General Description

NSEP focuses on geographic areas, languages, and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It draws on a broad definition of national security applied by the president in his annual National Security Strategy, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

Disciplines Supported

Languages, cultures, and world regions that are critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and the Middle East). The grant excludes study of the countries of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


NSEP awards are made for a minimum of one semester and a maximum of two academic years. Fellowships provide support for overseas or domestic study, or a combination of both. NSEP funding can begin no earlier than summer 2008 and must begin no later than spring 2009.  Awards are merit based and the maximum level of support for a combined overseas and domestic program is $30,000. A maximum of $12,000 per semester for up to two semesters ($24,000 total) is available for overseas study. A maximum of $12,000 is available for a program of domestic-only study.

Minimum Qualifications

Applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of application.
  • Be enrolled in or applying to a graduate degree program at an accredited U.S. college or university located within the United States.
  • Provide evidence of admission and enrollment in such a program.
  • Include a plan for language study in a modern language other than English in the application.


January 28, 2016; must be submitted online.

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