Boren Scholarships (Undergraduate) and Fellowships (Graduate) are an initiative of the National Security Education Program. They provide funding for U.S. students to study less commonly taught languages in 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 Scholars and Fellows are highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

Type of Awards

Boren Scholarships (Undergraduate) and Fellowships (Graduate)

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships can be used to fund study abroad programs in any country outside of the United States, Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. Students work with the UI Study Abroad office and the Boren Campus Representative (Karen Wachsmuth) to identify a study abroad program. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are awarded with preference for countries, languages, and fields of study (social sciences) critical to U.S. national security. See website for current preference lists. Preference is also given to proposals to study abroad for longer periods (2+ semesters) and for those motivated to work in the federal government.

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Boren Tutorial

Adelaide Brooks

Meet a 2022 UI Boren Winner

Adelaide Brooks earned a 2022 David L. Boren Fellowship to study Arabic in Jordan.

Read Adelaide's story


U.S. Citizens; Undergraduate and Graduate level. All disciplines.


Scholarships: Mid-January, 2024—all UI undergraduate applications must be submitted by appointment with Karen Wachsmuth

Fellowships: End of January, 2024—applications will be submitted electronically by the national deadline


Undergraduate Scholarships- 6 + months preferred, alternate programs include minimum 8-week summer programs (STEM students only) and single-semester programs

Graduate Fellowships - 6+ months preferred; minimum 12 weeks – maximum 1 year (proposals for longer periods are preferred)

How to apply

For more information about applying for a Boren Award, please make an appointment with Dr. Wachsmuth by completing and returning the Preliminary Application Form to All applicants must also make an appointment with Dr. Wachsmuth to submit their final application materials several weeks in person and will be interviewed by a campus committee.

Boren in the news

student in blue shirt

UI student Adelaide Brooks awarded prestigious Boren award

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Adelaide Brooks, of Ankeny, Iowa, was awarded a 2022 David L. Boren Fellowship to study Arabic in Jordan.
group of students standing in front of the White House

International Programs to host info session on Boren Awards, Nov. 15

Monday, October 17, 2022
Learn how you can receive up $25,000 for international research or study abroad with a Boren Scholarship.