Frequently Asked Questions

Note: The Coastal Management Fellowship Program is taking a pause for 2021 and will not be placing a class of fellows this year. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management is committed to this fellowship program and we look forward to being up and running again in 2022. If you have questions, please contact

Q: Where have fellows been placed and where have they gone on to work?

Immediately after the fellowship, almost all fellows remain in the coastal management field.

For the Coastal Management Fellowship, 60% remained in state level coastal management, 10% went to work for NOAA, and the remaining 30% went to academic, nonprofit, local, private, and other federal agencies.


For the Digital Coast Fellowship, 66% remained working for nonprofit organizations, 17% went on to work in state level coastal management, and 17% went to for the private sector.

Q: What kind of degree do you need to be eligible for the fellowship?

A: For the 2020 fellowship, applicants must complete a master’s or other advanced degree between January 1, 2019, and July 31, 2020, to be eligible. A broad range of degrees are applicable because the projects are new and different each year. Previous fellows have had degrees in environmental studies, natural resource management, marine affairs, marine science, geology, public affairs, and regional land management. The most important prerequisite is an interest in coastal management issues. Candidates must be U.S. citizens.

Q: What criteria do the Sea Grant directors use when writing their letters of endorsement?

A: Sea Grant directors evaluate applicants based on a face-to-face or phone interview. They look for applicants who have a strong professional interest in coastal management; have experience, through internships, extracurricular activities, or jobs, in coastal activities; and have a proven ability in interpersonal, oral, and written communication.

Q: What is the length of fellowship projects?

A: Fellowship projects are two years long. For instance, the 2020 fellowship will start in August 2020 and end in August 2022. Newly selected fellows are given the opportunity to visit their host organizations before the start of the fellowship to meet the staff and to look for housing.

Q: Can a host organization nominate someone for a fellowship position?

A: Fellowship host organizations cannot nominate anyone to be a fellow. Host organizations and fellows are selected independently of one another and then matched up through a mutual interview process. Contact between applicants and hosts is not allowed prior to the matching week. Applicants are encouraged to read about the host projects on the website or to contact current fellows to ask them about their position or experience.

Q: Does where applicants live or go to school determine what projects they are eligible for?

A: Not at all. Applicants are eligible for any of the projects regardless of where they live.

Q: What is the salary for the Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship?

A: The current salary is $42,000 per year. In the second year of the fellowship, a locality pay factor may be added to the salary, depending on the location of the fellowship.

Q: How do fellows get paid?

A: All of the benefits, including salary, are administered by Tridec Technologies through a contract with the NOAA Office for Coastal Management.

Q: What other benefits, in addition to salary, are included as part of the fellowship?

A: Health insurance, worker's compensation, relocation reimbursement, and travel reimbursement.

Q: How much relocation reimbursement do fellows receive?

A: Fellows will be provided up to $1,000 to move to their fellowship location and up to $1,000 to move at the end of the two-year fellowship. If relocation is not required or the fellowship is not completed, relocation reimbursement will not be provided.

Q: How much travel reimbursement do fellows receive?

A: Fellows will be reimbursed up to $1,000 per year for professional development travel. A separate pot of money will be set aside for fellows to travel to specific meetings and conferences required by the fellowship program. Any travel related to their project will be reimbursed by the host organization.

Q: Do fellows have contact with one another during the fellowship?

A: The fellows see each other at three events throughout their fellowships. One is the fellows' meeting, which takes place in the summer of each odd year, and the other is a winter conference, which changes depending on the year. In even years, the fellows attend the Social Coast Forum, and in odd years they attend the Coastal GeoTools Conference.

Q: How is the fellowship program evaluated?

A: Each year, the fellows and mentors participating in the program are asked to complete a survey about their experiences in the program. This feedback is used to revise the program to better meet the needs of the fellows and mentors. In 2006, the Office for Coastal Management hired GEARS Inc. to complete a comprehensive, formal evaluation of the program. The evaluation was completed in late 2007, and the final report is included here: Evaluation of the Coastal Management Fellowship.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Fellowship Coordinator
NOAA Office for Coastal Management
2234 South Hobson Avenue
Charleston, SC 29405
Tel: (843) 740-1273