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An Official Web Site of the United States Government

Become a PMF

Application Process

Application Tips

The following tips are provided to assist applicants with the application process. Additional tips may be found under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.

Please note the following:

  1. Review the PMF Applicant Handbook. The Handbook is designed to provide a general overview of the annual application process, explain eligibility requirements, required documentation, and give an overview of the assessment process. The Handbook will be updated for the following class year application when dates are announced.
  2. We recommend you use a personal email address when creating an applicant user account to apply to the program. Avoid using your .edu email address as many school servers will block any email correspondence we send you.  All communications are conducted via email and/or posted to the PMF website. Applicants can monitor their application status after submission.
  3. We strongly recommend that you prepare in advance before the application launches. We suggest you prepare your resume, advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative), and any supporting documentation for claiming veterans' preference and/or reasonable accommodations. See additional information on transcripts and resumes below. You may need to consult with your academic institution on the process for requesting your advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative). Please note, in fairness to all applicants, the PMF Program Office is not able to pre-screen applicant documents. Please follow the instructions provided.
  4. Applicants can only submit one application. After submission of an application, applicants can (1) can make edits to their personal contact information up until Finalists are announced, and (2) access their application to upload updated documents up until the application closes. Veteran applicants can access their application to upload supporting documents for their claim to veterans’ preference up to 1 week after the application closes; see more at Become a PMF\Eligibility\Veterans' Preference.
  5. There is no appeal process and we do not provide assessment scores.
  6. You are highly encouraged to apply early. The application (including the submission of required documents and completion of the online assessment) must be completed and submitted prior to the closing of the announcement (unless otherwise instructed).
  7. During the application, applicants are asked to voluntarily provide source tracking and demographic information. These optional questions ask applicants about:  (1) how they heard about the PMF Program, (2) gender, (3) ethnicity, (4) race, and (5) disability or serious health condition. Responses to these questions have no impact on your application, are optional, and completely private. Such responses help us in our marketing and outreach efforts, and the aggregate data helps us determine if our equal opportunity efforts are reaching all segments of society.
  8. Please review the Eligibility section entirely, covering subjects on citizenship, education outside of the United States, attorney positions, veterans' preference, selective service, and equal opportunity employment.
  9. When uploading documents as part of your application, please ensure your document is accessible (e.g., not password protected, does not require digital certificates), legible, contains no scripts/macros or photos of yourself, and is in English. If a document is not in English (e.g., your advanced degree transcript), you must upload that document AND upload a written statement translating it into English.
  10. Submitted documents are saved to a secure server. Please do not redact data. Uploading Adobe (.pdf) files is preferred.
  11. The instructions provided on the PMF website, in the PMF Applicant Handbook, USAJOBS announcement, and during the application are the official PMF Program instructions regarding the application and assessment process; you should not assume any third-party guidance or what you may have been told by former Applicants, Semi-Finalists, Finalists, Fellows, Alumni, Academia, etc., is up-to-date or official PMF Program guidance.


As part of a complete application, all applicants must submit a transcript (and/or alternative) covering their advanced degree. The submission must reflect the advanced degree used to qualify for the program. Applicants may also submit an undergraduate degree transcript; although this is optional, it would be in the best interest of the applicant to submit both for those selected as Finalists. Many Federal agencies will review your undergraduate degree transcript to determine experience and qualifications. Whether or not you submit an undergraduate degree transcript, it will have no impact on your application and the selection of Finalists. If selected as a Finalist, agency users will have access to view all submitted documents (except for any documents associated to reasonable accommodations).

Any submission must be legible, in English, not password protected, and not contain any scripts/macros or photos of yourself. A certified copy of a diploma is not acceptable. Any submission covering your advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative) must contain the following:

  1. Applicant's full name
  2. College/University name
  3. Advanced degree program (completed or pursuing)
  4. Advanced degree completion date (for recent graduates) or anticipated advanced degree completion date (for current graduate students)

Either transcript (for the required advanced degree or optional undergraduate degree) can be official or unofficial. If the advanced degree transcript is unavailable or missing any of the above required elements, the applicant must submit a letter (or equivalent) from the appropriate school official/department (e.g., admissions, department head, career services, etc.), on letterhead (or proof of enrollment covering the required elements), providing the information requested, and signed (electronic signature is acceptable). The document serves as an alternative to meeting the advanced degree transcript requirements if there are missing required elements. For additional information and a sample alternative letter, please see our "PMF Program Required Application Documents and Alternative Letter" posted under the Resources webpage. Submitting a combination of the transcript and the alternative showing the missing elements is preferred. The alternative should complement the transcript if covering missing elements. Applicants must submit their advanced degree transcript under the document type called "Advanced Degree Transcript (and/or Alternative)". If the alternative is a separate document, then submit the alternative under the document type called "Other," under the "Upload Documents" section of the application. If applicable, you may merge your advanced degree transcript and the alternative into a single document to upload under the document type called "Advanced Degree Transcript (and/or Alternative)". Applicants are not required to ensure a Student ID# or Social Security Number appears on these documents and may redact such references if applicable.

NOTE: The most common mistake is applicants submitting an advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative) that does not reference the degree completion date or anticipated degree completion date. Please double check to ensure this date is referenced in your advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative). Eligibility to apply to the PMF Program's annual application is based on the advanced degree (as stated above). We do not look at or factor in individual courses or grades.

If you need a mailing address for the alternative referenced above, you can use the following:  U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Presidential Management Fellows Program, 1900 E St, NW, Room 2469, Washington, DC 20415, or you can simply address it to "PMF Program Office" or "To Whom It May Concern" and upload as part of your application. NOTE: This address is provided in case your academic institution needs a mailing address; however, the document should not be mailed to the PMF Program Office. Applicants should either upload the alternative as part of their application or follow the fax instructions provided on the "Documents" screen during the application process.

Reference to "official" or "unofficial" transcript is defined by your college/university. If unofficial, the advanced degree transcript must still identify the required elements referenced above. Transcripts provided by third-party systems that some colleges and universities use may not cover all the above required elements, especially when identifying the academic institution and/or an advanced degree completion date.

Transcripts (and/or alternatives) from foreign schools must be in English and legible for consideration. Please be sure to view your submission to ensure legibility and that your submission clearly supports your eligibility to apply based on an advanced degree and the criteria referenced above.

Applicants failing to submit a valid advanced degree transcript and/or alternative showing ALL of the required elements will be disqualified from further consideration.

NOTE:  It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure their advanced degree transcript (and/or alternative) meets the requirements identified above for submission. In fairness to all applicants, do not send a copy directly to the PMF Program Office or Help Desk asking if your documents fulfill the requirements. Applicants can view the documents they submit during the application process and should ensure the submitted file can be viewed and is legible.

If selected as a Finalist, some participating Federal agencies may directly request an official transcript to ensure fulfillment of advanced degree requirements and education qualifications before being offered a PMF appointment or starting a PMF appointment.

Those Finalists still completing their advanced degree must complete the degree requirements by August 31st the following year after the application (including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation). If the graduate student applicant is selected as a Finalist and does not meet ALL advanced degree requirements by August 31st of the following year, he/she will lose their status as a Finalist and no longer eligible to accept/start a PMF appointment.

Those applicants selected as Finalists will have the ability to upload an updated advanced degree transcript; however, the original advanced degree transcript associated to their application to the PMF Program cannot be deleted or altered. Only registered agency users on the PMF TMS (Talent Management System) can view a Finalists' current transcript(s). Those Finalists who are current graduates are required to upload an updated advanced degree transcript to reflect they have completed all advanced degree requirements by August 31st.

We are unable to waive/defer the transcript and eligibility requirements. If, for example, you will not be able to successfully complete or defend a required thesis/dissertation, if required for completion of your advanced degree, by the August 31st deadline, you may be eligible to reapply to the PMF Program during the next application cycle.

Advanced degree is defined as a professional or graduate degree (e.g., Master's, Ph.D., J.D.). Applicants with a law degree (e.g., J.D.) should identify their degree as a "professional" type of advanced degree during the application process.

Finalists are also able to initially upload or update a previously uploaded undergraduate degree transcript via their applicant user account on the Apply Site of the PMF TMS. Registered Federal agency users can view this transcript on the PMF TMS.

There are no GPA (grade point average) requirements or age restrictions associated with the application.


As part of a complete application, all applicants must submit a resume. The resume can be in any format (including a version from the USAJOBS' Resume Builder) or any length (e.g., multiple pages), but must not exceed 5MB in file size for uploading. Additional information about resumes can be found on USAJOBS.

The resume should contain the following at a minimum:

  1. Applicant name
  2. Contact information (for example, mailing address or email or phone number, or combination thereof)
  3. College/University name
  4. Qualifying advanced degree program (completed or pursuing)

Applicants should not include photos on their resumes. Your resume may be altered to remove any such photos. For each employment period, include the start/end month and year, and note if your employment was full-time or part-time (if part-time, include the number of hours worked per week). It is optional to include supervisor contact information and salaries. Embedded links (e.g., for publications, etc.) may be included in your resume.

As referenced above, a resume can be in any format. General guidance on what should be included in a "Federal" resume can be found on the USAJOBS Help Center. NOTE: It is your choice on the format and style of your resume. You are NOT required to submit a "Federal" resume.

Resumes are collected during the application process to assist with confirming eligibility, matching applicant responses, and immediately providing to Federal agencies upon selection of Finalists. Resumes are not keyword searchable by agencies.

Those applicants selected as Finalists will have the ability to upload an updated resume; however, the original resume associated to their application to the PMF Program cannot be deleted or altered. Only registered agency users on the PMF TMS can view a Finalists' current resume.

Letters of Recommendation

The PMF Program does not consider letters of recommendation as part of its application and assessment process. Any sent will be discarded without review. Applicants may list any references and contacts in their resume accordingly.

Cover Letters and Writing Samples

The PMF Program does not request cover letters or writing samples as part of its application and assessment process. Any submissions will be discarded without review.  

NOTE: If selected as a Finalist, an appointing agency may request such documents in their announcement when recruiting for PMF appointments.

Do not submit any documents that are locked or password protected. If your document cannot be viewed it will not be considered and your application may be considered as incomplete. Applicants may click on any document they upload under the "Documents" section of their application to confirm before submitting their application.

Visit the next section to view information on the Assessment Process.

UPDATED: 08-08-2023