UC offers students two university-wide public service fellowship programs. The President’s Public Service Law Fellowship program gives financial support to law school students and recent graduates who pursue public interest law.
The Presidential Public Service Fellowship encourages undergraduate students to participate in internships through the UC Washington Center or UC Center Sacramento. Fellows are provided $2,500 in need-based financial support to offset incidental costs associated with those internships.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who was herself a Truman Scholar, started both programs in 2016 to encourage more students to choose careers in service to the public good.
1. The President’s Public Service Law Fellowships
UC awards $4.5 million annually to promising law school students at Berkeley, Davis, UCLA and Irvine through the program, which is unique among the nation’s law schools. The funding makes post-graduate work and summer positions more accessible for students who want to pursue public service legal careers but might otherwise — out of financial need — seek private sector jobs. The fellowship program is expected to create approximately 424 summer fellowships and 58 post-graduate fellowships each year for UC law students. The program includes:
- Post-Graduate Public Service Law Fellowships: Law school graduates entering public service, receive $45,000, plus an additional $2,500 to help defray bar-related costs.
- Summer Public Service Law Fellowships: The program offers $4,500 for second year students and $4,000 for first year students pursuing summer public service law positions.
- UC Washington Center: The program will provide funding to enable UC law students to participate in the UC Washington Center — a vital UC program that gives students real-world public service experience in the nation’s capital.
- UC National Public Service Law Conference: The program will culminate each year in a national conference on public service law that rotates among the UC law schools. The conference will showcase important legal scholarship and practice and contribute to the national conversation on public interest law.
2. President’s Public Service Fellowships
Nearly 1,000 undergraduate students participate in internships through the UC Washington Center and UC Center Sacramento each year, gaining firsthand exposure to the American political process and attaining valuable work experience. For many it is also their first taste of what a career in the public arena could be like.
Most internship costs are covered through regular tuition and fees, but students often face other incidental expenses, such as travel and the cost of appropriate business attire.
The Public Service Fellowships ensure that those kinds of expenses are not a barrier to student participation in an internship in the state or nation’s capital. Fellows receive $2,500 in financial support for costs related to participating in UC Washington Center (UCDC) and UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) programs.
The UCDC and UCCS internship programs are open to all students, regardless of major. All participating students are eligible to compete for a fellowship, with UC awarding three fellowships per undergraduate campus each year.
Fellows are chosen based on financial need, along with a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement and service for the public good.
“Our goal is to catalyze student interest in public service careers,” University of California President Janet Napolitano said in announcing the fellowship program. “There are few callings that are as essential to a healthy democracy as a career in public service.”