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Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellows Program

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Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Announcement 10/12/2020: The CSPC is undergoing an evaluation of its funding for this year. We will be updating this page as we know more. In the mean time, we encourage you to explore other opportunities.


For Juniors and Sophomores with a focused research agenda related to the American Presidency and/or Congress, who want to learn about leadership and governance, to share their outstanding research and scholarship, to develop as future leaders of character, and to be inspired to careers in public service. Fellows will participate in group presentations addressing policy scenarios. There is thus a focus on collaborative work in the program to complement policy research writing.

Campus Deadline:  Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 3:00PM **SUBMIT EARLY: This deadline is strict**

Application Workshop:  Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 4:00-5:00PM in Sweet Hall, Room 118

  • Fellows select a research field and policy scenario that serves as their group designation
  • Each Fellow develops an original research paper (8-15 pages, single-spaced) related to the group assignment
  • Attendance at two conferences in Washington, DC
  • Opportunity to study the US Presidency, the public policy-making process, and the Chief Executive's relationship with Congress
  • Opportunity to interact with policy experts and CSPC International Fellows
  • Stanford University covers travel to and from Washington, DC for one student while the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress pays for the lodging and other associated costs for this program.
  • Read about how the CSPS Fellowship helped Fellow Hannah Zimmerman '21 launch a non-profit on civic organizing here

Campus liaisonKathy Wright, Academic Advising

The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress national website

Eligibility Criteria

  • Nomination by Stanford through Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE).
  • Be currently enrolled sophomores and juniors majoring in any field of study. Fellows typically major or minor in one of the following disciplines: economics, history, international relations, philosophy, political science, public health, public policy, communication
  • Demonstrate a strong academic record
  • Demonstrate an interest in American government and in the American Presidency or Congress
  • Demonstrate leadership skills
  • Demonstrate research experience and the ability to write and present original material
  • Must be available for an interview, if shortlisted. Interview dates:  Thursday, April 2, 2020 & Friday, April 3, 2020 

How to Apply

The following steps must be completed for an application to be considered for campus nomination: 

  1. Register with Undergraduate Research to participate in the campus competition
  2. Consult with your faculty mentor and CSPC campus advisors regarding the content and writing of your application
  3. Complete a campus application package consisting of the following:
    • 3-page double-spaced statement of purpose explaining:
      • Your reasons for applying to the program
      • The research project you intend to pursue as a CSPC Fellow
      • Your research experience to date, especially as it relates to your research plans
      • Your educational and career goals
    • Your resume
    • For the campus deadline, provide an additional longer, annotated resume that provides rich details for the experiences/achievements that you list.
    • Request an electronic version of all official college transcript(s) to be sent to If you can only obtain hard copies of a transcript, submit one original and five copies.
    • Your summer contact information
    • A letter of recommendation from a faculty member who knows you well and who will be advising you on the proposed research project (original only, copies not required)
      • it is recommended that you confer with the CSPC campus liaison before finalizing your choice for the recommendation
      • begin this process early to allow for creation and submission by the campus deadline
      • the letter should address the value of your research to the field, as well as your level of preparedness and your ability to work in teams with peers at CSPC events
      • the letter may be sent by the writer electronically to, or in sealed hardcopy form to Academic Advising, Sweet Hall, First Floor, Attn.  CSPC Fellowship
      • See Tips for Soliciting Letters of Recommendation
  4. Submit your complete application package in a PDF format to by the required deadline
  5. Request the "Fellowship Nomination Permission Form and Waiver" from Sign in blue ink and submit the original form to the Academic Advising Front Desk (Sweet Hall, 1st Floor).

Selection Process

A committee of VPUE staff and faculty will review applications to shortlist candidates for campus interviews, and selects one campus nominee for the fellowship.

Additional Resources

You are strongly encouraged to consult with your faculty mentors about the application, and with academic advisors who have experience with this competition.  To schedule an appointment with the CSPC campus liaison, visit here