Boren Scholarship and Fellowship

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships provide support to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study languages and cultures in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests. 
All applicants must be:

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • Planning an overseas program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  Boren Fellowships are not for study in the United States.

Boren Scholarship applicants must be:

  • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
  • Matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Boren Scholars must remain matriculated in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.

Boren Fellowship applicants must be:

  • Either matriculated in or applying to a graduate degree program at a U.S. college or university located within the United States and accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Boren Fellows must remain matriculated in their graduate programs for the duration of the fellowship and may not graduate until the fellowship is complete.

Boren Selection Criteria

Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit. Review panels will consider the following questions.

  • In exchange for scholarship and fellowship funding, Boren Award recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation. Preference will be given to applicants who demonstrate a longer term commitment to government service. Does the applicant describe how he or she might fulfill the service requirement, and does the applicant demonstrate a longer term commitment to the federal government?
  • Does the applicant meet the following Boren preferences? If not, does the applicant make a compelling case that such study can contribute to U.S. national security and his or her future government career? If the applicant cannot study abroad for at least 6 months, does he or she make a compelling case for shorter study abroad?
  • Does the applicant provide a clear and compelling explanation of the relevance of his or her country, language, field of study, and overseas study to U.S. national security?  The Boren Awards recognize a broad definition of national security, but the applicant should make a specific, detailed, and focused argument  
  • Does the applicant demonstrate a serious commitment to language study, before, during, and after his or her overseas study? Does the applicant have realistic expectations for the proficiency level that can be obtained abroad, and is the applicant in the right overseas program to support these expectations?
  • Does the applicant have a comprehensive, clear, and feasible study plan?
  • Does the applicant possess the appropriate academic preparation, cultural adaptability, flexibility, and maturity required to succeed abroad? Consider a proven or steadily improving academic record, on or off campus evidence of cultural adaptability and maturity, and other factors that warrant comment.

These qualities will be evaluated by IIE-organized regional review panels and the national nominating panel. The panels consist of faculty members and administrators representing diverse fields of study from colleges and universities from across the United States. The regional panels will make initial recommendations, and the national nominating panel will designate scholarship finalists to the National Security Education Program Office. 

Selection panels will also seek wide geographic and diverse institutional representation among candidates, as well as ethnic and gender diversity and distribution among academic disciplines related to national security interests.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships - Field
See application information
Boren Scholarships and Fellowships - Year of Application
Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships - Application Deadlines
For campus and national deadlines, click here.

Official Website 
CMU Contacts

  • Maureen Harke, Ph.D. - Associate Director, National Scholarship Program, (989) 774-3902,
  • Nicole Sparling-Barco, Ph.D., - Director of University Honors and the National Scholarship Program, (989) 774-3902,