Luce Scholars Program

The Luce Scholars Program offers 15-18 young Americans annually a fellowship experience in Asia designed to broaden their professional perspectives and 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. Personal qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, creativity, humility, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement.

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.

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You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for the Luce Scholars Program:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be either currently enrolled at UNC or UNC alum
  • Be less than 30 years old on July 1 in the year the program will begin
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or reasonably expect to receive that degree by July 1 in the year the program will begin
  • Have spent less than 12 weeks in Asia (some countries are exempted) and have not pursued a major in Asian studies
  • Possess a competitive GPA. There is no minimum GPA; most competitive applicants for Luce endorsement have a GPA of 3.500 or higher.
  • Demonstrate a strong motivation and potential for accomplishment within the applicant’s chosen field.
  • Give evidence of outstanding capacity for leadership, have a record of high achievement, and have mature and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. All fields will be considered.
  • Receive UNC’s endorsement through the Office of Distinguished Scholarships

Application Deadline

Monday, September 25, 2017 (5:00 pm ET)

Tips & Advice

Students interested in applying for the Luce Scholarship should:

  • Attend an ODS information session to learn more about the Luce Scholars Program application process. Applicants will receive feedback to consider as they prepare for the endorsement deadline.
  • Applicants who would like feedback on their personal statement and resume are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS, preferably before the end of the summer.

Recent Luce Scholars Program Recipients

S. Jakelin Bonilla ’12 (2014-15)

Joël Hage ’14 (2013-14)

Will Leimenstoll ’13 (2012-13)

Henry Ross ’13 (2012-13)