Boren and National Security

National Security Broadly Defined

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships focus on geographic areas languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. The Boren Awards employ 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.

National Security and the Boren Application Essay

The application essay requires that all applicants address national security. The broad definition of national security means that applicants studying a variety of fields can relate their international and language study interests to U.S. national security. Applicants should not feel compelled to concentrate arguments in an area outside their interests but must instead articulate their interpretations of national security, making a compelling case about the significance of the proposed country, region, and language. While the Boren Awards does recognize a broad definition of national security, successful applicants will make a specific, detailed, and focused argument related to their own interpretations.

National Security Interpretations 

The interpretations below are only examples. Each successful Boren applicant will have an argument unique to him or herself.

National Security Interpretation

National Security Interest

Previous National Security Topic Examples

Security Studies or Diplomacy

Students studying international affairs, history, or political science could discuss the bilateral relationship between the United States and the country in which they propose to study.

- U.S.-Turkey Bilateral Relationship

- USA-China Comparative Law

- Youth Inclusion in Civil Society and the Political Process

International Trade

Applicants studying business or economics might make the case that the United States is more secure with stable trading partners.

- Global Implications of the Illegal Wildlife Trade

- The Decentralization of Fisheries in Cambodia

- China-Origin Trade-Based Money Laundering: Trends and Solutions

Sustainable Development or Global Disease

Students focusing on these issues could argue that regional stability is threatened by global poverty, environmental degradation or disease, and that U.S. security is enhanced by combating these concerns.

- Impacts of Land Use Change on Global Climate in Indonesia

- HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment Programs in East Africa

- Environmental Disaster and Colonial Policy

- The Political Consequences of Natural Resource Wealth

Additional Resources

For additional information on how to incorporate national security into your application please visit What Makes a Competitive Boren Scholarship Application or What Makes a Competitive Boren Fellowship Application. Also sign up for our fall and winter webinars and take a look at our Boren Alumni profile page.


learn more