The New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program is a funded two-year fellowship offering talented recent graduates of graduate and advanced degree programs hands-on training and experience in New York State government. Excelsior Fellows work full time at host executive-branch agencies and authorities, advancing the operational aspects of large policy initiatives. Fellow placements include the Executive Chamber, Empire State Development Corporation, Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, Department of Environmental Conservation, the Port Authority of NY/NJ, and the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo welcomed the first class of Excelsior Fellows in September 2013 and viewed them as an integral part of his mission to advance opportunities for the best and brightest who are called to public service. Although the Excelsior Service Fellowship Program lasts two years, exceptional fellows may continue to serve New York State. More than 50% of prior classes of Excelsior Fellows were offered permanent positions with the State post-fellowship.


Requirements and Details

Candidates must have earned their graduate degree (i.e., MPA, MA, MBA) or an advanced degree (i.e., JD, PhD) in the 2019-20 academic year. Generally, this means August 2019 – May/June 2020. Candidates must be eligible to work for New York State without employer sponsorship. Candidates are encouraged to note their areas of interest and any preferred placement agencies; however final placements will be dictated by budget and the needs of state government. While some opportunities exist in New York City and elsewhere in the state, most agency placements are located in Albany, New York.


Salary is in two-tiers, based on years of work experience after college:

  • Fellows with less than three years of post-collegiate work experience are paid $55,000 annually
  • Fellows with three or more years of post-collegiate work experience are paid $60,000 annually

Additionally, all fellows receive a comprehensive benefits package including paid leave, health, dental, vision, and other benefits.

All Excelsior Fellows must submit to a background investigation conducted by the New York State Police and the Center for Recruitment and Public Service. Fellowship appointment is contingent upon this background check.


Application Process

Graduate Center students can apply to the Excelsior via GC Connect (position number 4209). The GC internal deadline is Monday, February 10, 2020. Information about accessing GC Connect can be found here:

Applications and selections for the 2020 New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program will be administered by the participating partner schools. Interested applicants should submit the following materials to their school’s designated contact: resume, transcript, 2 letters of recommendation (at least one of which should be academic in nature), and a personal statement/cover letter. The personal statement should outline the candidate’s interest in the Excelsior Service Fellowship and their commitment public service (no more than 750 words).

Partner schools will forward their nominations to the Center for Recruitment and Public Service no later than March 1, 2020. Nominees will be interviewed for placement by the Center for Recruitment and Public Service, and will be notified whether they are selected as a Fellow in early April. Fellows will be notified of their assigned placements by June 2020.

If you are interested in making a difference, serving the people of New York, and helping to write the next great chapter in New York’s history apply to the New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program today!


Please circulate this information about the New York State Excelsior Service Program to students who will graduate/have graduated during the 2019-2020 academic year. It’s a terrific opportunity for a master’s or doctoral student to start a career in policy at the state level. Last year’s fellow, Sabera Azizi, a political science master’s degree student, now works in external relations at the NYS Division of Human Rights. Our 2018 fellow, Jonathan Hill, a history PhD alumnus, is currently working at the Department of Transportation, Policy & Planning Division in Albany.


New York State is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer