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Boren Awards for International Study

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

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 underrepresented 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.

About the Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships for undergraduates

Provide up to $12,500 for 12-24 weeks of study or co-op abroad, and up to $25,000 for 25-52 weeks abroad (STEM students are eligible to receive up to $8,000 for 8-11 week summer study or co-op 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.

Drexel applicants should consult with Education Abroad or co-op advisors at the Steinbright Career Development Center to identify an appropriate study or co-op abroad program that incorporates language learning 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 $12,500 for overseas study ranging from 12-24 weeks and up to $25,000 for 25-52 weeks. Fellows may also receive limited funding for supplementary, domestic summer language study 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.
  • African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity to study African languages (Akan/Twi, Wolof, Zulu, French, Swahili) and cultures through domestic (summer) and overseas programs for either fall or the academic year.
  • Southeast Asian Flagship Language Initiative (SEAFLI) offers Boren applicants the opportunity for intensive language study of Bahasa Indonesia, Thai, and Vietnamese and cultural immersion through domestic (summer) and overseas (fall) language programs.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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, Drexel students must be endorsed by Drexel University and apply through our office. We hold an open campus process each fall. Deadlines and a detailed description of the process can be found on our Fellowships Resource Page for Boren (Drexel login required).

More Information

More information about the Boren Awards, including application resources, is available on the Drexel Fellowships Resource Site

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

Related Awards:

Critical Language Scholarship Program; Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Last updated: March 2024


  • January 22, 2025 

Fields of Study:

  • Any Field

Program Type:

  • Co-op Compatible
  • Graduate Fellowship
  • Professional Opportunity
  • Public Service
  • Research
  • Study
  • Study Abroad Compatible
  • Travel

Program Length:

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

Degree Level:

  • Undergrad
  • Post UG
  • Graduate


  • Africa
  • Asia & Pacific
  • Europe
  • South America


  • US Citizen/National