What is the Luce Scholarship?

National Deadline:

October 16, 2023 at 5:00 PM  

Contact the Office of Fellowships for support at least one month before this deadline.

Established in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship that offers early-career leaders immersive, professional experiences in one of many countries in Asia for 13 months. The program aims to forge stronger relationships across geographic borders by creating opportunities for young Americans to deepen their ties and understanding of the countries, cultures, and people of this region. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year in a variety of fields, including but not limited to the arts, journalism, law, medicine, science, public health, environmental studies, and international relations. The program is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders with limited experience of Asia. The fellowship is funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

The Luce Scholar year is a 13-month commitment beginning with the orientation in June through the wrap-up meeting in July of the following year. A professional placement is individually arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her professional interest, background, and qualifications. The Scholars contribute their talents to NGOs, government agencies, private companies, universities, think tanks, and museums. In the past, placements have been made in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste. See where Luce Scholars were placed last year. Read Scholar Stories.

Award Details


Information for Recommenders

Luce candidates should have clearly-defined career interests and potential for professional accomplishment. The Luce year is experiential, not academic, in nature. Selectors are interested in knowing if candidates are likely to be a leaders in their field.  Evidence that the candidate is an outstanding thinker is welcome, but reviewers will also be interested in assessments of character, interpersonal skills, and leadership qualities. The Program seeks Scholars who demonstrate the following traits and interests: exploratory curiosity; interest in and willingness to embrace diverse perspectives, beliefs, and modes of living; adaptability; open-mindedness; resilience; humility; a commitment to serving and supporting others. Recommenders may also find helpful these general Suggestions for Writers of Recommendations.

Format and submission: There is no word limit. Letters for Luce should be printed on institutional letterhead and signed whenever possible. Recommenders will receive an email from the Luce application system requesting that the letter be uploaded to their portal by the foundation's application deadline of October 16, 2023. Applicants for the Luce no longer have to apply through the College, so there is no early internal deadline for letters and there is no need to send it to the Office of Fellowships. However, if the applicant is named a finalist, we will ask you to share your letter with us so that we prepare them for their interview with all of the application information at hand.  

Have questions? Please contact us.

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall

Eric Myers, Associate Director of Fellowships
213 Converse Hall

Physical address: 100 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002

Mailing Address: AC #2214, PO Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002