William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship

William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security Fellowship

Embark on a Career Path to Become a Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent in the U.S. Foreign Service

Through the William D. Clarke, Sr. Diplomatic Security (Clarke DS) Fellowship, you will embark on a career path that will take you around the world, providing protection to U.S. personnel, facilities, and information, while supporting diplomacy.

Funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Clarke DS Fellowship is a two-year graduate fellowship program designed for individuals who want to pursue a master’s degree and a career as a Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Special Agent in the Foreign Service. DSS Special Agents are sworn federal law enforcement officers.

A high-profile State Department diversity recruitment program, the Clarke DS Fellowship aims to attract qualified candidates to the Diplomatic Security Service who represent ethnic, racial, gender, social, and geographic diversity. Women, members of minority groups underrepresented in the Foreign Service, and those with financial need, are encouraged to apply.


To be eligible to apply for the 2024 cohort, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be at least 19 years old and no older than 32 years old (except for preference-eligible veterans).
  • Be seeking admission to a two-year full-time master’s degree program at a U.S.-based accredited institution.
  • Be on a timeline to graduate with master’s degree in spring 2026 while enrolled full-time for fall and spring semesters (starting fall 2024).
  • Hold a minimum 3.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale at the time of application and maintain this GPA throughout the program.
  • Be fit for physical exertion and able to pass the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) if selected as a finalist for the fellowship.
  • Have a valid driver’s license if selected as a finalist for the fellowship.

In addition, as a selected fellow, you will need to:

  • Meet a minimum qualification standard, including supplemental physical qualification standards specific to DSS Special Agents, receive and maintain a Top Secret security clearance, and meet suitability requirements.
  • Maintain physical fitness standards to ensure you can pass the final PRT prior to onboarding as a DSS Special Agent.
  • Agree to a three-year commitment with the Foreign Service as a DSS Special Agent upon successful completion of the program and the State Department’s requirements.
  • Fulfill the two summer practicum obligations (the first one in the summer after selection, the second one in the summer after your first year of graduate school).
  • Maintain your status as a full-time student (fall and spring semesters) in your approved degree program.
  • Maintain a minimum 3.2 GPA and stay on the two-year timeline to graduate with your degree.
  • Be prepared to enter the Foreign Service as a DSS Special Agent immediately after successful completion of the fellowship program and Foreign Service entry requirements.

Once appointed, DSS Special Agents:

  • Are required to successfully pass a rigorous training program, including firearms training.
  • Are required to carry a firearm and use it if necessary.
  • Are required to take and pass specialized driving training.  

Program Benefits

As a Clarke DS Fellow, you will receive:

  • Up to $24,000 annually for tuition for a two-year, full-time master’s degree program.
  • Up to $18,000 annually during the two years of graduate study for room and board, books/laboratory fees, and other academic expenses, and travel between your residence and graduate school.
  • Two summer practicums (with stipends, housing, and travel allowances): one at a U.S. Department of State office in Washington, D.C., and one overseas at a U. S. embassy or consulate. 
  • Personalized mentoring and professional development opportunities throughout the program.
  • An appointment as a Foreign Service DSS Special Agent upon successful completion of the fellowship program and Foreign Service entry requirements.

Dates and Deadlines

Applications for the Clarke DS Fellowship 2024 cohort are being accepted July 18 – October 1, 2023, at 11:59 pm (EDT). Apply on the Clarke DS Fellowship website.

How to Apply

Please visit the Clarke DS Fellowship website to access the application portal. On the website, you will also find more information about the fellowship program, required application documents, the Department of State's clearance processes, the Physical Readiness Test, and more.  


About Foreign Service Diplomatic Security Service Special Agents

As a Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), you are a sworn federal law enforcement officer and specially trained Foreign Service security professional. This career is about more than providing protection — it is also a way to contribute to changing the world.

While serving overseas as a Regional Security Officer, a Special Agent advises the U.S. Ambassador on all security matters and manages a complex range of security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information. DSS Special Agents protect the U.S. Secretary of State and visiting foreign dignitaries, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations.