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California State Assembly Fellowship Program

The Assembly Fellowship Experience

Fellow Kensley Davis with Assembly Member Shirley WeberFellow Kensley Davis with Assembly Member Shirley Weber

The Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellowship Program, founded in 1957, is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious fellowship programs. The program offers aspiring public servants of all ages, backgrounds and experiences the unique opportunity to directly participate in the legislative process and help shape public policy. Assembly fellows serve as fulltime legislative staff in the office of an Assembly Member working in a dynamic legislative environment.

The Assembly Fellowship seeks highly motivated individuals who are passionate about the state of California, public policy and politics. Fellowship alumni have gone on to positions of leadership in both the public and private sectors, including federal, state, and local elected office. The program successfully provides fellows with the professional development, support and mentorship needed to continue legislative work post-fellowship while also developing transferrable skills that can be applied to other career or academic pursuits.

Fellow Jennifer LopezJennifer Lopez
2015-16 Assembly Fellow

“To say that this fellowship is life-changing, isn’t saying enough. My placement was phenomenal and I’ve learned more about policy and politics than I ever did in a textbook. As fellows, we’re placed in a high-intensity environment with a steep learning curve. It’s challenging, never boring, and I’ve met great people along the way.”

The Nature of Fellowship Work

The 11 month fellowship begins in October with a six-week intensive orientation. Fellows learn the legislative process and current policy issues from senior legislative staff and other key decision makers. The California Assembly’s 80 Member offices offer fellows a wide range of placement options. Once placed with an office, fellows are immersed as part of the legislative team mentored by senior staff. Fellows perform the duties of a legislative aide, including:

  • Advising the Member on policy issues including researching and analyzing policy, making vote recommendations, and facilitating bills through the legislative process
  • Preparing speeches and press releases
  • Representing the Member at meetings and events
  • Working with constituents, lobbyists and other groups

Academic Seminar

Assembly fellows attend weekly seminars and receive six graduate units from the Political Science Department at California State University, Sacramento. Academic seminar exposes fellows to the theoretical aspects of political science with an emphasis on the experiential and practical issues they encounter in their placement offices.  Fellows also receive the Capital Fellows Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government upon successful completion of the seminar and office placement assignment.

Video: A Day in the Life of an Assembly Fellow

Program Stipend and Benefits

  • Monthly stipend of $2,964 and health, dental and vision benefits
  • Paid university enrollment and student fees for units in the Political Science department
  • Graduate Certificate in Applied Policy and Government
  • Student loan deferment

How to Apply

Applicants must submit the following by the February deadline:

  • Completed online application at
  • College transcript(s)
  • Personal statement and policy statement
  • Three current, original letters of recommendation

Program Eligibility

All applicants must:

  • Be at least 20 years of age by September 1st of the fellowship year.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree by September 1st of the fellowship year and either a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher or a GPA of 2.5 or higher in the last 60 (semester) or 90 (quarter) units.
  • Demonstrated interest in state government and public policy.
  • Be authorized to work in the United States for the duration of the fellowship program.


Early October ..........................2021-2022 application opens*
Early February ....................... Applications due*
Late April ................................ Sacramento interviews
Early May ................................ Los Angeles interviews
Mid to Late May...................... Candidates notified
Mid October ............................ Fellowship  begins
Early September ......................Fellowship ends
* Check back for updated dates

Assembly Fellowship, Class of 20202019-20 Assembly Fellows

For more information

Please Contact:
Pam Chueh | Program Director
Assembly Fellowship Program

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