Boren STEM Initiative

Information Session: NISO Week 9/17-9/21

Campus Deadline: January 10, 2019

Fields of Study: STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

Funding for: Study abroad to countries with languages critical to U.S. national security

Begin Application: Freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year

Program Website:


The Boren Scholarships offer a special initiative for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors. The scholarships fund up to $8,000 for summer study (minimum of eight weeks) to non-Western regions, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. STEM majors may also apply for semester and year-long study abroad programs. All students applying for Boren Scholarships are expected to have a significant language component as part of their proposed study abroad program. Although many STEM students choose study abroad programs that offer courses in STEM fields, such coursework is not required.

Boren Scholarships 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. The 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 challenges such as sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. Recipients of the scholarship agree to seek work in the federal government and serve national security interests for at least one year after completing their study abroad.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • High school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Enrolled in a degree program at time of application and during study abroad
  • Applying to a summer study abroad program in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand lasting at least 8 weeks

Candidate Profile

  • Commitment to national security (broadly defined) and a desire to work in government service in an area pertaining to national security after graduation
  • Academic background and preparation commensurate with future career goals (e.g., independent projects, other study abroad experience, language learning, internships, volunteer experience, etc.)
  • Study abroad program that prioritizes language learning and immersion
  • Clear connections among one's chosen study abroad program, desire to pursue language learning, and future goals in relation to national security
  • Cultural knowledge and adaptability, flexibility, and maturity

Application Components

  • Online application
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Two essays as detailed here
  • Certified transcript (or transcripts)
  • Language self-assessment form
  • Language proficiency form (optional)
  • One of the following:
    • One-page study abroad program description with cost information.
    • If you set up a direct enrollment or individually arranged a study abroad program, please provide two letters of support. The first letter should be from your home institution and the second letter should be from your overseas host institution.

Application Procedure

All applicants MUST be reviewed and certified by their college or university. As such, Purdue applicants are reviewed by an internal committee.

Detailed campus application information is provided directly to applicants once they declare their intention to apply.

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

2014 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by NISO Office

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact NISO at