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Bradford Fellowship Program Overview

Founded in 1996 by the family of Governor Robert Bradford, the Bradford Fellowship is one of the Commonwealth’s most esteemed programs for leaders in public service. Awarded Fellows in the mid-career Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government engage with world renowned faculty and an international student cohort.

Table of Contents

Application and Program Timelines

The next Commonwealth Bradford Fellows will be engaged in their Kennedy School of Government MPA program from September 2024 - May 2025. The Fellowship includes a requisite summer program in July/August 2024 before the start of the academic year.  Completion of the summer program is required as a condition of acceptance into the program.

In addition to full tuition and fees for the academic year, Fellowship recipients will receive their full salary while attending the MPA program, including the summer program. Fellowship recipients are personally responsible for the cost of books/supplies, typically, approximately $2,500 for the academic period.


December 1, 2023, 12:00 pm EST

Harvard Kennedy School Admission application due. (Must be complete, no deadline extensions will be granted.)

February 15, 2024, 3:00 pm EST

The Commonwealth's Bradford Fellowship application due((Must be complete, no deadline extensions will be granted. Incomplete applications or those submitted past deadline will result in disqualification.)

March 6, 2024 Bradford Fellowship virtual interviews: Candidates who have been selected, in consultation with the Harvard Kennedy School to proceed to the next round of the application process, must also interview with a selection panel. Candidates must interview at their given time in order to be considered. Candidates will be notified if they are selected to be interviewed,and will be informed of their interview date and time.

March 2024

Applicants notified of Harvard Kennedy School’s admission decisions.

March 2024 Candidates notified of Bradford Fellowship Program decisions. 

Employee Eligibility & Exclusions

Eligibility & Exclusions

In order to be eligible to receive the Bradford Fellowship, a Commonwealth manager must;

  • Be employees in good standing;
  • Have graduated from an undergraduate institution;
  • Be accepted for admission by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, for its Mid-Career MPA Program;
  • Upon application, occupy a full time employee position, be paid from the AA subsidiary, have at least 7 years of full-time service with the Commonwealth, be in an active status, classified as management at levels MV - MXII within the Executive Department, or be a member of the Massachusetts State Police Department classified as a Lieutenant or above;
  • Possess at least seven years of professional and public service work experience in federal, state, municipal or county government, including time spent as a consultant or volunteer for a public and/or private non-profit organization; or as a manager in a private non-profit organization;
  • Be recommended by leadership, the appointing authority, and supervisor in their current organization;
  • Possess a strong commitment to continued public service upon completion of the program;
  • Communicate, collaborate and work with their organization, to determine a mutually agreed upon return-to-work strategy and plan with leadership, upon the completion of their degree;
  • Be willing to sign an agreement to serve in Massachusetts State Government at the Commonwealth in the same or higher level management grade for a minimum of two years following graduation, or, to repay the salary received while attending the program if they default on this agreement. This repayment provision will not apply if the individual is not offered a position at the same or higher-level management grade;
  • Not have applied for the Bradford Fellowship more than three (3) times.
  • Have completed their 2023 - 24 Statewide Training requirements in MassAchieve, and any related requirements in MassPerform. 

Please Note:

  • Applicants who hold a graduate degree must specifically address what an MPA would offer them that their current graduate degree does not, in reaching their management career goals in public service.


The following categories of Commonwealth of Massachusetts employees are not eligible to participate in the Bradford Fellowship program:

  • Contract employees
  • Employees classified as below level MV
  • Employees in non-management (bargaining unit) positions
  • Employees classified below Lieutenant
  • Employees in positions classified at level MV who occupy a qualifying position in an "acting" capacity
  • Employees appointed directly by the Governor; whose salary, by statutory requirement, is set by the Governor
  • Employees of the Office of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, Attorney General and State Treasurer
  • Employees of public institutions of Higher Education
  • Employees of the Legislative and Judicial branches
  • Employees of Massachusetts public authorities or other quasi-public agencies
  • Employees of county government organizations
  • Employees of Commonwealth Independent agencies, or commissions 

How to Apply

Bradford Fellowship Program Application Requirements and Process

Application to the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government mid-career MPA program is required to apply for the Bradford Fellowship. The Harvard Kennedy School catalogues and admission application materials are available at: Master's Programs Admissions booklet (harvard.edu)

Step 1 - Apply for the Harvard Kennedy School MPA Program

Submit your online application to the Harvard Kennedy School's Admissions Office. Completed applications for admission must be submitted online directly to the Admissions Office at the Harvard Kennedy School by December 1, 2023, at 12 p.m. EST. Please be sure mark the HKS application as "Bradford Applicant” in the "sponsorship" section.

Please note that your admission application will not be sent or forwarded to HRD or the Commonwealth. There is a separate, additional application process you will need to take to apply for the Bradford Fellowship.

Step 2 - Apply for the Commonwealth Bradford Fellowship

The Bradford Fellowship Online Application must be submitted online in final, completed form, including all required leadership and management approvals by 3:00 p.m. EST on February 15, 2024, through the Human Resources Division's online application portal.

Note: in order to be considered for the Bradford Fellowship, applicants first must have applied for admission to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Mid-Career MPA Program.

Next Steps

In addition to completing the Bradford Fellowship Program online application, all applicants must ensure the complete submission of all required supervisor recommendation and leadership approvals by 3:00 p.m. EST, February 15, 2024.

  • In the online application, you'll input the names and emails of your supervisor and the appropriate agency leadership (agency HR Director and Agency Head, for example).
    • The Human Resources Division's application portal will send an email to your listed supervisor with a link to your recommendation form.
    • The Human Resources Division's application portal will also send an approval email request to your agency leadership. 

Please note: supervisor recommendations and leadership approvals can take some time to complete and receive back, make sure to give yourself and others ample time in advance. We suggest that you complete the recommendation and approval information in our online portal as soon as possible. You can submit the form for the approvals ahead of time, and an email will be sent to you with a link to get back into your application to complete it.

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