Eligibility Requirements for the Clarke DS Fellowship

The Clarke DS Fellowship is designed as a two-year cohort model. The application for the 2025 cohort is open February 12, 2024, to April 29, 2024, at 11:59 pm (EDT). To apply for the 2025 cohort, you must meet the eligibility requirements below:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 19 years old and no older than 32 years old (except for preference-eligible veterans).
  • Be planning to begin a two-year full-time master’s degree program starting in fall 2025 at a U.S.-based accredited institution.
  • Be on a timeline to graduate with your master’s degree in spring 2027, after attending four full-time (fall and spring) semesters during your two years of the fellowship.
  • Hold a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale (from college/university-level courses) at the time of application and maintain this GPA throughout the program.

If you are selected as a finalist, you must:

As a Clarke DS Fellow, you must:

  • Receive and maintain a Top Secret security clearance.
  • Maintain eligibility for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
  • Meet a minimum medical qualification standard, including supplemental physical qualification standards specific to Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agents.
  • Pass a Suitability Review
  • Fulfill the two summer practicum obligations (the first one in the summer after selection, the second one in the summer after your first year of graduate school).
  • Maintain your status as a full-time student (fall and spring semesters) in your approved degree program.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA and stay on the two-year timeline to graduate with your degree.
  • Pass a pre-employment Physical Readiness Test (PRT) prior to receiving a final offer of employment and onboarding as a DSS Special Agent.
  • Take the Diplomatic Security Special Agent Test (DSSAT) and the Foreign Service Specialist Assessment (FSSA), and pass these by the end of your three-year commitment as a DSS Special Agent.
  • Agree to a three-year commitment with the Foreign Service as a DSS Special Agent upon successful completion of the program and the State Department’s requirements.
  • Be prepared to enter the Foreign Service as a DSS Special Agent immediately after successful completion of the fellowship program and Foreign Service entry requirements.

Once appointed as a DSS Special Agent, you will be required to successfully undergo and pass a rigorous training program, including:

  • Criminal investigative training and certification.
  • Firearm training and qualification.
  • Physical readiness standards and tests.
  • Specialized driving tactics and defensive techniques.
  • Specialized training in the protection of dignitaries, diplomatic facilities and sensitive information.