Public Policy Fellowship FAQs

  • Is a Ph.D. required for the ACS Public Policy Fellowships?

    While most Fellows hold doctorate degrees, it is not a requirement. ACS is looking for candidates with significant familiarity with the chemical sciences or engineering disciplines. This can be a doctorate or a master’s degree with equivalent experience.

  • Do I need to finish my Ph.D. before applying?

    No. Candidates may apply while they are completing their doctoral studies. All requirement for the degree must be completed prior to the start date, usually in the first week of September.

  • Is U.S. citizenship required ACS Public Policy Fellowships?

    No, applicants are not required to have U.S. citizenship.  However, applicants must be legally able to work in the United States, and ACS will not support applicants for a work visa nor exert effort in assisting a candidate in their attempt to acquire a visa.

  • How do ACS and AAAS partner to offer the ACS Congressional fellowships?

    ACS manages the selection process for the ACS Congressional fellowships and provides compensation for the 2 Fellows selected annually. AAAS provides professional development opportunities and assistance with placement in an office on the Hill. AAAS also manages the larger Science & Technology Fellowship program, in which the ACS Congressional Fellows take part.

  • Can I apply for both the AAAS fellowships and the ACS fellowships?

    Yes. Candidates may apply to any combination of the ACS Congressional, ACS Science Policy, and AAAS S&T Fellowships. ACS requires that its fellows be ACS members; AAAS requires AAAS membership for its fellowships; other AAAS partner scientific societies require membership for their Congressional fellowship positions. For more information about the AAAS S&T Fellowships, please review the eligibility criteria.

  • Do I need to be early in my career to apply?

    No! The Public Policy Fellowships are both professional development opportunities and chances to provide outside scientific expertise to either ACS or the federal government. ACS encourages scientists at all stages of their careers—from post-Ph.D. to mid-career and beyond— to consider serving as Public Policy Fellows.

  • What’s the difference between the ACS Congressional Fellowship and the ACS Science Policy Fellowship?

    The ACS Congressional Fellowship Program places two Fellows each year as staff members in the office of a Senator, Representative, or Committee. These Fellows contribute legislative and oversight efforts and learn the inner workings of Capitol Hill. 

    The ACS Science Policy Fellowship Program places one Science Policy Fellow (SPF) with the ACS Government Affairs team for 1-2 years. The SPF works with experienced Government Affairs staff on areas of importance to the chemistry enterprise and gain a deeper understanding of how scientists and scientific organizations participate in public affairs. 

    Applications for the 2024-2025 ACS Science Policy Fellowships are now closed.

    For more information, please review the Fellowship Program descriptions.

  • What’s the best way to prepare for a fellowship?

    Scientists interested in the Public Policy Fellowships are advised to review the eligibility requirements and reach out to former ACS Fellows to discuss their interests. Potential candidates should also pursue opportunities to develop their multi-tasking and communication skills and gain an understanding of the factors that influence public policy decisions.

  • What is the day-to-day life like for the fellows?

    Every Fellow has a unique experience! Congressional Fellows spend time working with other Hill staff to develop legislation and engage constituents and other stakeholders on issues of importance to an office or committee. Science Policy Fellows work with ACS members to develop ACS public policy positions, draft letters and comments on the Society’s behalf, and track issues of importance to the Society. Read more about Fellows' projects.

  • What have former fellows done after their fellowships?

    Past fellows have gone on to careers in government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit sector. Some have returned to faculty positions they held before completing the fellowship; others have used the fellowships as springboards for policy careers as Congressional staff and federal agency personnel at places like the U.S. State Department or the Department of Energy.

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