David L. Boren Awards for International Study

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Boren Fellowship Basics

Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.

Boren Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Award Amounts

Boren Fellowships provide up to $24,000 for overseas study. In addition, Boren Fellowships can provide limited funding for domestic language study that will supplement the overseas component. The maximum award for a combined overseas and domestic program is $30,000.

Length of Study

Boren Fellowship awards are made for a minimum of 12 weeks and maximum of 24 months. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1, 2015 and no later than March 1, 2016. Overseas programs may begin no later than March 1, 2016 and can be no longer than one year.

Boren Fellowships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion.  Therefore, all overseas study must be a minimum of 12 weeks, and preference will be given to applicants proposing overseas programs of 6 months or longer. However, applicants proposing overseas programs of 3-6 months, especially those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are encouraged to apply.

National Security

The program focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It 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.

For more information about this broad definition of national security, click here.

Program Preferences

Boren Fellowships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time, and who are highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government.

As we cannot list all countries, languages, and fields that are critical to U.S. national security, we are interested in applications that fall outside the preferences, if the candidate can make a compelling case that such study can contribute significantly to U.S. national security and the goals of the program.

For more information about what makes a competitive application, click here.

Government Service

In exchange for fellowship funding, all Boren Fellows must agree to the NSEP Service Requirement.

Application Deadline

The 2015-16 application deadline is January 27, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. EST. For more information about the application process, click here.

Boren Fellowship applicants will be notified of their status by mail in late April.

2011 Fellow, Tanzania