Luce Scholars Program

The Luce Scholars Program is suspended for the AY 2021-22 application year.


The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields including arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations. 

A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications. Placements can be made in the following countries or regions: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Although placements may be made at universities, the Luce program is not for study. Rather, the “Scholar” is expected to make a professional contribution to a host organization, and learns some of the many things that Asia has to teach.


  • US citizens or U.S. permanent residents
  • seniors, graduate students, or young professionals who will not be age 30 by June 20 of the year they enter the program
  • seniors must have received their bachelor’s degree by June 20 of the year they enter the program
  • any major discipline of study except Asian Studies (students with minors or coursework Asian-language courses are eligible)
  • limited experience in Asia through travel; no more than 18 total weeks of travel since graduating high school, or have participated in a university-organized summer program, in one or more countries where Luce Scholars are placed.
  • Those who already have significant experience in Asia or Asian studies are not eligible.
  • a record of high academic achievement (minimum GPA of 3.5+ highly recommended)
  • physical health that will not restrict them from working in a foreign environment


To be successful, candidates must demonstrate an outstanding capacity for leadership, have a record of high achievement, and have mature and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. All fields will be considered.

The Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. Personal qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, creativity, humility, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement.

Candidates are not judged on the basis of whether or not they have developed specific plans for their Asian experience. A candidate may have general ideas about the kind of placement preferred, but this is not considered as either a negative or positive factor.


The Luce Scholars Program requires institutional nomination from BU.  The following materials should be submitted to Luce’s Online Portal by Thursday, October 8, 12 noon EST.

  • Luce Scholars Application Form.
    • NOTE: Students who started the paper version of the Luce Application Form can now use the Luce Online Portal to submit materials. The online portal mirrors the paper application form. Any fields from the paper version can simply be copied and pasted into their parallel online versions.
  • Resume. 2 pages max
  • Transcripts. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the institutional review.
  • Four recommendations. Two letters must be from faculty; the others may be faculty or people you know in a professional or internship capacity. Writers should upload their signed letters to the Luce online portal by the internal deadline above. Letters can be addressed to the “Luce Scholars Nomination Committee.”
    • Recommenders should keep in mind that the Luce year is experiential in nature, not academic. The letters should address the qualities highlighted in the selection criteria noted above.