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An Official Web Site of the United States Government
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Become a PMF


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NOTE: The information below explains the eligibility criteria in general. Please click on the class year application webpage to the left for more specific information.

If you will meet all advanced degree requirements (even though you have not necessarily graduated), including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation, you may be eligible to apply.

Eligibility is based on completion of advanced degree requirements by August 31st of the following year of the annual application.

- OR -

If you have completed 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, you are eligible to apply.

For example, for the PMF Class of 2021 application, if you obtained your advanced degree between September 30, 2018 and September 30, 2020, you were be eligible to apply. If you expect to complete all advanced degree requirements, including the completion or successful defense of any required thesis or dissertation, by August 31, 2021 (next year), then you would be eligible to apply.

Advanced Degree means a professional or graduate degree (e.g., master's, Ph.D., J.D.). Eligibility to apply to the PMF Program for selection of Finalists is based on an advanced degree, not by the type or discipline of the advanced degree. There is no age restriction for applying.

NOTE: Individuals who previously applied to the program, but were not selected as a Finalist, may reapply if they meet eligibility requirements; you will need to create a new applicant user account. Current Finalists who have not obtained a PMF appointment may apply for the next PMF application; however, they will forfeit their status as a current Finalist upon initiating an application and initiating the on-line assessment. There is no exception in the PMF Program regulations for the 2-year eligibility rule for advanced degrees.

A qualifying college or university is an academic institution that meets the requirements as stated in the "General Policies and Instructions" section of OPM's "Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions", under the "Educational and Training Provisions or Requirements" section. This section is available on OPM's website at Generally, the institution must be accredited or must have acquired "pre-accreditation" or "candidate for accreditation status" by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Those applicants who apply based on a recent or current advanced degree from a foreign academic institution (outside of the United States) and are selected as Finalists will be required to utilize a credential evaluation service to determine if their degree and foreign institution are equivalent to U.S. standards. Go to the Education Completed Outside of the United States to learn more.

Applicants who are in the process of completing their advanced degree are strongly encouraged to determine whether or not they will complete all degree requirements by the August 31st deadline. There is no regulatory provision to allow the PMF Program Office to waive or defer a Finalists' appointment eligibility if he/she does not complete degree requirements. Completing advanced degree requirements includes the successful completion/defense of any required thesis/dissertation, which includes any deadlines or findings of the school's review.

If you have completed or will complete multiple advanced degrees, choose the one that meets the eligibility requirements referenced above. Applicants are able to identify multiple degrees when applying.

Veterans unable to apply within two years of receiving their degree, due to military service obligation, have as much as six years after degree completion to apply via the Recent Graduates Program (which is separate than the PMF Program). General information about the Recent Graduates Program can be found at

You may link to information on Citizenship, Education Outside U.S., AttorneysVeterans' Preference, Selective ServiceIndian Preference, and Equal Employment Opportunity to the left. 

UPDATED: 01-04-2021