Eligibility Questions

No. The Clarke DS Fellowship program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and is open to U.S. citizens only. If you become a U.S. citizen, then you will be eligible to apply for the Clarke DS Fellowship program. You must submit documentation of your U.S. citizenship by the application deadline.

Yes. The State Department requires that you be at least 21 years old to be appointed as a DSS Special Agent and you must be appointed prior to the month that you reach 37 years of age (except for preference-eligible veterans). Because the Clarke DS Fellowship is a two-year program, you must be at least 19 years old and no older than 32 years old to be eligible to apply for the fellowship. If you are a Veteran, please see the next FAQ for the documentation you must submit.

Applicants older than 32 (as of the application deadline date) claiming Veteran’s Preference must submit documentation. If claiming a 5 pt. Veteran’s Preference, you must submit a copy of your DD-214 service 2 or member 4 copy. If claiming a 10 pt. Veteran’s Preference, you must submit your VA letter and SF-15, in addition to your DD-214. Disabled veterans should never send the document that lists their disability, only the one-page document that contains the rating. You’ll submit your documentation by uploading it in the application portal as a .pdf document.

No. You must have at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA, which includes all courses taken at all institutions you attended at a college/university level.

No. The security, medical, and suitability clearance processes and investigations do not begin until a person is selecting for the fellowship.

All two-year full-time master’s degree programs at a U.S.-based accredited institution are eligible. The full-time courses taken to complete the degree program must be only offered during the fall and spring semesters, and not during the summer. Because you will be taking full-time practicums with the State Department during the summer, you would not be able to take summer college courses.

No. Based on graduate school deadlines, most applicants will not yet know where they will be attending graduate school before submitting their Clarke DS Fellowship application. You should list all the schools and master’s programs that you plan to apply to, and keep in mind that they should be two-year programs that require four semesters (fall and spring only) of full-time coursework. You should make sure that the degree program does not require summer courses.

No. DSS Special Agents have a wide variety of backgrounds and degrees. Most importantly, you must have a strong desire to become a federal law enforcement officer in the Foreign Service, leading and managing U.S. security programs and available for assignment anywhere in the world.

Yes, as long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements. We encourage you to provide a compelling reason why you are seeking another master’s degree.

Yes, with the caveat that you still must meet all of your commitments to the Clarke DS Fellowship. In addition to the meeting the academic requirements, you will also be required to take the full-time summer practicums. These are in-person, 10-week full-time practicums (one in Washington, D.C. and one at an embassy or consulate overseas). During these practicums, you will not be able to work another job.

Application Questions

You can check the status of your application, including uploaded materials, in your online application. You will also be able to check whether we have received your letters of recommendation. You may e-mail ClarkeDSFellowship@twc.edu if you have any questions.

You must submit your application online through the application website, which you can access from the Fellowship page here.

You must submit unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities from which you obtained credits for two semesters or more. You do not need to send transcripts for courses taken in high school, including dual enrollment and AP classes, for which you received college credit.

Let us know and we’ll reach out to them to ensure they get the email notification. Please email us at ClarkeDSFellowship@twc.edu.

You should list the graduate programs where you intend to apply, along with the deadline dates of those applications.

If you are unable to provide a letter from an academic professional, choose someone who is familiar with your academics, professional work, or volunteer/community activities. Your recommender should be someone who can explain why you are uniquely qualified for the Clarke DS Fellowship.

Yes. All applicants must complete the latest FAFSA  and upload the SAR, even if they are not currently enrolled in a college or university. Materials must be uploaded in advance of the application deadline date. The production of the SAR often takes several days to process after the FAFSA request is submitted, so applicants should file the FAFSA at least a week before the application deadline for the Clarke DS Fellowship.

Selection Process Questions

Individuals selected as finalists will be invited to participate in a final round, which includes an interview with three selection panel members and a 60-minute timed essay writing exercise. Finalists will also take the baseline Physical Readiness Test (PRT). While the PRT results are not used in the selection process, this is valuable information for you to understand how you would perform on the PRT.

No. If you are selected as a finalist, you will take a baseline PRT prior to the final selection process. Your PRT test results are not included in the selection process and are not provided to the selection committee. But, taking the PRT as a finalist will give you a baseline of your current physical readiness – knowledge that you can use to be better prepared to pass the pre-employment PRT at the end of your fellowship. Remember  that you will be required to pass the PRT near the end of the two-year fellowship, prior to receiving a final offer of employment and onboarding as a DSS Special Agent.

There are 33 possible locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. The Clarke DS Fellowship team will help finalists determine the location closest for them and assist in scheduling the PRT. Travel costs associated with the PRT will be reimbursed. If you’re selected as a finalist while abroad, the Clarke DS Fellowship team will work with the local Embassy or Consulate to see if they are able to administer the PRT. Please allow the staff to take the lead on setting this up for you and then passing along the details; do not attempt to contact the Embassy or Consulate on your own.

After you complete the final selection process, all finalists will be notified via email of the final selection decisions. The State Department will select eight Clarke DS Fellows. You may also be selected as an alternate. If selected fellow does not accept the fellowship offer or if a fellow does not uphold the requirements, you may be offered the fellowship.