What is the Luce Scholarship?

National Deadline:

October 1, 2024 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, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 18 Luce Scholars each year in a variety of fields. The program welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals, with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, and is especially interested in attracting those who have had limited exposure to the countries, cultures, and people of Asia. 

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. After a series of virtual sessions that begin in April and a five-day in-person orientation in Asia in late June (all designed to build community and prepare for a year of living and working in Asia), Luce Scholars spend July and August engaged in intensive language training in their respective placement countries. (Language study is a program requirement and is fully funded through the intensive two-month period with additional funds available to each Luce Scholar for continued training throughout the Luce year.)

Individually tailored professional placements begin in early September and are arranged for each Scholar based on their professional interest, background, and qualifications. These assignments, where Luce Scholars contribute their talents to NGOs, government agencies, private companies, universities, think tanks, and museums, and work alongside Asian colleagues, are the heart of the Luce Scholar experience. 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 5 pm EDT October 1, 2024. 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


Physical address: 100 Boltwood Avenue, Amherst, MA 01002

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