Boren Awards

Boren Scholarships (for undergraduate students) and Fellowships (for graduate students) provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Boren Scholarships

Boren Scholarships provide up to $25,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. (Full list of preferred countries) Additionally, all programs must include formal study of an appropriate foreign language. (Full list of preferred languages)

The Boren Scholarships provides funding for students to pursue their studies abroad in countries and regions of the world deemed as important to U.S. national security. Recipients of an award must commit to one-year of government service in a U.S. federal government agency following their graduation.

Many UW-Madison study abroad programs are available that meet the Boren Scholarship requirements for both location and language study.

There is a UW-Madison specific application process and a campus deadline:

  • December 1, 2023 for 2024-2025 awards

In addition to completing the Boren on-line application by the UW-Madison campus deadline applicants meet with a campus review committee in January before final submission of their application by the national Boren Scholarship deadline (January 31, 2024).

UW-Madison students interested to apply to the Boren Scholarship should schedule a meeting with UW-Madison Campus Representative for the Boren scholarship, Sara Lieburn (sara.lieburn@wisc.edu) to receive additional information on the UW-Madison campus application process.

Additional Resources for Boren Scholarship Applicants

Boren Fellowships

Boren Fellowships – complete details on the Boren Awards website – provide up to $30,000 to U.S. graduate students to add an important international and language component to their graduate education through specialization in area study, language study, or increased language proficiency. Boren Fellowships are funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.

Boren Fellowships:

  • Support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. (Complete list of countries)
  • Represent a variety of academic and professional disciplines, but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili. (Complete list of languages)

Applicants should identify how their projects, as well as their future academic and career goals, will contribute to U.S. national security, broadly defined. NSEP draws on 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.

There is a UW-Madison campus deadline:

  • December 1, 2023 for 2024-2025 awards

In addition to completing the Boren on-line application by the UW-Madison campus deadline, applicants meet with a campus review committee in January before final submission of their application by the national Boren Fellowship application deadline (January 24, 2024, 4 pm CT).

UW-Madison graduate students interested in applying for a Boren Fellowship are welcome to connect with the UW-Madison Campus Representative for the Boren Fellowship at awards@iris.wisc.edu.


New for 2023: Any student enrolled in a Master’s or PhD program at UW-Madison during the course of their Boren Fellowship award will have the value of the International Academic Programs graduate course fee for that period paid to them as a scholarship by the Graduate School. The IRIS Awards Office will be responsible for notifying the Graduate School of the amount and duration of the IAP program fees for students who accept these awards.

Undergraduates with questions about the Boren Scholarship should contact Kate Hamoonga, International Academic Programs. The campus deadline for the 2024-2025 Boren Scholarship award cycle (December 1, 2023) has now passed. The national application deadline for the Boren Scholarship is January 31, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. ET (4:00 p.m. CT).

Graduate students interested in the Boren Fellowship should contact the IRIS Awards Office with questions or for feedback on applications. The campus deadline for the 2024-2025 Boren Fellowship award cycle (December 1, 2023) has now passed. The national application deadline for the Boren Fellowship is January 24, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. ET (4:00 p.m. CT).

Note: Any interested UW-Madison Boren Award applicant may submit their full application (including letters of recommendation) by the campus deadline to receive feedback from a UW-Madison review committee. After the campus review, candidates have the opportunity to revise their application before the national deadline. Applicants participating in the campus review receive the benefit of a campus certification, which may strengthen their application.