About Luce Scholars
Basic Eligibility & Selection Criteria
Campus Endorsement Process
Application Components
Application Timeline
Applicant Resources
USC Recipients
AHF Advising


University Endorsement Required

About Luce Scholars

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. Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually every field other than Asian studies. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Scholars each year. 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.

Learn more about the Luce Scholarship

Basic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • be graduating seniors, recent graduates and young professionals under the age of 30. By June 20 of the year they enter the program, candidates must have received at least a bachelor’s degree and will not have reached their 30th birthday.
  • have limited exposure to Asia, i.e. those who have not majored in Asian studies and who have spent less than an accumulated total of 18 weeks in one or more Luce Scholars placement countries in Asia since graduating from high school. Candidates may have taken Asian language or Asia-focused courses (without majoring in Asian Studies).

Selection Criteria

USC seniors or alumni who demonstrate the following traits are invited to apply for campus endorsement:

  • Record of high academic achievement.
  • Outstanding leadership ability, broadly defined by the following characteristics: initiative, creativity, the respect of one’s peers, maturity, strength of character, self-confidence tempered by self-awareness, a sense of responsibility, sensitivity, a positive personality.
  • Clearly defined interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. All fields will be considered.
  • Personal qualities such as resilience, flexibility, adaptability, humility, maturity, creativity, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement. The Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature.

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

Learn more about eligibility and selection criteria

Campus Endorsement Process

Campus endorsement is a competitive process and not guaranteed. Students seeking USC nomination must submit all application components by the campus endorsement deadline. Luce Scholar candidates are nominated by their university and cannot submit directly to the foundation. USC may nominate up to three Luce Scholar candidates per application cycle.

Start Your Application

Application Components

You must receive campus endorsement from the university before you can start the Luce Scholarship application. The application includes the following components:

  • Background Information
  • List of professional experiences, extracurricular activities, and academic honors
  • Transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  • Photo 
    • A simple head shot that will be used to facilitate in-person interviews.
  • Personal Statement
    • Convey a sense of who you are, and reflect on, among other things, (a) your personal journey; (b) your long-range professional interests, and how they have developed; (c) how you have embodied your own kind of leadership; and (d) how a year in Asia with Luce might be transformative.
  • Letters of recommendation (4)
    • Letters will be uploaded separately by the recommenders. They should be signed on official letterhead and, whenever possible, represent a range of academic and professional references.

Application Timeline

Campus Endorsement

  • August 17, 2020: USC Campus Endorsement application opens. Interested applicants must set up advising appointment with AHF staff.
  • October 2, 2020, 5:00 PM (PST): Campus Endorsement application deadline 
  • October 8-9, 2020: Campus Endorsement interview for competitive applicants. Endorsement decisions announced the following week.

Luce Scholars Program Application

  • October 12, 2020: Endorsed candidates proceed with the national Luce application. Applicants will work with AHF staff to finalize all details before submission.
  • November 2, 2020: Luce Scholars national application deadline
  • November – December 2019: First round Luce nominee interviews
  • January -February 2020: Finalists selected and participate in the finalist interview round.
  • February 2020: Luce Scholars selected.

Once selected, Luce Scholars begin in late June with an orientation in New York and San Francisco. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in Asia in July and August. Placements begin in September, and conclude with a wrap-up meeting in July of the following year.

Applicant Resources

  • USC Recipient Essays Visit STU 300, Monday – Friday between 9 AM – 5 PM, to review successful USC Truman Scholar essays. No appointment needed.

USC Recipients

  • 2013: Tamara Shogaolu
  • 2011: Craig Western
  • 2007: Miles Dail Killingsworth
  • 2006: Roberto C. Padilla
  • 2005: Samuel A. Bazzi
  • 2001: John R. Cochran IV & Caroline P. Hennen

View more Luce Scholars

Contact Us

Open Advising: June – Mid-August
Request an Appointment

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