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Boren Awards for International Study

The Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), fund undergraduate and graduate US citizens to study less commonly taught languages in world regions that are critical to U.S. strategic security interests and under-represented in study abroad.

The Boren Awards promote long term cultural and linguistic immersion in countries in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

University endorsement required. See "How to Apply" below for more details. 

About the Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships for undergraduates

Provide up to $10,000/semester for study abroad and up to $20,000 for a full academic year abroad. Awards are granted with preference for long-term study abroad, and less-common countries, languages, and fields of study critical to U.S. interests.

Applicants should consult with Drexel Study Abroad or International Co-op advisors and/or language instructors to an appropriate study or co-op abroad program that incorporates opportunities to learn a language in a context that best meets your language needs and goals - and - meets Boren's program requirements.

Boren Fellowships for graduate students

Provide up to $24,000 for overseas study ranging from 12 weeks to one year. Fellows may also receive limited funding for supplementary, domestic language study during the summer prior to going abroad, for a maximum $30,000 combined award. Awards granted with preference for countries, languages, duration, and fields of study critical to U.S. national security.

Boren Fellowship applicants must include a serious language component in their proposed plan of study. Applicants can focus entirely on linguistic and cultural immersion, or combine it with additional academic coursework, research, and/or an academic internship.

Boren Special Initiatives

  • ROTC Initiative (undergraduates only): special initiative for ROTC cadets and midshipmen.  ROTC participants are strong candidates because of their commitment to national security and government service. ROTC applicants must fulfill the same requirements as other Boren applicants and be in an inactive, non-drilling status during their Boren-funded overseas study.
  • STEM Initiative (undergraduates only) provides up to $8000 for 8+ week summer programs for students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. More information.
  • African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity to study African languages (Akan/Twi, Wolof, Zulu, French, Portuguese, Swahili) and cultures through domestic (summer) and overseas programs for either fall or the academic year. More information.
  • Indonesian Flagship Language Initiative (IFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Indonesian and cultural immersion through domestic (summer) and overseas (fall) language programs. More information.
  • South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative (SAFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Hindi and Urdu and cultural immersion by participating in domestic (summer) and overseas (fall) language programs. More information.
  • Turkish Flagship Language Initiative (TURFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Turkish and cultural immersion by participating in domestic (summer) and overseas (fall) language programs. More information.

Who Should Apply

Boren applicants should be highly motivated individuals with an interest in serving strategic US interests, including global challenges such as defense, sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen at the time of application,
  • Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program or applying to a graduate degree program in the US - and - remain enrolled for the duration of the award, i.e. you may not graduate until the scholarship or fellowship is complete.

Candidates are evaluated on the basis of Boren scholarship and fellowship program preferences, including countries, languages, and field(s) of study; length of time abroad; and commitment to work in the federal government.

The strongest candidates will have a strong academic record and the potential to succeed in their proposed study abroad or project experience, a commitment to international education to fulfill academic and career goals, and language interest and aptitude.

How to Apply

To apply for this award, you must be endorsed by Drexel University and apply through the Drexel Center for Scholar Development. We hold an open campus process and interviews beginning each fall.

Boren Information Sessions and Advising

Students are encouraged to attend an info session and review the Boren official website to learn more about the Boren Awards.

Planning to apply? Request an individual appointment to discuss your next steps with a fellowships advisor.

Required Campus Deadline: December 2, 2019

You must complete a Boren application by the campus deadline to be considered for Drexel endorsement. Evaluation and endorsement will be based on applicant interviews with Drexel Campus Committees in mid-December.

National Deadlines: January 29 (graduate fellows)/February 5 (undergraduate scholars)

Applicants must submit all revised application materials and letters of recommendation electronically by this deadline.

More Information

For official information on the Boren Awards (which supersedes any information on this page) and access to the online application, please visit the Boren website.

Related Awards:
Critical Language Scholarship; Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Last updated: September 2019


Fields of Study:

  • Arts and Creative Fields
  • Business and Law
  • Education
  • Health
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Social Sciences and Humanities


  • Africa
  • Asia & Pacific
  • Europe
  • South America

Program Type:

  • Research
  • Service
  • Study
  • Travel


  • US Citizen

Program Length:

  • Short term (less than one year)
  • One year


  • January 

    campus deadline
    Contact DFO for more information

Degree Level:

  • Undergrad
  • Post UG
  • Graduate


  • Varies by program length and costs. Up to $20,000 for Boren Scholars; up to $24,000 for Boren Fellows ($30,000 max with domestic language study).