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.


You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for the 2017 Luce Scholarship:

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be currently enrolled at UNC or an alumnus of UNC
  • Be less than 30 years old on July 1, 2017
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree or reasonably expect to receive that degree by July 1, 2017
  • Have spent less than 12 weeks in Asia and have not pursued a major in Asian studies
  • Possess a competitive GPA (Most competitive applicants have a 3.5 GPA 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

Applying for UNC Endorsement

The deadline to apply for UNC’s endorsement for 2017 Luce Scholarship is September 2016. Students should notify ODS as soon as possible of their intent to apply.

Applicants must complete an online application and provide the following materials:

  • ODS Application Cover
  • Photograph
  • List of Activities
  • Personal Statement
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • University Transcript
Click here for detailed information about the application materials.

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.
  • Contact Raymond Farrow before the beginning the fall semester. A former Luce Scholar, Mr. Farrow is the chair of the UNC Luce Scholars Program Selection Committee. Applicants are strongly urged to talk with him before submitting an application for endorsement.
  • 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 Winner

S. Jakelin Bonilla
2015 Luce Scholar