Graduate Program


A Critical Need, A Call to Service

“In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity” exemplifies the ethos that is Princeton University and the mission of the School of Public and International Affairs. It is a call to public service and a mandate to provide the tools and the academic environment to fulfill that call.

There is a critical need within the U.S. government for the most talented, dedicated young people to step forward to help tackle the increasingly complex challenges, domestic and international, that will face our nation.

The public servant of tomorrow must possess leadership abilities, a deep understanding of effective and creative policymaking, exceptional writing and analytical skills, as well as specific knowledge in such fields as economic policy, area studies and foreign languages, health, education and social policy, and science and technology policy, among others.

The SINSI Graduate Program

Established in 2006, the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI) is designed to encourage, support, and prepare the nation’s top students to pursue careers in the U.S. government in international and domestic agencies. This highly competitive scholarship program provides exceptional students both the academic training and the practical work experience in federal service needed to succeed in public policy careers. Princeton University seniors from all disciplines and MPA1 students are encouraged to apply to the SINSI Graduate Program.


MPA1 2021 Scholars

The SINSI Graduate Program consists of two parts: a two-year MPA program with a full scholarship for tuition and living expenses at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and a two-year SINSI fellowship with an executive branch department or agency usually placed between the first and second year of the MPA program. During the fellowship, students will receive a stipend based on the government salary table of Grade 7, Step 1 in their first year and Step 2 in their second year. The fellowship provides scholars with the core competencies gained during the first year of the MPA program that enhance their competitiveness for placements and the ability to successfully manage professional-level government work. The experience gained during the fellowship informs their MPA2 studies.

The MPA program provides the majority of students with a generous scholarship for tuition and living expenses. More information about MPA financial aid can be found here.

SINSI fellows may participate in language training and tutoring, normally between the end of the fellowship and the MPA2. Reimbursement of associated costs may be available through a SPIA-sponsored program. Questions about program terms and eligibility should be directed to Cara Carpenito at [email protected].

SINSI has relationships with a number of key departments and agencies within the federal government. SINSI works with these agencies to secure meaningful, professional-level placements that suit the scholars’ academic backgrounds and career goals as well as the needs of the government. To date, SINSI has successfully placed graduate fellows and/or interns with the following entities:

  • Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Transportation, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education
  • Intelligence Community
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • U.S. Special Operations Command
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation
  • Council of Economic Advisers
  • Office of Management and Budget
  • Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
  • White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Department of the Army
  • Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • U.S. Forest Service 
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. International Development Finance Corporation
  • U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Peace Corps
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission