislative analysis and leading research projects related to court programs and public policy initiatives. Judicial fellows demonstrate a commitment to public service and an interest in the administration of justice in the California court system. Key components to the program are the cohort model of the fellowship class, the strength of the mentorship opportunities that exist for fellows in each of the placements, and the opportunity to visit courts throughout California for monthly field and academic seminars.

10 Fellows are selected to participate in the 10-month long program that starts in September of each year.

CFAA official seal

Capital Fellows Alumni Association

The Capital Fellows Alumni Association (CFAA) is an alumni association for former Capital Fellows fostering development through a devoted and connected community, helping create good public policy and ethical leadership. CFAA is recognized for creating and supporting successful and effective leaders through unique events, quality services, and exceptional opportunities.

Mission Statement

The Capital Fellows Alumni Association is an alumni association for former fellows fostering development through a devoted and connected community, helping create good public policy and ethical leadership.

Vision Statement

The Capital Fellows Alumni Association is recognized for creating and supporting successful and effective leaders through unique events, quality services, and exceptional opportunities.

Capital Fellows Alumni Update Form

CFAA Membership

Becoming a member is easy. We have a one-time, lifetime membership fee of only $99. This fee officially makes you a CFAA member and a portion is contributed to the Timothy A. Hodson Memorial Fund. Your donation will be a reflection of the value of the Fellows programs and your continued engagement in the Fellows Alumni community.

Current fellows (class of 2018-19) can join for a special rate of only $49, if you sign up before the end of the calendar year of your fellowship (December 31, 2019).

In order to purchase membership, fill in the corresponding amount (either $99 or $49) and your personal information.

Purchase CFAA Membership

Upcoming CFAA Events

Please check back soon for upcoming events!

Stay In Touch

For more information about CFAA please contact CFAA Board President Sarah Couch.