Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships & Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to both undergraduate and graduate students through the African Studies Center in the form of Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. FLAS Fellowships support students who study African language and area studies courses during the academic year or who enroll in intensive African language study during the summer. Continuing support is also available for PhD students who are previous FLAS awardees and who have completed all required coursework.

The 2021 application deadline for FLAS Fellowships and for continuing financial aid (for PhD students who have completed all coursework) was Monday, February 15, 2021. Applications are no longer being accepted. The 2022 application deadline will be announced in fall 2021.

Please read through the general eligibility requirements below and the specific requirements for each award type before you begin the online application form. When you’re ready to apply, access the online application (currently closed).

Qualifying African languages for academic year FLAS awards are Akan Twi, Amharic, Arabic, Igbo, Mandinka, Swahili, Wolof, Xhosa, and Zulu. Additional languages may be supported for summer fellowships; if you are interested in studying a language that is not listed, please contact Eric Schmidt (ASC Assistant Director and FLAS Coordinator).

For questions that are not answered below, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions document. Additionally, MPH students in the School of Public Health are encouraged to consult this MPH FAQ document for further guidance.

General FLAS Eligibility Requirements

Only US citizens or permanent residents who are enrolled students (or are accepted for and intend to enroll in a degree program during the award period) are eligible for FLAS Fellowships. Strong candidates will have good academic standing and GPA as well as the goal of advanced proficiency in their language of study. Financial need is also considered. All applicants must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Boston University selected to receive your FAFSA data. Specific requirements for each award are below.

Application Materials

Before beginning your application, please obtain a current unofficial transcript, complete one essay (500 words or fewer) describing your motivations to study your target African language and how you imagine it affecting your future career aspirations, and identify two individuals who will be able to provide a total of two letters of recommendation (to be sent directly to the ASC at; one should come from your language instructor). For PhD students who have completed coursework and are applying for Continuing Financial Aid, your statement should discuss your progress toward your degree, including an anticipated date of graduation.