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: January 17, 2024 at 12 p.m. (CST) - all UI undergraduate applications must be submitted by appointment with Karen Wachsmuth

Fellowships: January 24, 2024 at 4 p.m. (CST) - 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 smiling

UI student Aden Hageman earns prestigious Boren scholarship to Japan

Monday, April 29, 2024
Iowa City, Iowa, native Aden Hageman, a physics and Japanese double major at the University of Iowa, has been awarded a 2024 David L. Boren Scholarship to study Japanese at Kanda University of International Studies in Chiba, Japan. 
student smiling

UI student Alex Bezahler earns prestigious Boren fellowship to Georgia

Monday, April 29, 2024
Alex Bezahler, a PhD candidate in political science at the University of Iowa, has been awarded a 2024 David L. Boren Fellowship to study Georgian and conduct fieldwork in Tbilisi, Georgia, next year.