Photo of a government buliding
Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Graduate students and postdocs! Are you interested in getting experience in federal service or leadership? Will you finish your advanced degree before the end of August 2022 or did you obtain it between October 2019 and October 2021?

If you answered yes to these questions, you should know about the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program! The PMF program is the premiere pathway for advanced degree candidates to launch a career in the federal government. It is designed to foster the next generation of government leaders via a two year appointment with a branch of the federal government, and includes formal interactive training, a developmental assignment, networking opportunities, and the potential for promotions and career ladders at the end of the appointment. Even if federal service isn’t your ultimate goal, you can take the leadership training from the PMF program into the private sector, academia, or the nonprofit world.

This year, the application period for the PMF will be open from noon (ET), Tuesday, September 28, 2021 to noon (ET), Tuesday, October 12, 2021. The selection process consists of four steps: the application, an online assessment, finalist selection, and agency placement as a Fellow.

Information Sessions

The application process is involved, so anyone interested is encouraged to read the Become a PMF and FAQ pages, and to look through the set of resources provided by the PMF program to guide applicants and address applicant questions, including the PMF Applicant Handbook. In addition, there will be a series of information sessions that we highly encourage anyone interested to consider:

  1. Thursday, September 2, 2021, from 2:00-3:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines
  2. Tuesday, September 7, 2021, from 4:00-5:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines, with a special focus on STEM fields
  3. Tuesday, September 14, 2021 from 3:00-4:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines, with a special focus on Public Health and Finance-related degrees
  4. Thursday, September 16, 2021 from 4:00-5:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines, with a special focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility
  5. Tuesday, September 21, 2021 from 2:00-3:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines, with a special focus on Cybersecurity
  6. Thursday, September 23, 2021 from 3:00-4:00pm (Eastern Time): open to all disciplines
  7. Monday, September 27, 2021, from 2:00-4:00pm (Eastern Time): open forum for questions (no presentation)

Mark your calendars and register in advance!

Berkeley advanced degree alums have a strong track record as past PMF finalists. Here are some words of advice from two of them, for anyone considering applying this year:

  • “Treat the standardized online exam as just that—don’t overthink the essay questions, brush up on how to read a spreadsheet, and make sure your responses to the situational questions demonstrate a consistent psychological profile.”
  • “After the initial application process, your resume is critical to getting interviewed should you become a finalist. Make sure it’s up-to-date, accurate, and compelling (this is a great time to reach out to the Career Center to get feedback on your resume).”
  • “Reach out to current and former PMFs to learn more about their work and potential opportunities. Reflect on why you’re interested in the PMF program, which is a question frequently posed to finalists.”

Many thanks to UC Berkeley graduates Andrew Ly (Ph.D. in Music, PMF Class of 2019 and Deputy Product Owner at and Dave Bratt (Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures, PMF Class of 2021) for their advice to applicants. See a 2019 interview with Andrew published in GradNews to hear even more about his experience.

We hope you consider applying to the PMF Class of 2022!

Alicia Roy holds a Ph.D. in German from UC Berkeley and is a Hitchcock Postdoctoral Fellow in the Graduate Division.