Boren Scholarship for International Study

About the Boren Awards
Basic Eligibility & Selection Criteria
Application Components
Campus Evaluation and Feedback Process
Application Timeline
Applicant Resources
USC Recipients
AHF Advising

About the Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships provide funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholarships require rigorous language study and the majority of awardees spend a full academic year overseas.  Applicants must be matriculated in a U.S. college or university upon application and throughout the Boren Scholarship.  In exchange for funding, Boren Scholarship recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Boren Scholarship recipients can receive the following award amounts:

  • $8,000 for a summer program (special initiative for STEM students only; 8 weeks abroad minimum)
  • $10,000 for a semester
  • $20,000 for 6-12 months

Learn more about the Boren Scholarship

Basic Eligibility

Applicants must be:

  • a U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • a high school graduate, or have earned a GED
  • matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Boren Scholars must remain matriculated in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.
  • applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.  Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.

Learn more about eligibility

Selection Criteria

Current matriculated USC undergraduate students who demonstrate the following traits are invited to participate in the Boren campus evaluation process. Successful applicants must demonstrate the following traits:

  • Commitment to working in the federal government. Scholarship recipients must fulfill a one-year service requirement after graduation. Preference is given to applicants who demonstrate a longer term commitment to government service.
  • Focus on national security, broadly defined. Applicant offers clear and compelling explanation of the relevance of his or her country, language, field of study, and overseas study to U.S. national security.
  • Commitment to language study. Applicant demonstrates a serious commitment to language study, before, during, and after his or her overseas study, with realistic expectations for the proficiency level that can be obtained abroad.
  • Length of study abroad program. Preference is granted to students who will study abroad for longer periods of time.If applicant cannot study abroad for at least 6 months, they must provide a compelling case for shorter study abroad period.
  • Appropriate academic preparation, cultural adaptability, flexibility and maturity. 

Learn more about selection criteria

Application Components

You can start your application directly through the Boren Scholarship website, and register your application through University of Southern California (more instructions under Application Timeline). The application includes the following components:

  • Biographical and Educational Information
  • Study Abroad Program Boren does not choose a program for you nor do they recommend or suggest programs. Choosing the right study abroad program is a matter to be decided in consultation with your study abroad office, academic advisors, Boren Campus Representative, as well as other trusted sources.
  • Program Budget Learn more about budget guidelines
  • Essays
    • National Security Description: Explain the significance of your proposed country, region, and language to U.S. national security. Describe how the country, language, and overseas program you selected will help you achieve your career goals, including your plans to fulfill the federal service requirement.
    • Study Abroad Program Description: Describe the study abroad program’s course of study and related cultural activities. Describe the language component, including the number of classroom contact hours and informal language study opportunities outside of the classroom. Describe your past experience in studying or speaking the language (or another language if relevant), as well as your plans for continuing to study and/or speak the language following your Boren Scholarship
  • Letters of Recommendation (2) 
  • Language Proficiency Evaluation
  • Language Self-Assessment 

Learn more about application components

Campus Evaluation and Feedback Process

The campus evaluation and feedback process is required to apply for Boren through USC and is meant to enhance the overall application.  The campus committee evaluation and feedback meeting serves two purposes:

  1. It is a chance for faculty from relevant fields to provide advice for the applicant to incorporate into the application;
  2. The committee’s role is not to weed anyone out, but rather, identify ways to improve and fine-tune the overall application.

Application Timeline

  • August 2019: Boren Scholarship Application Opens
    • Create an account for your Boren Scholarship application and select USC as your current institution in the Eligibility and Basic Information section.  Save your application so you are registered through USC. You will not need to submit your online application until the final campus deadline.
  • November 2019: Preferred Campus Deadline
    • Email the following materials to Katie Capra at in one PDF document. You will be contacted to arrange a one-on-one advisement appointment where feedback on your materials will be provided. Materials include: Current ResumeEssay #1 (National Security), Essay #2 (Study Abroad Description), Study abroad program description (this can be copied from the program’s website), and names of your 2-3 Recommenders & Language Evaluator (if applicable).
  • January 2, 2020: Final Campus Deadline
    • Submit a Boren Scholarship application online and select USC as your current institution in the Eligibility and Basic Information section.(The application will come into USC’s management and will not be sent to Boren yet.) Your online application should include all components.
  • Mid-January 2020: Campus Evaluation and Feedback Meetings
    • Applicants will meet with a faculty committee to receive feedback on their application materials. After the campus evaluation, applicants will have time to edit the application based on the committee’s feedback.
  • Early February 2020: Boren Scholarship national deadline
  • Mid-Late April 2020: Boren Scholars announced

Applicant Resources


AHF Advising

Open Advising: Mid-September – Mid-November
Request an Appointment

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