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About Capital Fellows Programs

The Capital Fellows Programs are public policy fellowships in California state government, administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. These nationally renowned programs include the California Senate Fellows, Executive Fellowship Program, Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program and the Judicial Administrative Fellowship Program.

64 Capital Fellows are selected annually - 18 Assembly Fellows, 18 Executive Fellows, 18 Senate Fellows, and 10 Judicial Administration Fellows - to work 10-11 months as full-time staff-members in the California State Assembly, California State Senate, California Executive Branch or within the California Judiciary. All fellowship assignments are in the Sacramento area, with the exception of the Judicial Administration program, which has placements throughout California, including Los Angeles, the Bay Area, San Diego and Sacramento.

Capital Fellows are placed at some of the highest levels of state government. They act as assistants to members of the California Assembly and Senate, senior executive branch staff, court administrators and other top-ranking state government officials. They work on a broad range of public policy issues and projects and are directly involved in the policy making process. They help to draft and analyze legislation; coordinate projects; work with constituents and special interest groups; write grants, speeches and press releases; conduct policy briefings; and work with court project development and implementation. Participants are well prepared for government and public service careers and many are offered positions within California state government upon completion of the program.

The Academic Program

The programs also include academic seminars, and fellows earn graduate credits in Government or Public Policy and Administration from Sacramento State. Each program pays for the fees for the graduate units earned by the fellows.

The Fellowship Year

The fellowships begin in October with an orientation that provides a working knowledge of state government structure and the legislative process, with key people including legislative members, senior staff, journalists, lobbyists and state government officials.


Fellows receive a monthly stipend of $2,550/month; medical, dental and vision benefits; and student loan deferments.

Program Requirements

The only prerequisite for the programs is a bachelor's degree in any major and a demonstrated interest in state government and public service. Applicants must be at least 20 years of age by September 1 of the fellowship year and recent grads, graduate, postgraduate and mid-career applicants are welcome to apply. Fellows come from all economic, cultural, career and educational backgrounds, and no previous legislative or political experience is required. Applicants from outside of California are welcome to apply. Fellows are not required to be U.S. citizens, but they must provide proof of appropriate immigration status. The Capital Fellows Programs do not meet the requirements for F-1 or J-1 visas.


The application deadline for the class of 2015-16 is February 9, 2015 and all applications can be obtained online at: www.csus.edu/calst/programs.

Semifinalists must be present for a personal interview in Sacramento or Los Angeles in late April and early May, and final selections are made in late May.

For each individual fellowship, applicants must submit an online application (www.csus.edu/calst/programs), college transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a policy statement on a topic outlined in the application and a personal statement. Applicants may apply to more than one program depending on their interests. Each program is unique to the branch of government it serves. Only apply to the programs that truly interest you, and make sure you individualize each application.

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Capital Fellows Programs


  • Number of Interns: 51-100
  • Compensation/Benefits: Academic Credit, Stipend
  • Duration: 6 to 12 months
  • Degree Type: Recent Graduates, Graduate Students, Business school students, Law school students


  • Sacramento, CA

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