Boren Scholarship 2019-20

Boren Awards logo

The Boren Scholarship pays for a study abroad experience focused on the study of less-commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. national security interests. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after undergraduate or graduate school.

$12,500-$25,000 to pay for a language focused study abroad program (at least one semester in length and up to one year)


$8,000 to pay for a language focused summer study abroad program for STEM majors

You must be a US citizen
You must be an undergraduate student who will graduate after the award period has ended
You must be interested in a study abroad program focusing on a government defined critical language (list of these languages and countries is here)
You must be willing to work for the Federal government for one year following graduation (from either undergrad or grad school)

If you are interested, please make an appointment with Josh Cannon, Scholar Mentor.

Josh Cannon

Suggested Schedule

 October through December

  • Thoroughly read Boren website. Read EVERY LINK under Boren Scholarship.
  • Register immediately on the Boren Scholarship website to receive all relevant communication about the award and campus process from Pitt’s Boren campus representative.
  • Go over application with Josh Cannon. Multiple meetings are preferable. Please schedule those appointments well in advance.
  • Line up 2 recommendation writers. Prepare packet described here on Tips & Advice. Tell recommendation writers NOT to finish the letter until they see draft of your Boren essays (give them solid draft of your essays later in November).
  • Find a faculty mentor with expertise in the country and/or topic of your national security interests. Arrange to meet with them to discuss the first Boren essay. Have them give you feedback when you have a solid draft prepared.
  • Choose study abroad program(s) that meet Boren language requirements AND length of time. Make sure the program(s) is Pitt approved (check with Office of Study Abroad).


  • FIRST CAMPUS DEADLINE (12/4 at midnight) - Submit your completed application through Boren's Embark system; it only goes to the National Scholarships Office, not to the Boren Program. We will unsubmit it to you so you can make revisions before the final campus deadline.
  • You are able to submit your application on your own (i.e. ignore the campus deadline and not work with Josh Cannon). If you do this, you will not receive an endorsement from Pitt - this endorsement acts as an additional letter of recommendation and enables Josh to help you with you application.

January - February 

  • Boren campus interviews. These interviews are not to select or eliminate anyone, but to give you one last round of feedback on your application before the final deadline. 
  • Please note that we need to accommodate our committee members' schedules, so you may have to miss class or ask off of work if they conflict with your interview. If you have any inflexible commitments during this week, you must let the National Scholarships Office know well in advance.

February 3, 2021

  • National Deadline  - Submit your FINAL application online.