The Boren Awards

The Boren Awards (Scholarships for undergraduates and Fellowships for graduate students) provide up to $25,000 to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. For a complete list of countries, click here

Boren Scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds, but all are interested in intensive study of less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Swahili. For a complete list of languages, click here

Boren Awards are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Applicants should identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, broadly defined.  NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. 

Boren Awards promote long-term linguistic and cultural immersion, and therefore study abroad proposals for two or more semesters are strongly encouraged. Boren applicants are committed to public service, working in positions critical to U.S. national security throughout the Federal Government, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and USAID.

Institutional Nomination

The Boren awards recommend institutional nomination. Interested undergraduate and graduate student candidates are encouraged to meet with Fellowships Advising before the end of the fall semester. 

Suggested Draft Deadline

Submit a draft of Essay 1 before the end of the fall semester. Undergraduate candidates should also attend Foundations of Study Abroad (offered through Education Abroad) and meet with an Education Abroad advisor before the end of the fall semester. 

Campus Deadline

January 20 annually 

National Deadlines

Early to mid-February for Boren Scholarships (undergraduates); Late January for Boren Fellowships (graduate students). Check Boren website for exact dates.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens by the application due date. Applicants may not be citizens of the countries where they are applying to study. 

  • Applicants must be planning to study a foreign language as a core and ongoing element of their time abroad. 

  • Recipients of the Boren Scholarships or Fellowships must be matriculated -- that is actively enrolled -- in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an institution accredited in the United States for the entire time that they are receiving the award. Applicants may apply for the Boren Fellowships while also applying for graduate school, but they must be enrolled by the time they start their Boren-funded programs. 

  • Boren Scholarships are available to undergraduates pursuing bachelor's or associate's degrees at any U.S. college or university.

  • Graduate students pursuing master's, doctoral, or professional degrees are eligible for Boren Fellowships.

Furthermore, the Boren Awards give preference to geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Preference is given to applicants proposing at least 25 weeks overseas (summer combined with fall, fall and spring, or spring combined with summer), and who are planning a career in federal service. Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.  

Campus Application Instructions and Checklist

Submit the following application components by January 20.


Campus Contact

Barbara Gorka

Director, Scholar Development and Fellowships Advising

Phone: 215-204-0708