Luce Scholars Program

The Luce Scholars Program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year. The program is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia. 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.

Award: The “Luce year” begins in late June with orientation in New York and San Francisco. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in Asia in July and August. Placements begin in September, and conclude with a wrap-up meeting in July of the following year. Luce Scholars receive a monthly stipend from the Luce Foundation during their Luce year. The stipend, augmented when necessary by a cost-of-living allowance and a housing allowance, is sufficient to meet all of a Scholar’s normal expenses in Asia.

Criteria: To be successful, candidates must (1) demonstrate an outstanding capacity for leadership, (2) have a record of high achievement, and (3) have mature and clearly defined career interests with evidence of potential for professional accomplishments. (4) Personal qualities such as flexibility, adaptability, creativity, humility, openness to new ideas, and sensitivity to cultural differences are as important as academic achievement.



To be eligible for the Luce Scholars Program, candidates must:

  • be U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • not have reached their 30th birthday by July 1st of the year they enter the program
  • have earned at least a bachelor’s degree or reasonably expect to receive that degree by June 20th of the year they enter the program
  • not have spent more than 18 weeks in Asia since graduating high school
  • not have a degree in Asian studies (minors and language study are permitted)
  • have a competitive GPA, generally no less than 3.5
  • be in physical health that will not restrict them from working in a foreign environment.

Resources for applicants

  • Review the ODS “Tips & Advice” document for advice on applying for a distinguished award
  • Thoroughly read the following Luce rules and guidelines:
  • ODS information sessions and prep-shops
  • Applicants who would like feedback on their personal statement are encouraged to submit drafts to ODS, preferably before the start of the fall semester