Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program

Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program

The PMF Class of 2020 application is open as of Thursday, October 3rd  and the application deadline is Thursday, October 17th at 12pm EST.

More information about the Class of 2020 Application can be found here.

The PMF Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order and has gone through many changes over the years. The Program attracts and selects the best candidates possible, but is really designed with a more narrow focus – developing a group of potential government leaders. It encourages development of leadership capabilities through training and rotational opportunities. The PMF Program creates a lasting bond as well as a spirit of public service, ultimately encouraging and leading to a career in the government.

The PMF Program is a paid program. While in the program you will receive full salary and benefits just like any other Federal employee. In addition, you may be eligible for repayment of your student loans or other recruitment incentives depending on the agency.

The Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Each year, candidates apply for the prestigious title of PMF Finalists. Selected Finalists are eligible for appointment as Fellows. Master’s and doctoral students of all disciplines are encouraged to apply for this unique and competitive opportunity to work with the federal government. In recent years, PMF semi-finalists included graduate students from the following University of Pennsylvania schools: LPS, GSAS, GSE, Penn Law, PennDesign, SEAS, SOM, SP2, Wharton. The very first step in successfully becoming a PMF is paying attention to the details of the annual application and assessment process. For detailed eligibility requirements, check out the Eligibility webpage. Once the application period opens, it will appear on USAJOBS ( by searching for “Presidential Management Fellows”. Review the Application Process to learn about all the steps to apply.

Eligibility is based on either:

1)  completion of advanced degree requirements by August 31st of the following year of the annual application;


2)  completion of an advanced degree from a qualifying college or university during the previous two years from the opening date of the PMF Program’s annual application announcement.

Additional eligibility requirements are listed on the PMF website. To apply, visit the PMF website. Applicants should review the Become A PMF and FAQs sections of the website for general information, including additional information on the Application Process and Assessment Process. There will also be a detailed description of the new assessment and application process for 2020 in the PMF Assessment Process section of their website, which will be posted shortly before and during the application and assessment cycle. This will be an important section to read.

Specific to 2020

The following occupations have been identified by agencies has having a particular need:

  • Accounting/Finance
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering (all disciplines)
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Health/Medical Science
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Public Administration & Public Policy
  • Public Health
  • Telecommunications

In addition, the Federal Government has a demand for Cybersecurity.

Graduate students can view the 2020 PMF application announcement here The 2020 PMF application closes on October 17th and we highly encourage graduate students to apply early.

More information:

You will give the best you have to give to a cause greater than yourself. You will bring fresh, new ideas and a willingness to take on challenges never dreamed possible. Your zeal for the position will serve to spark new energy and excitement in your co-workers. As part of the PMF, you will portray your elite status through the quality of your work and service to your country. You will need to demonstrate leadership, foster teamwork, set goals and, in the end, deliver something of value to the American people. In addition to salary and benefits, the PMF Program gives you a lot in return for your hard work. Your two-year appointment will provide a fast-paced opportunity to gain experience and develop your talents. You will be challenged with opportunities to flourish into a problem solver, strategic thinker and future leader. In addition to working at a single Federal agency, you may have the option to participate in a rotational opportunity at another agency. These rotational opportunities will challenge you even further and give you insight into how other areas of government operate.

While serving as a PMF, you will receive:

  • 160 hours of formal interactive training (on leadership, management, policy and other topics)
  • Challenging work assignments
  • Feedback on your work
  • At least one 4 to 6 month developmental assignment
  • Potential for promotions and career ladders
  • Upon certification of completion, which permits immediate noncompetitive conversion to a permanent or term position and carries prestige anywhere you go thereafter

As a PMF, you can take your experience anywhere you want to go with your career. Many PMFs have continued their Federal service; many others have gone to the private sector, academia and the non-profit world. The PMF Program is an excellent leadership training ground.


By Marianne Lipa
Marianne Lipa Career Advisor, Graduate Students & Postdocs Marianne Lipa