Boren Scholarship

Information Sessions: NISO Week Sept 18-21, 2023

Campus Deadline: January 2, 2024

Fields of Study: Open

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 Scholarship provides up to $25,000 to U.S. undergraduate students from any major to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars must study abroad for one, preferably two, semesters in order to promote long-term linguistic and cultural immersion (STEM majors may secure funding for summer programs, see below for more information).

Boren Scholarships focus on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. Applicants identify how their study abroad program, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security. National security is broadly defined to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting American well-being, but also areas such as sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness. Recipients of the scholarship agree to work in the federal government and serve national security interests for at least one year after completing their study abroad (deferred until after graduate study should one pursue that option).

The Boren Awards program also includes the Boren Fellowship for graduate students, also supported by NISO.

Boren Scholars and Fellows Receive non-competitive eligibility (NCE) for future employment. This is a special hiring authority granted by the U.S. government.

Boren Stem Initiative

The Boren Scholarship offers a special initiative for undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) majors that funds up to $8,000 for summer study abroad (minimum of 8 weeks).

All other requirements of the Boren Scholarship apply.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen at time of application
  • High school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at time of application and during study abroad
  • Applying to a 12 week or longer study abroad program (8 week minimum for STEM summer study abroad)
    • in an eligible country (list of eligible countries available here)
    • including study of a language deemed critical to U.S. national security (full list of eligibile languages here).

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 or 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 (includes study abroad verification elements)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Two 800-word essays as detailed here
  • Certified transcript(s)
  • Language self-assessment form
  • Language proficiency form (optional)

Application Procedure

All applicants MUST be reviewed and certified by their college or university. As such, Purdue applicants must work with the National and International Scholarships Office to complete the application which will then be reviewed by an internal committee. We encourage interested students to attend the information session in September as that is the kick-off to the application process.

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