University of Illinois

Boren Graduate Fellowships



Open to U.S. citizens enrolled in or applying to a graduate degree program. May include domestic language and cultural study with overseas study or all overseas study in a non-western country. Funding for 1 to 6 academic semesters..

*Fellowship Informational Session with a Boren Program Officer:

Monday, October 28th- 7pm-8pm @ Illini Union Bookstore, 5th Floor, room 514

Who They Are Looking For

The Selection Committee rates candidates based on their plan of study, including countries, languages, and field(s) of study; length of time abroad; and commitment to work in the federal government. The strongest candidates have a solid academic record and the potential to succeed in their proposed overseas experience, a commitment to international education to fulfill academic and career goals, and language interest and aptitude. Moreover, the student's plan should directly relate to both the applicant's career aspirations and their envisioned work in the federal government in the Departments of Defense, State, or Homeland Security or in the Intelligence Community.

Early Review

Unlike other prestigious scholarship schemas, the Boren Fellowship does not formally include a university endorsement process. An applicant may choose to independently submit application materials to the Boren Fellowship Program. However, students are encouraged to submit drafts of their application to the National and International Scholarships Program well in advance of the national deadline in order to receive feedback. Applicants should strive to submit a first draft prior to winter break, as the program directors are willing to work with students through numerous revisions. Submit the application as an attachment via email to our office with a few potential meeting times to receive feedback.

Final Submittal Deadline: Received January 28, 2014

Required information:

  1. A complete Boren Fellowship application submitted online, including three essays, your budget, three letters of recommendation, and an optional language proficiency form (no hardcopies needed).
  2. Official transcripts from all colleges attended (including community colleges). Make sure that your Illinois transcript includes both your fall 2013 semester grades and your current courses in progress.
  3. Any letters of affiliation from overseas contacts (recommended, but not required).

The Final Stages

The Institute of International Education processes your application and distributes it to regional screening panels for review. The geographic area panels will be evaluating applications and recommending candidates to be reviewed by the national nominating panel. If your application is forwarded to the national committee, you will be contacted by IIE in late March/early April and asked to provide updated financial information for the final, national review panel. Please let us know if you are contacted--this is good news! If you are selected to be forwarded to the national panel, from there you may be designated an award winner or an alternate, or you may not receive an award. All students will be notified of their status by early May.

General Application Tips

A critical component of a Boren application is a student’s demonstrated depth of understanding of federal government positions and hiring procedures. You should spend time investigating the following websites for in-depth information about federal government positions: provides an overview of federal hiring and a plethora of data about the benefits of working with the federal government.
and are sites used for people interested in applying to federal positions, and will provide you with information about the range of opportunities available.
lists common federal job titles by college major.
provides up to date quantitative data on the federal workforce, including numbers of positions by job title and geographic area of work. The site has a ton of detailed information, but is not user friendly.

Click here
for additional application tips the University of Illinois has put together for you.

Boren Website and Application

For official information and the online application for the National Security Education Program Boren Graduate Fellowship, visit their website.

Videos: These videos are recorded presentations similar to the ones made at campus visits.

Webinars:  Follow this link for the full schedule as well as registration information.