Boren (NSEP) Study Abroad Scholarships

Estimated annual campus deadline: Mid-December

The Boren Scholarship provides funding for U.S. undergraduates with an interest in national security careers to study less commonly taught languages abroad in world regions critical to U.S. interests. Boren Scholars study all over the world and commit to working in the federal government for one year after graduation.

Eligibility: Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior; U.S. citizens; all majors; plan to study abroad in world regions critical to U.S. national security; interest in national security career

Award amount: up to $20,000 depending on duration of study abroad program

Campus nomination: optional campus endorsement process for UCSB applicants if submitted by campus deadline.

UCSB campus application information

Class Level: 

  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior

Scholarship Deadline: 

December 19, 2023

Expanded Scholarship Details: 

Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren Scholars represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

The NSEP will only accept online applications that are reviewed and endorsed by a student’s home campus. Students should send an email the Scholarships Coordinator at, indicating their interest in the scholarship.   The Scholarship Coordinator in the College of Letters and Science works with closely with UCSB undergraduates, regardless of their colleges, who apply for major scholarships, and it is important that students consult with the coordinator well before the campus application deadline.

Conditions of Eligibility

The applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of application
  • Be a high school graduate that matriculated as a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior in a U.S. post-secondary institution, including accredited universities, colleges, and community colleges recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Apply for a study abroad experience that begins no earlier than June 1 of the academic year following the application.
  • Propose a program of study in an area of the world and language deemed critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad. For a list of eligible countries and languages see the Boren Country Preferences and Boren Language Preferences. Note that Western European countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are not considered eligible.
  • Propose a program of study that ends prior to the completion of a Bachelor's degree. Note that super-senior year programs ARE eligible if the student has not yet officially received their degree.
  • Not hold citizenship in the proposed country of study.
  • Have a strong academic record (cumulative GPA of 3.4 or better) to be competitive for UCSB nomination.

Campus Guidelines:

Campus Application Deadline: December 19, 2023

The online application and related forms are available online at the Boren Scholarship Website. Please adhere to the directions outlined on the NSEP website. 

Students may elect to apply directly to Boren without campus endorsement. If campus endorsement is sought, the following must be submitted to our office no later than 4:00 PM on the day of the campus deadline:

  • The online application, including answers to all application questions, the study abroad program description, and a program budget.
  • The two required application essays submitted as part of the online application.
  • A minimum of two and a maximum of three letters of recommendation, all of which must be uploaded by your recommenders directly to the online application before the campus deadline. Recommenders will be prompted to upload their letters once you enter their information into the online application, so you should begin your application in advance of the deadline to give them enough time to upload their recommendations. Recommenders should know you well and be able to speak to your academic, linguistic, and personal preparation for your overseas study or a relevant future career. See the Boren Website's guidelines on selecting strong letter writers at the end of the Essay Instructions page.
  • Official transcripts from all college work other than credits appearing on your UCSB transcript; UCSB transcripts may be unofficial. Please request any non-UCSB transcripts well before the campus deadline. Please request non-UCSB digital transcripts be sent to: For non-UCSB institutions that provide only hard-copy transcripts, please coordinate with our office before requesting delivery.