The Boren fellowship and scholarship provides scholars with the opportunity to conduct research, examine issues critical to the security of the United States, and engage in rigorous language training abroad. Boren’s award programs broaden the educational horizons of U.S. students and encourage scholars whose ideas and participation in Boren might enhance our understanding of U.S. national security.

To apply, students must carefully develop an overseas study plan which conforms to and reflects Boren’s broad definition of U.S. national security. Extending beyond its past borders, Boren’s definition of U.S. national security understands 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.” Keep in mind that Boren expects its scholars to study in countries and focus on languages that are compatible with America’s national security interests.

Please also consider the following:

  • Credit awarded for coursework overseas cannot be guaranteed and may not be offered.
  • The university does not have a study abroad office (View Boren's "Selecting an Eligible Study Program" for different study abroad opportunities).
  • University staff may not be able to tell students whether their applications are competitive.

Basic Requirements

  • Proposed plans must include formal study of an appropriate foreign language.
  • Participant must be a U.S. citizen at the time of application.
  • Participant must be in or applying to a degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (APUS meets this requirement).
  • Boren Fellows must be matriculated graduate students during their fellowship.
  • Boren Scholars must be matriculated in an undergraduate program while receiving scholarship funding.
  • Proposed plans must include an overseas course of study that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

Fellowship Requirements

  • Overseas studies must extend from 12 weeks to 12 months.
  • Students may engage in domestic language training using Boren funds directly before or directly after they study abroad.
  • Participants are provided a two-year window within which to find employment with an appropriate federal agency.

Scholarship Requirements

  • Participants are provided a three-year window within which to find employment with an appropriate federal agency.
  • Participants must be high school graduates or must have earned a GED.


Graduate Fellowship

  • Up to $24,000 in support of overseas study
  • A total of $30,000 combined amount for overseas and domestic study

Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Award ranges from $8,000 to $20,000
  • A maximum of $10,000 offered for a semester
  • A maximum of $20,000 for a full academic year of study

Note: Applicants whose length of proposed study is at least an academic year will receive preference. Boren defines an academic year as at least six months of in-program study.



  • Two mandatory essays
  • An in-depth budget detailing any expenses that will be incurred while in overseas and/or domestic language study
  • Three letters of recommendation, which must be submitted online
  • Online language proficiency form (optional)
  • Letter of overseas affiliation
  • Transcripts for all colleges and universities where a degree was obtained or pursued


  • A budget section outlining expenses that may be incurred while studying abroad 
  • Two essays: one to discuss the applicant’s rationale for studying abroad and one describing the preferred study abroad program

Hard Copies Required for the following:

  • At least two letters of recommendation sent in sealed envelopes, with the seal signed by the letter’s writer
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended, sealed in their original envelope (freshman students must supply high school transcripts)
  • Letter of overseas affiliation
  • Language self-assessment
  • Language proficiency form (optional)
  • A detailed outline describing the proposed study abroad program and its costs

Due Dates


  • For optional faculty review, submit all application materials by the on-campus deadline.
  • Submit the application materials to Boren by the Jan. 27, 2021 deadline.


  • All students applying for a scholarship must participate in an application review and must have all application materials submitted to [email protected] by the on-campus deadline.
  • All materials must be submitted to Boren by the Feb. 3, 2021 deadline.

Application Assistance

Boren's website offers information concerning what may potentially make a student's proposal (i.e. his or her planned course of study) more competitive when applying for the Boren fellowship and the Boren scholarship.

Boren's administrators stress the need for students to craft proposals that broadly encompass the proper criteria, build a case supporting their proposed program, and explain how it fits with the Boren mission. Additionally, applicants intending to conduct formal research abroad should have letter writers familiar with their research address their proposal’s viability.

Application Review Opportunity


  • Applicants are highly encouraged to request an interview with members of the university Boren committee.
  • To receive feedback and arrange an interview, students must furnish their application or send their request and all materials to [email protected].


  • Applications submitted by students by the campus deadline will be rated by the university Boren committee.
  • Ratings are submitted to Boren and provide Boren’s regional panelists with a clear sense of each applicant—that of which they are capable—and their potential for success in, perhaps, foreign or new learning environments.
  • To have their applications rated, students must furnish their application or send their request to [email protected] by the campus deadline.
Additional Information

Check back for a schedule of live webinars focusing on crafting competitive essays for the Boren fellowship and scholarship.

Questions that cannot be answered by Boren’s site can be sent to [email protected] or the Department of Career Services.