Boren Awards/National Security Education Program

The David L. Boren Awards, which include undergraduate Scholarships and graduate Fellowships, are funded by the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. These awards provide American students with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation, in exchange for their commitment to seek work in the federal government.

The countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded. Boren Scholars and Fellows may study abroad in Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Click here to see the listing of emphasized countries.

Boren Scholars may receive up to $8,000 for a summer program, $10,000 for a semester or $20,000 for a year.

Boren Fellowships provide up to $24,000 for overseas study (or up to $30,000 for a combination of domestic and overseas study), for students applying to or currently enrolled in graduate school.

The Boren Awards are especially interested in applicants to the summer STEM program, the African Flagship Languages Initiative, the Boren-ROTC Initiative, the South Asian Flagship Languages Initiative, and programs that will last at least one summer and one semester.

Application Details   Apply Now


You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for the Boren Scholarship:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of the final application.
  • Be currently enrolled as a student.  First-, second-, or third-year students may apply for the Scholarship, and fourth-year students may apply if they will meet UNC’s term and credit requirements. If you are currently either applying to graduate school at UNC or are enrolled as a graduate student, you may apply for the Boren Fellowships instead of the Boren Scholarships.
  • Remain enrolled (i.e., matriculated) in your degree program for the duration of your Boren Award, and plan to not graduate until your Boren Award is complete.
  • Plan to engage in a study abroad program that meets UNC’s standards.
  • GPA: There is no GPA requirement, but recent undergraduate applicants from UNC have had a GPA of 3.6 or higher.

Application Deadlines

Email Nomination Deadline (Optional)

Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET

Endorsement Application Deadline (Optional. Guarantees feedback and evaluation. Can apply independently by final deadline.)

Thursday, December 14, 2017 (5:00 pm ET)

Final Application Deadline for Graduate Fellowship

January 30, 2018

Final Application Deadline for Undergraduate Scholarship

February 8, 2018

Tips & Advice

Students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should:

  • Review the ODS “Tips & Advice” document for general advice on applying for a distinguished award.
  • Attend an ODS information session to learn more about the application process.
  • Review what makes a Boren Awards application competitive (Scholarship and Fellowship) and review webinars and other available online applicant resources.
  • Contact UNC’s Study Abroad office and meet with an advisor to discuss program options.
  • Meet with your Academic Advisor to ensure you fulfill UNC’s matriculation requirements.
  • Applicants who would like feedback on their essays and resume are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS before the end of the summer or at least one week before the endorsement deadline.These do not need to be final drafts.
  • Applicants are encouraged to receive UNC’s endorsement through ODS. (Note: Endorsement for the Boren Scholarship and the Boren Fellowship means you will receive a complete campus representative evaluation. You can still apply for the Boren Awards without this evaluation, but applicants are encouraged to seek endorsement).

Recent Boren Scholarship and Fellowship Recipients

Carissa Landes (2014-15, Fellowship)

Mary Elizabeth Walters (2014-15, Fellowship)

Lily Herbert ’16 (2013-14, Scholarship)

Anastasia Bury ’15 (2012-13, Scholarship)