2021 Directorate Fellows Program, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Various locations

Job Title: 2021 Directorate Fellows Program

Organization: US Fish and Wildlife Service – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) mission is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The agency’s ~9,000 employees work in all 50 states and U.S. territories in partnership with others to achieve this mission.

The USFWS has set an application priority deadline of 12/16/2020 – interested applicants should apply ASAP.

The Directorate Fellows Program (DFP) is a Direct Hire Authority Program that includes an 11-week Fellowship project for current students at the rising senior undergraduate or graduate school level.  Upon successful completion of the Fellowship program, along with degree conferral, participants may be directly appointed without competition to full time, permanent positions.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service goal is to promote and maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce that thrives in an environment accessible to all and free of employment discrimination. DFP provides an opportunity for interested students from all diverse backgrounds, including women, minorities, and other underrepresented populations to gain valuable experience leading to a career in conservation.

Program Details:

● 11-week paid summer position
● 1-week orientation at the FWS National Conservation Training Center
● Direct Hire Authority eligible after completing program requirements
● Many locations nationally
● Travel funding provided
● Housing may be available
● 100+ fellowship opportunities nationwide


● Current students: Undergraduate rising senior or senior; enrolled or current graduate students with a graduation date later than September 22, 2021 (or after 11 week fellowship)
● GPA: 3.0 or higher
● U.S. Citizen or permanent resident, age 17 or older
● Available for 12 weeks during the summer (1-week orientation plus 11-week fellowship)
● Must be able to pass a criminal background check
● Males born after December 31, 1959, and are at least 18 years of age, must register with the Selective Service System, unless they meet certain exemptions

Application Information:

● The application deadline is January 15th, 2021. See more information here.
● Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and the application period may close before the deadline if a sufficient number of applications are received. Applicants are highly encouraged to apply early to ensure consideration.
● Applicants may apply to as many projects as they are qualified for and interested in. Selected applicants work on a specific project, strategically designed to support the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s priorities.

Previous DFP projects included: species conservation planning, field surveys and species monitoring, landscape scale conservation partnerships, environmental law and policy, education and outreach, community engagement, digital communications, and many others that support the agency’s mission.

Most projects are a good fit for students with majors in biological sciences and natural resources. There may be a limited number of projects available for students with majors in education/outreach, social sciences/humanities, geographic and information sciences, information technology, law enforcement/criminal justice, and communications/marketing. Competition for these limited non-biological related projects may be high.

DFP was established in 2014 with over 380 participants to date. Among these participants, over 150 Fellows were hired permanently with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.