Luce Scholars Program

Is it for you?

The award provides for a year-long internship in Asia, arranged for each Scholar on the basis of their specific interests, background, qualifications, and experience. The program was designed as a cultural experience for young leaders who have had no prior exposure to Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia or their Asian counterparts and contemporaries. The program seeks to broaden their professional perspective and to sharpen their perceptions of Asia, of America, and of themselves.

Please note: The Luce Scholars Program is on hiatus for the current year and is not accepting applications in the fall of 2021 for 2022-23 scholarships. The program will reopen in fall 2022 for applications for 2023-24 scholarships.

What are the key dates?

Campus deadline: TBD for 2022 (normally early October); the program is not accepting application in 2021

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Luce Scholarship must:

  • be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who would not have reached their 30th birthday by July 1st of the year they enter the program.
  • hold at least a bachelor’s degree (in any field).
  • NOT have a professed career interest in Asian Affairs OR be majoring/have majored in East Asian Studies OR have traveled for more than 18 weeks in Asian countries where Luce Scholars are placed. Only time spent in Asia since graduating from high school counts towards the 18-week limit.

How do you work with the NFP?

JHU nomination is required through a campus selection process (JHU may nominate up to three candidates). Luce applicants work closely with us, following the steps below, for the duration of the application process.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process. Your first step is to contact NFP by emailing or attending office hours. In preparation, explore the resources below to learn about the Luce.

September Contact NFP to learn more; begin working on application materials
early October Meet JHU campus deadline; JHU may nominate up to three candidates
October Revise application with NFP support (for nominees)
early November Meet Luce official deadline
early – mid-November Prepare for Luce first round interviews

Are you competitive?

About 15-18 scholarships are awarded each year. By the campus deadline, applicants must complete the Luce online application, which includes:

  • Four letters of recommendation: Recommenders must upload their letters (in PDF, signed, and on letterhead) to the Luce online application.
  • Unofficial academic transcripts: You must upload a transcript from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. *Note: if nominated, you must procure official copies.
  • Luce Scholars Program Application: This includes questions about education and academics, work/internship experience, awards/honors/fellowships, extracurricular activities, and publications/artistic work. The core piece of the application is a personal statement.

The campus committee reviews these materials and offers the three nominees advice on how to improve their application for final submission. Selection decisions (both on-campus and at the national level) are based on the following criteria:

  • Clearly defined career interest in a specific field: Your employment, professional affiliations and activities, publications, and awards should provide clear evidence of leadership and accomplishment in your chosen field and a sense of your future trajectory in this field.
  • Academic record: Your transcript should indicate outstanding academic achievement, especially in your chosen specialty. Nominees typically have an undergraduate GPA of 3.7 or higher.
  • Online application: Applicants must complete an online application, with information about their backgrounds and activities, beginning with the 2018-2019 cycle.
  • Four letters of recommendation: Your letters should come from a range of academic, professional, and personal references. Choose people who know you well and who can attest to your academic qualifications, abilities, and leadership in your chosen career, and to your personal qualities such as flexibility, tact, adaptability, sensitivity, and personal initiative. Be sure that at least one letter is from someone who can attest to your leadership skills.
  • Personal Statement: This carefully crafted essay should convey a sense of who you are and reflect on your personal journey, your long-range profession interests and how they have developed, how you have embodied your own kind of leadership, and how a year in Asia with Luce might be transformative.

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

The Luce Foundation

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB article about Nihaal Rahman, 2021 Luce Scholar

HUB article about Maya Foster, 2020 Luce Scholar

HUB article about Seheri Swint, 2018 Luce Scholar

Peer testimonial from Seheri Swint (2018 Luce Scholar)

Start Your Application

Luce Scholars Program Application Portal