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David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships

National Security Education Program

Program Overview

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships enable U.S. graduate students to pursue specialization in area and language study or to add an international dimension to their education. Boren Fellowships support students pursuing the study of languages, cultures, and world regions that are critical to U.S. national security but are less frequently studied by U.S. graduate students, i.e., areas of the world other than Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is hoped that recipients of Boren Fellowships will comprise an ever-growing cadre of experts whose enriched educational and professional experiences will enable them to provide leadership and direction in our national commitment to economic growth, international peace and security, and the promotion of democracy abroad. The Academy for Educational Development (AED) considers it a distinct pleasure to serve as the administrative agent for this important program.


AED welcomes applications from U.S. citizens enrolled in or applying to a graduate degree program in an accredited U.S. college or university located within the United States. Boren Fellowship recipients must provide evidence of admission to and enrollment in a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university located within the United States, and must be willing to enter into a service agreement.


Applicants design their own programs and may combine domestic language and cultural study with overseas study. All Fellowships must include study of a modern language other than English and the study of an area and culture. (Note: Boren Fellowship support may not be used for study of French or Spanish unless such language instruction is at an advanced level or combined with study of business, science, or engineering.) The deadline for the year 2005 competition is January 29, 2005.
Boren Fellowship award recipients are selected on the basis of merit in a two-stage national merit review process. The selection process includes consideration of the relationship between the applicant's proposed study to U.S. national security, and how the applicant proposes to use knowledge and expertise gained from NSEP support to contribute to U.S. national security, and the applicant's commitment to service in the federal government, among other selection criteria.

Award period and level of support

Boren Fellowship awards are made for a minimum of one and a maximum of six academic semesters (24 months). Fellowships provide support for overseas or domestic study, or a combination of both. The maximum award for overseas study is $12,000 per semester for up to two semesters ($24,000 total). A maximum of $12,000 is available for a program of domestic study only. Support for domestic study is limited to language or area studies which enhance a degree program. The maximum level of support for a combined overseas and domestic program is $30,000.

NSEP Areas of emphasis

Each year, NSEP publishes a list of geographic areas, languages, and fields of study identified as critical to U.S. national security. This year's list includes 87 countries and 50languages. In addition, it emphasizes a diverse list of fields of study, including business, economics, history, international affairs, law, science and engineering, health and biomedical sciences, political science, and other social sciences. Applicants for NSEP David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships are strongly encouraged to focus their studies on one of these geographic areas, languages, and/or fields of study. NSEP remains interested in encouraging applications for study in other countries and world regions where a compelling argument can be made that an increased understanding and appreciation represents an important contribution to U.S. national security.

Study in countries where there is no U.S. diplomatic presence is not permitted using NSEP funds. The list of NSEP "areas of emphasis" include geographic areas where study abroad opportunities are likely to be extremely limited. Applications are encouraged for study of regions where access may be limited; these applications will not be penalized for exclusion of a study abroad component.

The NSEP Service requirement

The NSEP service requirement stipulates that an award recipient work in the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State, or in the Intelligence Community. If an award recipient demonstrates to NSEP that no appropriate position is available in one of these agencies after making a full and good faith effort in accordance with conditions established by NSEP, s/he may work in any U.S. federal department or agency. There is also an expectation that Boren Fellows will use the language or regional expertise acquired as a result of the award in their work for the U.S. government. For more information about this important topic, please visit the NSEP service requirement page. (


Applications must be POSTMARKED no later than JANUARY 29, 2005 to:

NSEP David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships
Academy for Educational Development
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009-5721

No faxed or e-mailed submissions will be accepted. No late applications will be forwarded to panels for review.

Most universities have designated an NSEP David L. Boren Graduate Fellowships campus representative to assist students in preparing their fellowship applications. If you are currently enrolled as a graduate student, we encourage you to contact your campus representative and to take full advantage of the resources that are available to you at your school.

The campus representative is usually located in the university's Office of International Programs, Study Abroad Office, Graduate School, or Financial Aid Office. Please call the NSEP Fellowships Office at the Academy for Educational Development (AED) at 800-498-9360 or 202-884-8285 should you have any questions or are unable to identify your campus representative.

For requesting application form and more information


Asia Institute