Fellow Eligibility and Selection

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


Any U.S. citizen who will complete a master’s or other advanced degree in natural resource management or environmental-related studies at an accredited U.S. university between January 1, 2019, and July 31, 2020, is eligible. Students from a broad range of environmental programs are encouraged to apply. Students who are not U.S. citizens or who attend non-U.S. institutions are not eligible.

Application Requirements

All applications must include:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages using 12 point font).
  2. Statement of the applicant's goals with emphasis on what the applicant expects from and can contribute to the fellowship experience (500 words or less).
  3. Two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant's principal professor. If no principal professor exists, the faculty member who is most familiar with the applicant's academic work may be substituted.
  4. Unofficial copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts.

Selection Criteria

Finalists are selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Academic performance and diversity of educational background, including extracurricular activities, awards, and honors.
  2. Endorsement of the applicant's Sea Grant director.
  3. Support from two letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant's principal professor.
  4. Content of the applicant's goal statement.

All qualified applicants will be considered regardless of age, race, sex, creed, marital status, national origin, lawful political affiliation, religious preference, or nondisqualifying physical handicap.

Finalist Selection

Finalists will be selected from the endorsements submitted by Sea Grant by a selection panel made up of program partners including Sea Grant, NOAA, state coastal zone management programs, the Coastal States Organization, and current and former fellows. Twelve finalists will be selected in odd years when there are six state coastal program fellowship projects available, and 18 finalists will be selected in even years when there are nine fellowship projects available (three Digital Coast Fellowships in addition to the six state projects).

Placement of Fellows

A workshop to match hosts with fellows will take place in Charleston, South Carolina, in late April/early May. Of the finalists selected, six will be placed with a state coastal program and three will be placed with a Digital Coast partner organization (in even years). Each of the selected hosts will send the fellow mentor to the placement workshop. The finalists will be brought to the workshop at the expense of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management. The workshop includes program orientation, project presentations given by the hosts, finalist presentations, finalist and host interviews, and fellow matching. If a host does not find a suitable candidate during the workshop, it will be given the option to defer fellow placement for one year. Hosts will only be allowed one deferment before they have to reapply. No contact between prospective hosts and finalists should be made before the placement workshop.

How to Apply

Application packages must be submitted to the Sea Grant program office in the state where you earned your most recent degree. Each Sea Grant program office can endorse up to three applications to the NOAA Office for Coastal Management for review. Applicants from institutions in states not served by a Sea Grant program office should contact the fellowship coordinator for more information on submitting an application.

For Further Information Please Contact:

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