Boren Fellowship

How to apply



The Boren Fellowship is a program of the US Defense Language and National Security Initiative that funds research and language study proposals by US graduate students. Fellows may pursue studies on an independently designed program or at a Regional Flagship Language Initiative. Although the program is intended for long-term immersion in regions underrepresented in study abroad, there is a long list of eligible languages applicants may propose. While it is required that Boren Fellows have a serious language component in their overseas study proposals, they are also encouraged to pursue research, additional coursework, and internships. After completion of the Boren Fellowship, alumni must complete a one-year federal service requirement in a position critical to US national security in the federal government. 


Awards are dependent on the duration of the proposed program of study. Below are the maximum awards:

  • 12-24 weeks: $12,500
  • 25-52 weeks: $25,000

Boren Fellows have the option to apply for up to $12,000 for domestic summer intensive language courses. If requested, the maximum total combined domestic and overseas award amount is $30,000.

ALL Boren Awards have a one-year federal service requirement. The Boren Fellowship requires alumni to work for the federal government in positions relating to US national security for at least one year within the three years after receiving the award. Extensions may be granted to the service requirement for students pursuing graduate studies or other opportunities. The Boren selection committee gives preference to applicants who demonstrate commitment to a career in the federal service. A full list of official selection criteria is viewable on the Boren Awards website. While the service requirement can always be fulfilled through work at one of four priority agencies—the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State (including USAID), and any branch of the intelligence community—Boren recipients may also petition to fulfil the requirement in any office of the federal government. Here is a list of agencies where award recipients have completed their service requirement. Alumni of the fellowship are given non-competitive eligibility which enables them to circumvent the federal hiring process, gain access to exclusive job listings, and receive career support from the National Security Education Program (NSEP) service staff.


All applicants must be:

  • US citizens at the time of the national application deadline
  • A high school graduate, or have earned a GED
  • At least 18 years of age or older at the time of the national application deadline
  • Planning an overseas program in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand
  • Planning to study in a country of which they are not a citizen
  • Matriculated for the duration of their Boren Awards-funded program in an undergraduate or graduate degree program located within the United States and accredited by a body recognized by the US Department of Education
  • (For ROTC cadets and midshipmen and members of the military Reserves or National Guard) In inactive, non-drilling status for the duration of their Boren Awards-funded program

How to Apply

  1. Review the eligible languages and preferred countries information on the Boren webpage
  2. When you know what language and/or country you’re targeting, book an appointment with the Office of Fellowships.
  3. After you meet with the Office of Fellowships, learn more about the Boren application:
  4. If relevant and as directed by Office of Fellowships staff, consult with the Office of Study abroad if you intend to transfer credits earned abroad back to your Wesleyan transcript
  5. Submit your Boren application by the deadline!
    • For those starting their time abroad between June of the current year and March of the following year, the deadline is in early February each year.
    • For those planning to be  abroad between March 2024 and June 2025, the deadline will be in early 2024, and so on! Boren takes applications every year and it’s never too early to get started; you’ll want to work with your advisor and graduate program early on to figure out when a Boren Fellowship would best fit into your graduate program