Overview of the John S. McCain Strategic Defense Fellowship Program

Designed to cultivate the next generation of strategic defense leaders, the McCain Fellowship Program brings together exceptional individuals who possess a deep passion for national security and a commitment to public service. Program graduates have continued their careers in the department following their fellowship year.

The one-year fellowship is a full-time, paid appointment with benefits at a Department of Defense organization. This prestigious program offers a foundational experience for graduate students to jump start their public service careers whether it’s in the Department of Defense or elsewhere. During their tenure, selected fellows will receive professional development opportunities, mentorship with senior leaders, and more.

In partnership with participating DoD organizations, the McCain Fellowship Program hires Fellows annually in the early fall. The Department believes that fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration is vital to tackling the complex challenges facing our world today and is calling for graduate students with advanced degrees (e.g., Masters or above) from any field to apply.

The application process begins in the early spring and is posted on USAJOBs where additional information about specific positions will be available. The eligibility criteria and application requirements can be found under the Become a McCain Fellow section.

Information Sessions for Graduate Students

Throughout the academic year, the McCain Fellowship Program hosts a series of information sessions via various platforms to engage with current students and recent graduate across educational institutions nationwide. The program office will post additional information with the dates of information session in the early Fall throughout the Spring.

During these information sessions, students and recent graduates will gain valuable insights into the program’s structure, unique benefits, and a taste of the Fellowship experience. The McCain Fellowship Program team will walk prospective applicants through the application process, eligibility criteria, selection timeline, and field questions about the program overall.

Academia interested in hosting information sessions with the John S. McCain Strategic Defense Fellowship program are encouraged to contact our team.