The Luce Scholars Program

The Luce Scholars Program offers 15-18 young Americans annually a fellowship experience in Asia designed both to broaden their professional perspectives and to sharpen their perceptions of Asia, America, and themselves. The program is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and administered in Asia in cooperation with The Asia Foundation.

Launched in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is aimed at a highly qualified group of young Americans in a variety of professional fields. It is unique among American-Asian exchanges because it is intended for young leaders with little or no prior experience of Asia who otherwise might not have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to gain in-depth knowledge about Asia or their Asian counterparts and contemporaries.

In spite of its name, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. At the heart of the enterprise is the internship arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her specific interest, background, qualifications, and experience. These work assignments run for approximately ten months, from September until July of the following year, and are intended primarily as learning opportunities for Luce Scholars.

Visit the official Luce Scholars Program website here.

View the official Luce Foundation website here.

2013-14 Application Information for UNC-CH Applicants


  1. Be a US citizen.
  2. Be either currently enrolled at UNC-CH or an alumnus of UNC-CH.
  3. Possess a competitive GPA of 3.500 or higher.
  4. Possess a bachelor’s degree by July 1 of the program year.
  5. Be less than 30 years old on July 1 of the program year.
  6. Have spent less than twelve weeks in Asia and have not pursued a major in Asian studies.
  7. Demonstrate a strong motivation and potential for accomplishment within the applicants chosen field.
  8. Give evidence of outstanding capacity for leadership.
  9. Receive UNC-CH’s endorsement through the Office of Distinguished Scholarships (ODS). UNC-CH applicants may apply for the University’s endorsement through the below application process.

Recommended Steps

  1. Attend an ODS information session to learn more about the Luce Scholars Program application process.
  2. Highly recommended: Contact Raymond Farrow at 919-843-3307 and ODS before the beginning the fall semester. Applicants will receive feedback to consider as they prepare for the endorsement deadline. Mr. Farrow is a former Luce Scholar and is the chair of the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee, and potential applicants are strongly urged to talk with him before submitting an application for endorsement. In addition, applicants who would like feedback on their personal statement and resume are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS before the end of the spring semester.

2013-14 UNC-CH Application for Endorsement

All of the items below must be submitted as hard copies and received by ODS on or before the UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline. All items must be typed in black ink, single-sided, paper-clipped without staples, and clearly labeled with the applicant’s name. Applicants may contact ODS for formatting advice.

  1. ODS Application Cover Page

    This demographic and waiver form will be available by late August.

  2. Print-out of Luce Scholars Program Application

    The application form can be downloaded here, and more information about the application itself can be found here. The application form DOES include more than the below highlighted components.

  • Personal Statement

This statement should not exceed 1000 words and must fit on the two pages in the application form. The personal statement should explain the development of the applicant’s long-range career interests, the applicant’s understanding of leadership, and the applicant’s reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program.

  • Letters of Recommendations

a. Three to four recommendations should be submitted for your endorsement application. Each recommender must submit his or her letter directly to ODS so that it is received by the UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline.

b. Letters should be addressed to “The Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee.” ODS highly recommends applicants give their recommenders this letter when making their requests.

c. Applicants who receive UNC-CH’s endorsement will need a total of four letters to apply for the Luce Scholars Program.

  • Photographs

Two recent passport-sized color photographs of the applicant should be included as application materials. The applicant’s name should be clearly printed in black ink on the back of each photograph. Please contact ODS if you require assistance.

3.  University Transcripts

Submit an official and current transcript for each college or university attended.

a. Official UNC-CH transcripts for applicants can be delivered to ODS directly from the UNC-CH Office of the University Registrar. Please place your order at least two weeks in advance of the endorsement deadline, and click here to learn about transcript fee waivers.

b. Applicants may submit an officially sealed transcript for each college or university attended directly to ODS when they submit their application for endorsement.

2013-14 UNC-CH Endorsement Interviews and Endorsement

  • Endorsement Interviews: Based on the application for endorsement, competitive applicants will be invited to interview with the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee. Applicants unavailable for on-campus interviews must contact ODS one month prior to discuss other available interview options.
  • Application Revisions: Applicants endorsed by the UNC-CH Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee will have approximately two weeks to make revisions with assistance from Mr. Farrow and ODS and to update their application materials.
  • Final Submission: Endorsed applicants will provide a print-out to Mr. Farrow and a copy to ODS of their final application materials so that these materials can be submitted to the Luce Scholars Program.

2013-14 Finalist and Selection Process

  • Applicant Interviews: All applicants endorsed by their institutions will be interviewed either in-person or remotely between November and December.
  • Finalist Notification: Approximately 45 applicants will be notified in January if they have been selected by the Luce Scholars Program as a Finalist.
  • Finalist Interviews: Finalists are invited to interview in early February with an independent selection committee.
  • Selection Announcement: Finalists are notified in mid-February if they have been selected as a Luce Scholar.

ODS Contact Information

Please contact ODS here for questions and to schedule an appointment.

2013-2014 Deadlines

UNC-CH Endorsement Application Deadline

Monday, September 23, 2013 at 5PM

UNC-CH Endorsement Interviews

Early October 2013

Luce Scholars Program Final Deadline

Friday, November 1, 2013

Notification of Finalist Status

January 2014

Finalist Interviews

Early February 2014

Selection Announcement

Mid-February 2014


UNC-CH Endorsement Application Mailing Address

Office of Distinguished Scholarships
RE: UNC-CH Endorsement Application
Campus Box #3510, 225 Graham Memorial
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3510