OWP Fellowship Opportunities

Program Summary

The Office of Water Programs (OWP) is pleased to offer a Graduate Research Fellowship for students currently pursuing master's degrees at California State University, Sacramento. This Fellowship provides an opportunity for one or two students each semester to fulfill their master's project/thesis requirement by completing a research-based project in collaboration with OWP. Fellows will have the opportunity to work alongside faculty and research staff, and will be reimbursed for part-time tuition (up to 6 units) plus a one-time continuation fee (if needed) upon successful completion of the project.


This fellowship program is open to all master's students currently enrolled at California State University, Sacramento, regardless of major or department. Applicants must have advanced to candidacy and be ready to complete their master's project. Part-time student interns at OWP may apply; full-time OWP employees are not eligible.


Fellows will complete a research-based project in collaboration with OWP research staff. The project scope should be such that it can be completed (up to the rough draft of the report) in approximately 150 hours over the course of 1 semester for a 3-unit class (300 hours for a 6-unit class).

Students may propose to work on an OWP project (see attached list of project statements) or may propose a project of their own. All projects must be consistent with OWP’s mission of providing cost-effective solutions for protecting and enhancing water resources, public health, and the environment through training, scientific research, and public education. All projects, whether developed by OWP or proposed by the applicant, must be approved by the applicant's academic advisor in order to receive academic credit.

Application Process

The selection process includes evaluation of written applications and interviews with selected candidates.

Applications for the Spring 2024 fellowship are due by March 1, 2024.

Master's students interested in participating in the Office of Water Programs Graduate Research Fellowship Program should submit a 2-part application as described below.

Part 1

  • Introduction: List your name, contact information, and student ID. Describe your current field of study, anticipated graduation date, and career aspirations (limited to 1 page).
  • Project Description: Select a problem statement from the attached list of OWP projects, or propose one of your own. You may select/propose up to three projects. For each OWP project you wish to be considered for, provide a Personal Qualifications Statement (see below); this should not exceed 1 page in length for each project. (Do not reproduce the problem statement.) For non-OWP projects you wish to propose, provide a description of the project plus the Personal Qualifications Statement. Combined, the Project Description and Personal Qualifications Statement should not exceed 2 pages for each project.
  • Personal Qualifications Statement | Answer the following questions:
    • What prior work, academic, or other experiences qualify you to complete this project?
    • Why are you interested in working on this particular project?
    • Why do you feel you'll be successful in completing this project?

Part 2

  • Resume: Include a 1-page resume.
  • Letter of Support: For non-OWP projects, provide a signed statement from your faculty advisor indicating their support for the project and willingness to act as the first reader (or thesis committee chair).

Application Formatting Requirements:

  • PDF format
  • Standard 8.5" x 11" page size
  • 12-point, Times New Roman or Calibri Body font
  • 10-point font may be used for references, footnotes, figure captions, and text within figures
  • 1" margins on all sides
  • Single-spaced (approximately 5 lines per inch) or greater line spacing. Do not use line spacing options that are smaller than single-spaced, such as exactly 12 point.


Candidates should send their completed applications in PDF format to John Heltzel via email at john.heltzel@owp.csus.edu by the due date for each semester.

Application Review and Interviews

OWP will evaluate the applications and choose candidates to be invited for interviews. Candidates selected for interviews will be contacted approximately 1 week after the application deadline. Interviews will take place at OWP approximately 2 weeks after the application deadline.

Award Information

Interview performance and quality of application will determine which applicants will be offered fellowships. Candidates awarded fellowships will be contacted approximately 3 weeks after interviews are conducted. OWP expects to offer one fellowship for each semester of the school year. However, OWP may grant more than one fellowship depending on availability of funds and availability of research staff to provide mentorship. If no promising candidates are identified, no fellowships will be awarded.

Upon completion of the project, fellowship awardees will be asked to make a presentation to OWP staff. In addition to tuition reimbursement, fellowship awardees will receive a certificate of recognition as well as an honorable mention on the OWP website.