Boren Graduate Fellowship

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Campus Deadline: January 15, 2016
National Deadline: January 28, 2016
Official Website and Application


The Boren Fellowship is the graduate portion of the Boren Awards for International Study, (which includes a Undergraduate Scholarship—see separate listing). It was established by the National Security Education Act of 1991 in honor of Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma to increase the number of students in languages, fields of study and world regions critical to U.S. security. The Boren graduate fellowships, administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE), are designed to encourage graduate studentsto pursue specialization in area and language study or to add an important international dimension to their education that may be deemed critical to U.S. national security. (There is Stanford campus process for this award.)

The Award

Boren Fellowships provide up to $24,000 for a maximum of 24 months. Because the Boren promotes long-term linguistic and cultural immersion, preference is given to application for programs of 6 months or longer. However, an exception to this preference will be shown to students in STEM fields who are encouraged to apply for 3-6 month programs.

Areas given preference by the Boren for language and regional study are Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. Preference is also shown to applicants studying in certain fields critical to U.S. national security (e.g. Business, Computer Science. Foreign Languages, Law, IR, History, Science and Engineering, Mathematics, Political Science and Policy Studies, Social Sciences.)


To be eligible to apply for Boren Graduate International Fellowship, an individual must be:

  • U.S. citizen and willing to enter into a service agreement (if awarded a fellowship)
  • Matriculated in a graduate degree program at an accredited institution of higher education, or a student currently enrolled, either part-time or full-time, in a degree program who is in the process of applying to a graduate program.

Campus Application

Fellowship applicants design their own programs and may combine domestic language and cultural study with study overseas. Boren strongly encourages substantive overseas study in every case.

All fellowships must include study of a language (and corresponding area and culture) other than English. Areas of study may be comparative (within or across regions), but must have a common language core.

For the Campus Deadline you will submit the following materials to the ORC (3 hard copies of the following):

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) (hard copies) (for all universities where a degree was obtained or pursued)
  3. Two essays (see Boren website for prompts)
  4. Program budget
  5. Letter of Overseas Affiliation (if possible)
  6. Language self-assessment form
  7. Three academic letters of recommendation (to be submitted online.)
  8. Language proficiency evaluation form (optional) (to be submitted online.)

As a condition of receiving a Boren graduate fellowship, all fellowship recipients must agree to "enter into a Service Agreement to work in a national security position or work in the field of higher education in the area of study for which the fellowship was awarded." The duration of the service agreement will be equal to the time period for which Boren NSEP support was provided, with no less than one year.

Fellowships will not be awarded for study of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.

Factors In Selection

  • Demonstrated academic excellence
  • A comprehensive, clear, concise, and feasible proposal for study
  • A plan to develop or reinforce language competence
  • Leadership potential; community involvement
  • Evidence of ability to adapt to a different cultural environment
  • Integration of proposed program into academic and long-range goals

Boren will give some preference to applications which include:

  • Important global economic, political, and social issues affecting U.S. national security
  • Languages that are less frequently studied in the U.S.
  • Fields of study other than those that are most commonly the focus of international education.

In the proposal, applicants must address the issue of the significance and critical importance of their selected area or country, language, and culture to their academic field of study, professional development, and the nation's global security.

Other special opportunities for Boren Fellows

African Languages Initiative (AFLI)

The AFLI offers the opportunity for applicants to enhance their Boren Fellowship with additional African language study in the United States and overseas. Although domestic funding is not available as part of the Boren Fellowship, supplemental funding is available for students participating in the AFLI initiative at the University of Florida, Gainsville during the summer.

It is for instruction in the following languages: Akan/Twi,French, Portuguese, Swahili, Wolof,, Zulu .

For more information visit

South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative (SAFLI)

The SAFLI offers Boren Fellowship applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Hindi and Urdu and cultural immersion by participating in domestic and overseas language programs. The summer domestic program takes place at the University of Wisconsin and will be followed by the official SAFLI fall program in India.  The SAFLI program is appropriate for applicants with no language proficiency as well as those with intermediate and advanced proficiency in Hindi and/or Urdu.

For more information visit


Applicant Resources

Boren Award Webinars

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