Scholarship and fellowship opportunities


John A. Knauss Marine (and Great Lakes) Policy Fellowship

The UW Sea Grant Institute is accepting applications from graduate students statewide for the National Sea Grant College Program’s 2021 John A. Knauss Marine (and Great Lakes) Policy Fellowship Program.

The program, established in 1979, provides a unique educational experience to applicants who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources. The program matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid internship.

Placement opportunities are numerous and very diverse and have typically included offices within Congress, the Executive Office of the President, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Transportation, and Energy, in addition to others.

Applicants from a variety of backgrounds including natural and social sciences, law, engineering, and communications can be competitive for this fellowship.

Complete information on the fellowship – including eligibility (must be enrolled in a graduate program as of the application close date), application instructions, examples of past fellow placements, stipend and benefits, and more – are available here. Fellowships begin February 1, 2021.

Applications are due to the Wisconsin Sea Grant program by February 21, 2020. Applications should be sent to Jennifer Hauxwell, Room 272, Goodnight Hall, 1975 Willow Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1177 or emailed to It is strongly recommended that applicants set up a meeting with the Wisconsin Sea Grant director James Hurley (via one to two months in advance of the application deadline.

Click here to download a flier to post in your institutions to help notify potential applicants.


Great Lakes Commission-Sea Grant Fellowship

This one-year fellowship is based at the Great Lakes Commission offices in Ann Arbor, Mich. Eligible applicants include students who, at the time of application, are in a graduate or professional degree program. Find further details on the commission website.

J. Philip Keillor Wisconsin Coastal Management Sea Grant Fellowship

Click here to learn more about the J. Philip Keillor fellowship opportunity

Wisconsin Sea Grant and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program fund this science-policy fellowship for candidates interested in tackling science and policy challenges related to increasing the resilience of coastal communities across the Great Lakes region.

The fellowship is named in honor of longtime Sea Grant coastal engineering expert Phil Keillor, who passed away in 2009, to celebrate his legacy in building resilience in Wisconsin communities. This fellowship provides a unique educational and career opportunity for a recent graduate who is interested both in aquatic resources and in the policy decisions affecting those resources in Wisconsin. It places a recent master’s or doctoral graduate within a state agency full-time for one year, with the Fellow bringing technical skills to benefit water issues and challenges and receiving valuable real-world science-policy experience from the resource professionals who serve as mentors.

This mutually beneficial partnership helps advance science to support policy decisions, and it provides valuable training opportunities for new professionals entering the work force.

National Marine Fisheries Service-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship

The NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program in Population and Ecosystem Dynamics and Marine Resource Economics is designed to help Sea Grant fulfill its broad educational responsibilities and to strengthen the collaboration between Sea Grant and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

Since 1999, Sea Grant and NMFS have partnered to train students through this joint fellowship program in two specialized areas: population and ecosystem dynamics as well as marine resource economics. Population and ecosystem dynamics involve the study of fish populations and marine ecosystems to better assess fishery stock conditions and dynamics. 

The goals of the NOAA Fisheries/Sea Grant Fellowship Program are: 

  • To encourage qualified applicants to pursue careers in either population and ecosystem dynamics and stock assessment or in marine resource economics 
  • To increase available expertise related to these fields 
  • To foster closer relationships between academic scientists and NOAA Fisheries 
  • To provide real-world experience to graduate students and accelerate their career development.

Learn more on the NOAA website.

NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship

The Coastal Management Fellowship was established in 1996 to provide on-the-job education and training opportunities in coastal resource management and policy for postgraduate students and to provide project assistance to state coastal zone management programs. The program matches postgraduate students with state coastal zone programs to work on projects proposed by the state and selected by the fellowship sponsor, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management. This two-year opportunity offers a competitive salary, medical benefits, and travel and relocation expense reimbursement. 

The NOAA Office for Coastal Management is recruiting candidates for the 2020 Coastal Management and Digital Coast Fellowship Program.  Eligibility requirements, descriptions of the projects, and guidance on how to apply can be found at and on the attached pdf.  Application packages must be submitted to the Sea Grant office in the state where you received your degree by Friday, January 17, 2020.  Wisconsin applicants should send application materials and any questions to Jennifer Hauxwell at

Learn more on the NOAA Office for Coastal Management website.


Research Assistantships

Researchers who are funded through a competitive grants process often support graduate students as part of their projects. Students do not apply directly for these awards. To find Wisconsin researchers who are current funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant, visit our most recent Directory of Projects and People in our publications store.

More than 650 graduate students have received this type of support.


Carl J. Weston Memorial Scholarship

Established in 1995, the Carl J. Weston Memorial Scholarship fund provides support for deserving undergraduate students working on Wisconsin Sea Grant-supported projects. Funding source: Dr. and Mrs. Carl B. Weston.

Undergraduate students who are conducting research, under the guidance of a principal investigator (PI) on a Sea Grant-supported project, are eligible to apply to this scholarship. Scholarship recipients will be awarded $750. The scholarship application must include:

• A copy of the student’s academic record (transcripts)
• A personal statement from the student explaining their career goals and how the research that they are conducting contributes to their personal and academic growth, and future career goals
• A letter of support from the PI

The section will be updated when the Weston Scholarship is offered again. View a list of past scholarship winners.

Conference Travel Fund for Sea Grant-Supported Graduate Students

Periodically, Wisconsin Sea Grant offers funds to support conference travel for graduate students who are affiliated with Sea Grant projects. This section will be updated when this type of funding is again available.

Tips on Applying for Fellowships

Our three-part podcast series offers useful advice on applying for fellowships. Save time and worry by listening before you apply for a fellowship. Listen to the “On Fellowship” podcasts.

Curious to learn about the fellowship experiences of past fellows? Wisconsin Sea Grant hosts webinar series especially for graduate students in water-related fields. These webinars are geared towards helping graduate students apply for and learn about fellowships, learn to become more impactful aquatic researchers, and to optimize their graduate experiences to prepare them for the next steps along their career paths. Read more for details and links to recordings!