Boren Awards


Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide up to $24,000 for U.S. undergraduate and 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 Scholarships (undergraduate) and Fellowships (graduate) 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.

Boren awards support semester long, 6-12 month, or summer-only study programs abroad.  Boren-funded programs can begin no earlier than June 1. Summer-only programs must be eight (8) weeks or more and are limited to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)  students (but the summer programs of study do not have to be STEM-focused).


In exchange for scholarship funding, all Boren recipients must agree to the NSEP Service Requirement.


  • A U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • Applying for a study abroad program that meets BU standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United States
  • A current undergraduate or graduate student at BU. Boren Scholars/Fellows must remain matriculated in their degree programs for the duration of the award period and may not graduate until the Boren experience is complete.


  • Preference for countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security. Visit their preferred countries of study for more information.
  • Preference is also given to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time. If you cannot study abroad for 6+ months, can you make a compelling case for shorter study abroad?
  • Students highly motivated by the opportunity to work in the federal government are favored
  • Review all details on the selection process and criteria: Scholarship; Fellowship.


You can review all application components for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships here. Among the components, the application requires two essays and two letters of recommendation.

To apply for Boren and the required institutional review at BU, submit your complete Boren application through the Boren-Embark application portal by January 10.