NSEP Boren Fellowships

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Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to US interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded.  Boren Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

NSEP has supported MIT graduate students in the past. If you are interested in this fellowship, you MUST consult the NSEP website. Students submit their applications directly to the Academy for Educational Development, the organization that administers the program.

NSEP Boren Fellowships enable US graduate students to pursue specialization in area and language study or to add an international dimension to their education. Applicants design their own programs and may combine domestic language and cultural study with overseas study. All fellowships must include study of a modern language, other than English, and the study of an area and culture.


Boren Fellowships provide up to $25,000 for 25-52 weeks (preferred) overseas study.  In addition, Boren Fellowships can provide limited funding for domestic language study that will supplement the overseas component. The maximum award for a combined overseas and domestic program is $37,000. Please review the budget guidelines for more information.

Boren Fellowships are made for a minimum of 12 weeks overseas and a maximum of 12 months overseas.

Boren Fellowships promote long term linguistic and cultural immersion.  Therefore, preference will be given to applicants proposing overseas programs of 6 months or longer.  However, applicants proposing overseas programs of 3-6 months, especially those in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields are encouraged to apply.

Each year, NSEP publishes a list of geographic areas, languages, and fields of study identified as critical to US national security. This year’s list includes about 92 countries and 65 languages.

In exchange for fellowship funding, all Boren Fellows must agree to the NSEP Service Requirement. Fellowship recipients are required to seek employment with an agency or office of the federal government in the national security arena. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies, the award recipient must seek to fulfill the requirement in a position with national security responsibilities in any federal department or agency.  Additional information can be found here.


Guidelines and application can be found on the NSEP website. The national deadlines for the 2021 Boren Awards are: Boren Fellowships: January 25, 2023 at 5:00pm EST, and Boren Scholarships: February 1, 2023 at 5:00pm EST.

Applicants will be notified if they have been selected in mid-to-late April of 2023.