Department Scholarships

Travers Undergraduate Scholarship in Ethics and Politics

The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science invites applications for the annual Travers Scholarships in Ethics and Politics. These merit-based awards are intended to give recognition and encouragement to outstanding undergraduate students who plan to serve their country or community in an elected or non-elected government capacity sometime in the future. By integrating the study of ethics and political science, the Department of Political Science hopes to train future leaders who will be sensitive to the ethical dilemmas implicit in a public career. In keeping with a desire to integrate education in practical as well as theoretical matters, the scholarship stipend is divided between giving support during the academic year and giving support during a summer internship. Two annual scholarships will be awarded, one to a male and one to a female student.

Terms Of The Award

Students who receive a Travers Scholarship must have already taken, or commit to completing one of two courses: PS 108A, Ethics, Politics and Leadership or 124C, Ethics and Justice in International Affairs. Check with the department for availability or future offerings of these two courses. Students must also commit to pursuing a summer internship in politics or public policy by the summer before their senior year to complement their studies. Following the internship awardees are expected to write a 3 page essay reviewing their summer internship experience.


Declared Political Science majors at UC Berkeley who will, at the time they accept the award, have at least one full academic year left at UC-Berkeley are eligible to apply. Students must be declared at the time of application. The scholarships are merit-based, and not need-based, so there is no need to demonstrate financial need. All interested Political Science majors in good academic standing are encouraged to apply for these scholarships which are two of the more generous awards on campus.


$12,000 for twelve months, of which $3,000 will be paid during the summer months to support the student undertaking his or her summer internship. Students on financial aid should note that the stipend may have a significant effect on their financial aid package.

Selection Process

The Travers scholars will be chosen by a faculty committee of the Department of Political Science. Three types of information will inform the selection process:

  1. Evidence of outstanding academic performance;
  2. An essay (of no more than 800 words) that discusses the applicant's interest in and plans for public service or political life; and,
  3. For those chosen as finalists, an interview with the selection committee. Finalists studying abroad or in Washington, D.C. will be interviewed by telephone.

Application & Deadlines

The fellowship competition is announced via the Undergraduate Student Mailing List in early spring. This year's deadline is 4pm on Monday, March 19th, 2018.

The application includes an essay (see above "Selection Process" for details) and a full set of academic transcripts (for UCB and any other colleges attended. Unofficial transcripts are accepted). Please submit application materials to Prof. Robert Van Houweling's mailbox, Political Science Department, 210 Barrows Hall. The application deadline is firm. Late applications will not be accepted. Finalists will be notified and interviews scheduled shortly thereafter. Awards are announced late in the semester.

Questions? Contact Prof. Rob Van Houweling,

Travers Family Undergraduate Fellowship at the Commonwealth Club

Thanks to a generous grant from the Travers Family, the Department of Political Science and the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco are pleased to announce the Travers Program Fellowship. This Fellowship will be awarded to two qualified Political Science majors. The two successful candidates will work in one of two programs which are described below. The fellowship will be one semester in length and will be offered three times a year (fall, spring, and summer).

The Commonwealth Club (external link)is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. This is an excellent opportunity for students considering a career in non-profit or media-related work. Students will be able to interface with leading figures from politics, media, academia, and the arts.

Programming Fellowship

The Program Fellow will work with the Club's Program staff on a variety of projects including (but not limited to) background research on upcoming speakers and program topics, drafting correspondence, and organizing data collected on Programming activities. Other responsibilities will revolve around the different steps in following a proposal through to a program and in the management of the actual event. The ideal candidate should have a strong command of current events and world history. They should also be comfortable interacting with a variety of personalities, conducting cold calls for contact research and follow up, and be adept with Microsoft Office Suite. Programming Fellows are expected to participate in at least one program each week (most often in the evening). This internship is based at San Francisco office of The Commonwealth Club, with occasional travel to other locations in connection with programs.

INFORUM Fellowship

INFORUM is a division of the Commonwealth Club programming by and for people in their 20s and 30s with a mission to inspire debate around civic issues. The INFORUM Fellow will work in much of the same capacity as the Programming Fellow, researching speakers, drafting correspondence, and managing data but with an expanded role in the marketing and public relations of our programs. INFORUM operates on a more grassroots level model and relies on every team member for a significant contribution to our programs and department. The fellows have the opportunity to lead more individual projects and to manage the degree of their accomplishments and workload. Candidates should have very strong writing skills and a lot of personal initiative. While every fellow is welcome to attend and participate in the INFORUM programs, they are not required to do so as part of the fellowship.

Hours and Duration of Internships

Depending on the program, the hours and duration of the internships may vary somewhat. In general, the fall and spring semester interns will work 12-15 hours per week for 16 weeks (Sept-Dec or Jan-May). The summer interns will work 20-30 hours per week for 8-12 weeks (June-August). Interns must be available to work 1-2 evenings per week until 7:30pm.


  • Excellent reading and writing skills
  • Eye for detail and strong proofreading skills
  • Good Internet research and word processing skills
  • Interest in the non-profit sector


  • Hourly compensation and travel reimbursement
  • Exposure to regional, national, international issues and leaders
  • Unparalleled networking opportunities and job development skills
  • Opportunity to attend unlimited Club events gratis
  • A fun and engaging work environment
  • One-year membership in The Commonwealth Club, following completion of the Fellowship
  • One or more informal gatherings with the Club's senior staff and/or Board Members to discuss current public policy issues, career opportunities and issues related to non-profit organizations.


Travers Fellows will receive financial remuneration of $12.00 per hour, plus travel expenses.


Students must be legal U.S. residents who have completed at least one full semester at UC Berkeley and be currently declared Political Science majors. Applicants must be registered at UC Berkeley during the semester of the fellowship (or the following semester for the summer fellowships). Current or former fellows cannot reapply for either position.


A complete application consists of the following:

  1. A cover letter addressed to the Travers Fellowship Program at the Commonwealth Club. Include your name, SID#, telephone number(s), and email address. Please be sure to indicate desired semester (fall, spring, or summer), the days and times you will be available (see Selection Process below) and which internship you are applying for: Programming or INFORUM.
  2. A resume.
  3. A brief essay that discusses your interest in and plans for public service or political life. This essay should not exceed one page, or approximately 400 words. Longer essays will not be read.
  4. A complete UC Berkeley academic transcript (unofficial, Bear Facts transcripts are acceptable). Transfer students need not submit transcripts from previous schools attended; only the UC Berkeley transcript is required.


Complete applications should be delivered to the Political Science Undergraduate Advising Office, 296 Barrows by 11am on the following dates:

  • For Spring Fellowships: 11am on Wednesday, November 29th, 2017.
  • For Summer Fellowships: TBA.
  • For Fall Fellowships: TBA.

Selection Process

Applications for the fellowship will be forwarded by the department to the Commonwealth Club for final selection. Three types of information will inform the selection process and determine which applicants will be contacted for an interview :

  1. Evidence of outstanding academic performance;
  2. The strength of the essay;
  3. Availability: Students who can devote a significant block of time in a day will be at a significant advantage in the application process. Please include in your cover letter which days and times you can be at the Commonwealth Club (e.g., "Mondays 9-12, Tuesdays 3-7 and Fridays 1-5pm"). If your availability changes later on due to class scheduling changes, please e-mail as soon as possible.