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.
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 email@example.com; 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.
Undergraduate Academic Year FLAS
Undergraduate Academic Year FLAS Fellowships are available to students who will be studying at the intermediate (2nd year) level or higher of an African language during the fellowship period. Thus, students who have not yet begun study of the target language are not eligible, but should apply during their first year of study to be funded for their second year.
Recipients are required to enroll in one African language course and one African area studies course each semester of the award period. The undergraduate fellowship is equal to a $10,000 tuition scholarship and a $5,000 living stipend for the award year. Students must apply for the FLAS Fellowship annually, even if they have been a previous awardee.
Graduate Academic Year FLAS & Continuing Student Financial Aid
Graduate Academic Year FLAS Fellowships
Graduate Academic Year FLAS Fellowships are available to students who are engaged in pre-dissertation level study, preparation for dissertation research, dissertation research abroad, or dissertation writing at BU. Students who will be studying at the intermediate (2nd year) level or higher of an African language during the fellowship period are strongly preferred.
Recipients are required to enroll in one African language course and one African area studies course each semester of the award period, unless they are completing dissertation research abroad, in which case they are expected to clearly be engaging in the target language through their research.
Graduate FLAS awardees receive $15,000 stipends along with an $18,000 tuition scholarship from the African Studies Center. For graduate students in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GRS), including the Pardee School, GRS additionally supplements the FLAS award, making it a full tuition scholarship. PhD students in GRS also receive an additional living stipend for the academic year and two months of the following summer term, and the awardee’s eligibility for funding after admission is extended from five to six years. These benefits do not extend to graduate students in other schools at BU. Students must apply for the FLAS Fellowship annually, even if they have been a previous awardee.
Continuing Graduate Student Funding
The African Studies Center has a limited amount of funding available for continuing graduate students who are previous FLAS awardees. Continuing graduate students who have previously been funded with FLAS Fellowships and who have completed their coursework should select “Continuing Graduate Student Financial Aid Application” in the application form (linked below), not “Academic Year Graduate FLAS” (which is for first-time applicants or graduate students who are continuing coursework during the award period). This funding is not a FLAS award and does not require enrollment in language or area studies courses.
Continuing graduate student financial aid awards require 12 hours of service weekly per semester of the award period. For PhD students who have completed all of their departmental requirements, one semester’s funding may be used for overseas travel and research with approval of the African Studies Center Financial Aid Committee. Approval will depend upon an assessment of the applicant’s demonstrated attempt to acquire outside funding for research purposes and the committee’s assessment of applicant’s dissertation proposal. Please explain desired travel and research plans in the application.
Summer FLAS fellowships are available for undergraduate and graduate students to study African languages through domestic or overseas intensive language programs.
The same eligibility requirements exist as for the academic year FLAS, including that all students must study an African language at the intermediate (2nd year) level or higher. Exceptions may be made for graduate students applying for beginning level summer FLAS in a less commonly taught language if they have achieved advanced proficiency in another African language and there is a demonstrated need for the student to learn the second language for their overall training and expertise. At the beginning or intermediate level, intensive language programs must last at least six weeks and offer a minimum of 140 contact hours; at the advanced level, intensive programs must last at least six weeks and offer a minimum of 120 contact hours of instruction.
Proposals for international programs will be contingent on travel permissions available during the Covid-19 pandemic. Remote, online-only intensive language programs were approved in summer 2020, but no final announcement has yet been made about approval for such programs in summer 2021. However, we anticipate that if current travel restrictions remain in effect, online intensive programs will be approved again in summer 2021. A helpful list of summer 2021 African language programs has been developed by the Department of African Cultural Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The Summer FLAS covers up to $5000 in tuition and provides a $2500 stipend for living expenses. For students studying overseas, the African Studies Center may be able to fund travel costs up to $1000; this is contingent on availability of funds after initial awards are made and is not guaranteed.