Boren Awards

Award Information


The National Security Education Program’s Boren Scholarships represent an opportunity for U.S. undergraduates to study abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. (Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are excluded as well as countries in Western Europe.)

“What makes the difference between a Nation that is truly great and one that is merely rich and powerful? It is the simple things that make the difference. Honesty, knowing right from wrong, openness, self-respect, and the courage of conviction.”

David L. Boren, 21st Governor of Oklahoma, United States Senator, and 13th President of the University of Oklahoma
Visit the Boren Awards website to learn about the basics of Boren scholarships.


For a complete list of eligibility requirements, please consult the Boren Awards website. (The Selecting an Eligible Study Program page is particularly helpful for deciding if the Boren award is the right distinguished scholarship for you to target.) In general, students should:

  • Be U.S. citizens.
  • Be an undergraduate student (or graduate student for Boren fellowships) during the grant period.
  • Planning an overseas program in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
  • Planning to study in a country of which you are not a citizen.
  • Be in good health.
  • For ROTC cadets and midshipmen and members of the military Reserves or National Guard,  be in inactive, non-drilling status for the duration of your Boren Awards-funded program.

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Applying for a Boren

At Washington State University, students typically:

  1. Carefully determine their eligibility for this scholarship.
  2. Read carefully and thoroughly through the Boren Awards website, focusing especially on the Boren Scholarships section of the website.
  3. Meet with the Director of Distinguished Scholarships to discuss ideas (appointments at
  4. Determine choice of critical language you are interested in studying.
  5. Determine which country:
    1. Study statistics for that country.
    2. Do some research about the country you are interested in. Why this country??

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  1. Open an application on the online system. You will continue working on this throughout the fall.
  2. Order transcripts from every college/university where you have received credit. These should be sent to:
    Director, Distinguished Scholarships
    Smith Center (CUE) 519
    Washington State University
    Pullman, WA 99164-4519
  3. Research language schools in the country you have chosen. Study abroad is a great place to start this research (Bryan 108).
  4. Contact two to three references to ask for a reference. Ask for a hard copy of these references one week before the WSU deadline to be provided to the WSU Distinguished Scholarships program:
    Director, Distinguished Scholarships
    Smith Center (CUE) 519
    Washington State University
    Pullman, WA 99164-4519
  5. Provide your references with a link to our web page with tips on writing strong letters of recommendation.
  6. Draft your “School and Personal Statement” and share it with us and any others who are willing to critique it. (Achieving your best writing is a process that will require numerous revisions. Expect to prepare 6-8 successive drafts before completing application process.)
    1. Consider suggestions/questions offered by Boren, Boren webinars, etc.
    2. Ask professors and others who have been to the country for tips/critique.
  7. Complete language evaluation if required by your chosen country.
  8. Confirm you have met all the requirements as listed on the Boren website.
  9. Turn in drafts on your application for the WSU review by  December 1. Reviews will be held with all applicants during the second week of school in January.

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After the Internal WSU Review

  1. Complete your essay drafts.
  2. Provide the WSU Distinguished Scholarships program with current contact information and a current photograph.
  3. Complete the Travel Registry required by WSU.
  4. Complete the online application. Fill in all required fields.
  5. Upload your transcripts to the online application.
  6. Confirm that your referees have completed the online review process.
  7. Proofread your work thoroughly.
  8. Submit your online application at least one week before the national deadline.

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After you have submitted your application

  1. Our Director will review the application thoroughly.
  2. If there’s a problem, we will contact you by phone to correct it.
  3. We will complete the online process and submit each application.
  4. We will mail required documentation to Washington, D.C. before the national deadline.

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YearFirst (& Middle) NameLast NameTopicStudy Abroad Location
2015JacksonPevenComputer Science, ChineseChina
View Thomas Taylor's news release
Thomas G.TaylorSocial SciencesTaiwan
View John Stark's news release
View Philip Pitts' news release
PhilipPittsComputer Science, ChineseChina
View Erika Cunningham's news release
ErikaCunninghamMathematics, ChineseChina
2011AnnaBreigenzerMathematics, ChineseChina
2009DrewToopEnglish, ChineseChina
2008LukeMohrPolitical Science, Psychology, ChineseChina
2008JaredDowningPolitical Science, ChineseChina
2006AndrewWhitakerElectrical EngineeringChina
2006TamberHiltonAsian Studies, Political ScienceChina
2006JordanBushInternational BusinessChina
2003JessicaWoelkePolitical ScienceChina
2001OliverLundtManagement Information SystemsRussia
2001JeanLinderPolitical Science, RussianRussia