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. Please review the budget guidelines for more information.

Length of Study

Boren Fellowships are made for a minimum of 12 weeks overseas and a maximum of one year overseas. Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1, 2016 and no later than March 1, 2017. 

Boren Fellowships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion.  Therefore, 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.

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, please visit, what makes a competitive Boren Fellowship application.

Government Service

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

Application Deadline

The Boren Fellowship national application deadline is January 31, 2017. Please see your campus representative for your earlier on-campus deadline. For more information on the application process, please visit, how to apply.

Boren Fellowship applicants will be notified of their status in mid-late April.

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