Become a Fellow: Review, Selection & Placement

The AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships are extremely competitive, involving a formal, three-tier merit review and selection process. The reviewers and Selection Committee members identify the best scientists and engineers from the applicant pool who they believe will benefit most from the opportunities that a AAAS Fellowship provides, and who will offer significant expertise, skills, effort and new perspectives to hosting offices.

Review and Selection

Review, evaluation, and selection take place from February through early April. The Selection Committees members represent a broad range of backgrounds and professional experience and include individuals from the academic community, partner agencies, the private sector, the non-governmental community, and AAAS staff, as well as alumni of the AAAS Fellowships.

  • AAAS staff review each application to ensure candidates meet designated criteria and all required materials have been submitted;
  • Each application is read and scored by three external reviewers who rate it according to guidelines provided by AAAS;
  • Z-scores are compiled and utilized to designate the top-ranking candidates in each program area;
  • Top candidates in each Fellowship area are evaluated and ranked by Selection Committee members to determine the semi-finalists to interview;
  • Semi-finalists are interviewed in-person in Washington, DC, late February through March, by Selection Committees who then designate the fellowship finalists;
  • Finalists in the executive branch Fellowships are invited to participate in placement week in early April in Washington, DC, to interview at partner agency offices interested in hosting a AAAS Fellow for one year (individuals selected as Congressional Fellows will go through placement following the September orientation);
  • Executive branch finalists receiving suitable placement offers are extended a fellowship award letter, which outlines the fellowship expectations and requirements (individuals chosen as Congressional Fellows are offered award letters immediately upon selection); and
  • Individuals accepting an award offer become AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellows to begin assignments the following September (fellowships may not be deferred)


  • Congressional Branch
    Congressional Fellows begin the process of finding placement in a Congressional office following orientation. This process may not be initiated earlier. Placement usually takes two to three weeks. AAAS provides office space, guidance, and support. Detailed information about the placement process is provided following a formal offer of a AAAS Congressional Fellowship.
  • Executive Branch
    The placement process for executive branch Fellows who will be working in federal agencies begins with a week of interviews in Washington, DC in early to mid-April. AAAS provides information about hosting offices and projects that match Fellows’ expertise and offers guidance and support. Detailed information about the placement process is provided following selection as a AAAS Executive Branch Fellow.