Luce Scholars Program


This is a one-year internship in East or Southeast Asia for those with little academic or personal knowledge of Asia (less than 12 weeks spent in Asia or some Asian language courses are not means for disqualification). Young professionals, seniors, and graduate and professional students are eligible to apply. You must be a U.S. citizen under the age of 30.

What They're Looking For

The goal of the program is to provide an Asian experience for those who will be future leaders in their field and communities, but have yet to have significant contact with Asian affairs. The Luce Scholars Program selection criteria include an applicant's:

  1. strong, mature, and clearly defined career interest in a specific field (any professional field but Asian Affairs is acceptable),
  2. motivation and potential for accomplishment within their field,
  3. academic achievement, especially in their field,
  4. capacity for leadership, and
  5. openness to new ideas and a sensitivity to their fellow human beings.

The single most important consideration is that nominees give evidence of potential for leadership and accomplishment, both within a chosen profession and as members of the broader American community. Read more about recent Illinois Luce Scholars.

Two-Day Luce Information Event

Thursday, August 30, 2018: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.—Information session and discussion with a former Luce Scholar
Friday, August 31, 2018:  3:00 to 4:00 p.m.—Workshop on how to craft a Luce Application

All sessions are held in the Illini Union Bookstore, 5th Floor, Room 514.

If you would like to discuss the Luce before the next information session please contact the NIS Program to schedule an appointment.

Getting Started

University of Illinois students and alumni are encouraged to submit drafts of their application to us well in advance of the campus deadline in order to receive feedback from the directors. Submit the application via email to us along with a few potential meeting times no earlier than 2 business days after your submission to receive feedback. We are willing to work with students through numerous revisions.

Required Campus Deadline

September 24, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

A complete Luce application must be submitted to us in order to be considered for University of Illinois endorsement (a requirement to move forward in the competition). We'll schedule interviews of short-listed candidates to be conducted within a few weeks of the application deadline. Based on your submittal, including grade reports that we will provide, and the interview, a Luce Scholars Campus Review Committee will determine your endorsement. The university will endorse those candidates the committee feels have the potential to be Luce Scholars; up to 3 applicants may receive this endorsement.

Required information:

  1. A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy)
  2. At least 4 letters of recommendation (whenever possible, letters should represent a range of academic, professional, and personal references). Students may either hand-deliver these letters in signed, sealed envelopes, or they may be submitted to us directly by the referee.
  3. A complete Luce Scholars Application (be sure all of your text appears in the printed form), including a 2-page personal statement outlining your long-range career interests and how they have developed, understanding of leadership, and reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program

Endorsed Applicant Deadline

October 30, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Those students who have been endorsed need to submit their final Luce application packet to us by this date. At this time, you'll need to provide your revised original Luce application form (including your signature), any revised letters of recommendation, 2 passport-size color photographs with your name on them, and official transcripts from all colleges (including community colleges where you may have only taken 1 course and study abroad transcripts, unless both the grades and credits of all courses appear on your Illinois transcripts).

We're required to send all of your materials (including letters) to the Luce Foundation. You may either hand-deliver letters of recommendation in signed, sealed envelopes, or they may be submitted to us directly by the referee. While letters are submitted on campus, they should be written to the attention of the "Committee of Selection." If letter writers wish to include the address, it's:

Henry Luce Foundation
51 Madison Avenue, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10010

The Final Stages

We submit an official University Endorsement Letter along with your complete application materials (including reference letters) to the Luce Foundation. Your next step will be waiting to hear from the Luce Foundation. Each nominee will be interviewed by a Foundation member or former Luce Scholar who is in a vaguely similar career (as close as they can match you geographically and academically). Expect your interview to be held in November or December. From this individual meeting, that interviewer will determine if you're one of approximately 45 finalists to meet for a second round of interviews in early February. Between 15 and 18 Luce Scholars will be named each year.

Technical Application Advice

The boxes do not expand in the application, so review your application when it's printed to ensure everything you typed appears on the printed version.

Luce Website and Application

For official information on the Luce Scholars Program (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit their website. An application form is available here.