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Capital Fellows Executive Fellowship Program

About Capital Fellows Executive Fellowship Program

The Capital Fellows Programs are public policy fellowships in California state government, administered by the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento.

Executive Fellowship Program

Created in 1986, the Executive Fellowship Program provides an opportunity to work as full-time professional staff in high levels of government throughout the California Executive branch. Placements include offices of the Governor, constitutional offices and cabinet level staff, as well as agencies, departments, boards and commissions. The broad range of issues that the executive branch deals with provides fellows with valuable insight and experiences in state public policy and politics. The size and scope of the Executive branch offers a fellow the flexibility to work on a variety of issues and develop new skills and passions.

This 10-month program uniquely integrates work experience with academic and professional development. The Executive Fellowship begins with a comprehensive training about California state government, including briefings by the governor’s staff, constitutional officers, legislative staff, academicians and others. Orientation is also designed to give the fellows a well-rounded introduction to the interactions of the executive branch with state, local, federal government and the private sector. Additionally, fellows leave orientation with a core set of professional skills that are applicable to numerous placements in the Executive Fellowship Program and a future career.

Unique to the executive branch experience are the levels of responsibility and the inherent range of topics that are possible as an Executive Fellow. This diversity of responsibly and opportunity is one of the core differences of the Executive Fellowship Program. Fellows are placed in offices throughout the executive branch, where they learn, not only about state government from their individual experiences, but through the shared professional and academic experiences with their colleagues.

The type of work assignments vary depending on the role of the office and the skills of the fellow. The program, fellow and mentor work together to create a mutually beneficial experience within the context of the role of the placement office. Often times fellows have the opportunity to gain experience in policy development, legislation, communication and program implementation during their fellowship year, as well as a host of other opportunities.

Academic Program

Executive Fellows attend weekly university graduate seminars and earn graduate units in Public Policy and Administration. Seminars provide an academic perspective on policy and administrative issues that are relevant to the public sector. During the year, fellows work on a variety of professional and academic group projects that serve as a link between their professional and academic experience. Projects are supervised and critiqued by both professional agency staff and the academic advisor. Upon successful completion of the fellowship, Executive Fellows earn 6 graduate units and receive a Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government.


Fellows receive a monthly stipend of $2698/month; medical, dental and vision benefits; and student loan deferments.


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 or older by September 1 of the fellowship year and all qualified 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.

Members of the selection committee look for demonstrated commitment to California and public service; effective written and oral communication skills; interpersonal skills; characteristics for collaborative learning and problem-solving including flexibility, initiative, adaptability and maturity; academic and professional achievement; and interest in and knowledge of California’s executive branch.

Capital Fellows Executive Fellowship Program

Brian Aguilar, Director
Center for California Studies, Sacramento State
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-6081
Phone: 916-278-6906


Number of Interns: 10 to 20
Compensation/Benefits: Academic Credit, Stipend
Duration: 6 to 12 months
Academic Level: Recent College Graduates, Graduate Students, Business School Students, Law School Students


Sacramento, CA