Information for Knauss Applicants


Next available fellowship: February 1, 2025-January 31, 2026

Final applications due to Maryland Sea Grant: February 15, 2024 at 5 PM local time.

Thank you for your interest in applying for the Knauss Fellowship. We encourage you to learn as much as possible before you begin the application process.

  • Please review MDSG’s website and the NOAA Knauss website before starting your application. In particular, NOAA provides guidance for developing your essay and the points regarding how fellowship applications will be evaluated.
  • We strongly recommend you set up a time to meet with Maryland Sea Grant's
    Dr. Mike Allen or Dr. Ana Sosa (book a meeting here) to discuss the fellowship and application requirements.


Any student, regardless of citizenship, is eligible to submit to this opportunity if:

  1. The student is enrolled towards a degree in a graduate program at any point between the onset of the 2023 Fall Term (quarter, trimester, semester, etc.) and February 15, 2024;
  2. The graduate degree will be awarded through an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or U.S. Territories, and;
  3. The student has an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Students from a broad range of environmental programs are encouraged to apply.

Maryland Sea Grant and the National Sea Grant College Program champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by recruiting, retaining and preparing a diverse workforce, and proactively engaging and serving the diverse populations of coastal communities. Sea Grant is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication and education programs that serve people with unique backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives and ways of thinking. We encourage applicants of all ages, races, ethnicities, national origins, gender identities, sexual orientations, disabilities, cultures, religions, citizenship types, marital statuses, education levels, job classifications, veteran status types, and income, and socioeconomic status types to apply for this opportunity.

How to Apply

Please read carefully as the process has changed.

Step 1: Contact Maryland Sea Grant well before the application deadline to set up a virtual meeting date with staff. We will answer questions about the fellowship and the application process and discuss your draft application package. Maryland Sea Grant must receive your draft application package one week before the interview in eSeaGrant. See our calendar for appointment slots in December and January.

Step 2: Register for an account to prepare your application on Maryland Sea Grant's eSeaGrant proposal portal,  Click "Add Fellowship Application" to navigate the system and create your fellowship proposal.

Step 3: You must upload all pieces of your application to the eSeaGrant proposal portal in the Application section. The six required pieces are:

(1) Curriculum vitae (not to exceed two pages). The student should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.). 

(2) Personal education and career development response. The student should emphasize their abilities and expectations of the fellowship experience in terms of their career development. Each section and subsequent subsection should be answered separately using the section headers below. The entire personal education and career development section should not exceed 1,530 words total. Suggested word counts will be included with each subsection below. Section headers will not count as part of the overall word count. The student should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.).

  • Section One: Icebreaker. The suggested word count is 25 words for this section.
    • (Prompt A) (Suggest 20 words) The student should use one sentence to describe themselves.
    • (Prompt B) (5 words MAX--this is the only question with a strict word count): The student should list five adjectives that someone with a close personal connection (coworker, supervisor, etc.) would use to describe them.
  • Section Two: Career Path and Objectives. The suggested word count is 750 words for this section.
    • (Prompt A) (Suggest 250 words) The student should discuss any experience(s) (research or otherwise) that supports or relates to the mission of the National Sea Grant College Program or the state Sea Grant program (the student does not have to have had a direct connection to Sea Grant). The student should emphasize (if relevant) any experience with extending and distilling science for non-scientific audiences. 
    • (Prompt B) (Suggest 250 words) The student should discuss their interest in the Knauss Fellowship with a specific focus on how the Knauss Fellowship supports the student’s career pathway. The student should focus on how the Knauss Program would further support their development as a professional. 
    • (Prompt C) (Suggest 250 words) The student should discuss the transferable skills (skills that can be applied across a variety of disciplines) that they would bring to the Knauss Fellowship. In this response, students should highlight experiences from their personal, professional and academic background.
  • Section Three: Career Path Experience. The suggested word count is 750 words for this section.
    • (Prompt A) (Suggested 250 words) During the Fellowship, finalists will serve in a range of capacities, including developing and delivering public programs or services, informing policy-making, and providing evidence-based advice to leaders. The student should discuss how they have and/or will embrace the concept of public service.
    • (Prompt B) (Suggested 250 words) The student should discuss a situation in which they have worked with a person or group with different perspectives, life experiences, beliefs, etc. from their own to achieve a common goal. The student is encouraged to use examples.
    • (Prompt C) (Suggested 250 Words) The student should discuss a situation in which they overcame a challenge (e.g. within a community or institution, personally, professionally, etc.) specifically as it relates to how they took a leadership role. The student should also consider including a reflection on what they learned from this experience.

(3) Relevant Coursework and Future Year Plans (not to exceed one page single spaced): The student should discuss any relevant coursework and their future year activities.
Relevant Coursework: The student may discuss any completed or in progress classes that they deem relevant to their success in the Knauss Fellowship Program.
Future year activities: The student should include a listing of classes and/or plans for spring 2024, summer 2024, and fall 2024.

(4) Two letters of recommendation from individuals who have worked with the student, including at least one from a faculty member associated with the student’s current enrollment who has knowledge of the student’s academic and research (when applicable) performance. Each letter should not exceed two pages single spaced and should clearly indicate the letter writer’s name and position. These letters should:

  • discuss the following attributes of the student: self-motivation, response to setbacks, skills and involvement in teamwork, collaborative leadership skills, willingness to learn a new skill or topic, academic performance and potential; and
  • speak to anything else the review panel should know about the strengths that the student will bring to the fellowship.

The letters should not include personal contact information or web links to external resources (e.g., LinkedIn, articles, blogs, etc.). If included, programs should redact prior to submission. Any letters beyond the two letters of recommendation and the eligible Sea Grant director’s letter will be disregarded by the selection panel. Letters of endorsement from members of Congress, friends, or relatives will not be accepted. NOTE: Blinded reviewer comments will be provided to the students, including discussion of the LORs.

(5) Clear digital or scanned copies of all undergraduate and graduate student transcripts (unofficial are acceptable).

(6) For applicants in a state or territory not served by an eligible Sea Grant program, but applying through an eligible Sea Grant program, a written statement from the Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship Program Manager referring the applicant to the most appropriate eligible Sea Grant program must be included as part of that applicant's application package to the Sea Grant program. For DC applicants through Maryland Sea Grant, this letter is required. Not applicable for Maryland applicants.

We request you upload all application materials one week prior to your meeting. Materials may be revised up until the official submission deadline. Reference letters must be submitted by the formal application deadline. ​

Step 4: Attend your meeting with Maryland Sea Grant staff to discuss your background, educational plans, goals for the fellowship, and draft fellowship package. 

Step 5: Submit your package to Maryland Sea Grant by the official state deadline. Make sure your letter writers also submit their letters by this date.

After the application deadline, a Maryland Sea Grant panel will review all applications based on the criteria in the NOFO and select the top candidates for the submission to the national competition.

Step 6: Selected applicants will meet with the Director for a one-on-one interview about your application, career goals, and plans for the fellowship in March. This interview will inform the director's letter in your package.

For the 2025 Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Student Guide click here.


Maryland Sea Grant Contact

Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Director for Research and Administration
phone: (301) 405-7500

Mailing Address:
Maryland Sea Grant College
5825 University Research Court Suite 1350
College Park, Maryland 20740

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