The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Boren Undergraduate Scholarship and Graduate Fellowship

Apply through Reed Fellowships and Awards Committee

Liaison: Shania Siron

» Scholarship's official website
» List of previous winners
» Boren internal application instructions
» Recommenders: Information about Writing Letters


Undergraduate Boren Scholarship

The Undergraduate Boren Scholarship program is an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP). The Boren awards funding to American undergraduate students for self-designed or pre-desigend intensive study programs of world languages and regions critical to U.S. foreign policy interests, including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American & the Caribbean, and the Middle East (the countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.) Undergraduates may be funded for one semester to one academic year of study. Additionally, an eight-week summer option exists specifically for students of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. As part of the Boren application process, students must identify the study abroad program to which they plan to apply and use their Boren funding; the Boren program is not, itself, a study abroad program.

Maximum Undergraduate Scholarship awards are $8,000 for 8-11 weeks (during a summer program for STEM majors only), $12,500 for 12 - 24 weeks or one semester, and $25,000 for 25-52 weeks over or full academic year.

Graduate Boren Fellowship

The Graduate Boren Fellowship program is also an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP). This award funds graduate students the opportunity to pursue language study as well as to propose supplemental elements to their program, such as an unpaid academic internship, enrolled or audited courses, or research related to the student's graduate thesis or dissertation.

Maximum Graduate Fellowship awards are $12,500 for 12-24 weeks; $25,000 for 25-53 weeks.

Boren Fellows have the option to apply for up to $12,000 for domestic summer intensive language courses. If requested, the maximum total combined domestic and overseas award amount is $30,000.

In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars and Fellows commit to working in the federal service for at least one year after graduation. The Boren service requirement stipulates that award recipients work in the federal government in positions with national security responsibilities; the duration of the service requirement is equal to the duration of assistance provided under the program, but in no case less than one year. 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.


To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Undergraduate Scholarship

For the Undergraduate Scholarship, students may be in any year of undergraduate study, but must remain enrolled at their undergraduate institution throughout the duration of their Boren studies. This means that seniors can only apply if they can complete their Boren studies before graduation (while still matriculated at Reed) or can defer their graduation until after program completion.

Graduate Fellows

For the Graduate Fellows, students may be matriculated in or applying to a graduate degree program located within the United States and accredited by a body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Boren Fellows must be matriculated in a graduate degree program by the start date of their fellowship and may not graduate until the fellowship is complete. Eligible graduate degree programs include master’s (MA, MS, MBA, LLM and others), juris doctor (JD), or doctoral (PhD, MD and others) programs. Non-degree certificate programs are not eligible by themselves.

Applicants must plan on studying in an eligible country.

Selection Criteria

Award recipients are selected on the basis of merit. Review panels will consider the following questions.

  1. Does the applicant meet the following Boren preferences:  a) Commitment to Government Service; b) Country; c) Language; d) Fields of Study; e) Duration - Long term [over 6 months] overseas study? If not, does the applicant make a compelling case that such study can contribute to U.S. national security? If the applicant cannot study abroad for at least 6 months, does he or she make a compelling case for shorter study abroad?
  2. Does the applicant provide a clear and compelling explanation of the relevance of his or her country, language, field of study, and overseas study to U.S. national security, broadly defined?
  3. Does the applicant demonstrate a serious commitment to language study, before, during, and after his or her overseas study? Does the applicant have realistic expectations for the proficiency level that can be obtained abroad, and is the applicant in the right overseas program to support these expectations?
  4. Does the applicant possess the appropriate academic preparation, cultural adaptability, flexibility, and maturity required to succeed abroad? Consider a proven or steadily improving academic record, on or off campus evidence of cultural adaptability and maturity, and other factors that warrant comment.

Application Procedure

These awards require an institutional endorsement and there is an internal application process. You can consult with the International Programs department at Reed about appropriate study abroad options.