International Relations Scholarships For Undergraduates

International Relations Scholarships For Undergraduates

The realm of international relations, rooted in principles dating back to the 1600s, is an ancient yet ever-changing discipline that grapples with contemporary challenges. Those aspiring to tackle significant global issues must possess a broad education to match the expansive nature of the field.

Securing a degree in international relations comes at a considerable cost. Premier institutions often demand over $40,000 for a bachelor’s degree, with master’s programs carrying a similar financial burden.

As a scholar specializing in international relations, your focus revolves around tackling pivotal concerns such as global security, sustainable development, human rights, international law, and humanitarian aid.

Due to the increasing demand for experts in international relations and advocates, there is a heightened accessibility of scholarships and fellowships for students like yourself. Private donors, non-governmental organizations, and universities are contributing to this trend.

Nevertheless, navigating through the multitude of available scholarships to identify those relevant to your field can be a considerable task in itself.

Whether you’re an undergraduate, pursuing a graduate degree, or a post-graduate scholar, you have the opportunity to further your education with financial support from institutions that share your values and goals.

How to Meet the Requirements For An International Relations Scholarship

While numerous international relations scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate programs offer substantial support, they are selective in their awarding process. As a candidate for these scholarships, it is essential to view yourself and your skills as an investment, demonstrating that you are a worthy recipient in the following areas:

Academic Qualifications:

Evaluation primarily hinges on your grades and academic accomplishments. Most scholarships necessitate impressive GPA and SAT scores merely to be eligible. However, in many instances, meeting these criteria alone may not suffice. Award committees often request supporting evidence such as:

  • Additional extracurricular involvement
  • Completion of capstone projects
  • Participation in internships
  • Demonstrated volunteer experience

You might also be required to exhibit a dedication to the specific field. In the case of the Women in Defense Horizon’s Scholarship, for instance, applicants are expected to showcase a keen interest in pursuing a profession associated with national security or defense.

Group Affiliation:

Group affiliation is a significant aspect considered in scholarships, as demonstrated by the Horizon’s Scholarship. Scholarships aimed at encouraging participation in a particular field often prioritize gender or race, particularly for historically marginalized groups.

The educational institution you are enrolled in can also play a crucial role in determining your eligibility for certain scholarships. For instance, IES Abroad, a non-profit organization supporting students wishing to study abroad, provides needs-based scholarships, amounting to a maximum of $5,000 per semester.

However, these scholarships are exclusively available to students enrolled in schools that are part of the IES Abroad Consortium. Moreover, the school must adhere to a policy that allocates at least 75 percent of its institutional aid for study abroad. These criteria align with the IES mission, which aims to foster global leadership through experiential learning worldwide.

Additional Criteria:

In certain instances, especially with packages provided by governmental entities (especially those associated with discreet three-letter agencies), individuals may be required to undergo drug tests and thorough background checks. This requirement is more prevalent in internships that involve handling sensitive information.

Applicants are frequently expected to submit a statement of intent, objectives, or an essay on a topic sanctioned by the award committee. Recommendations may be mandatory and are consistently advantageous.

Specific foreign relations scholarships often delineate precise areas of coverage.

Optimal Strategies For Discovering Scholarships In The Field Of International Relations

There are numerous scholarship options available for both undergraduate and graduate programs. However, it is crucial to begin by ensuring that you apply for scholarships applicable to your current academic pursuit.

Many scholarships for international studies offer more than just financial assistance. They frequently provide additional benefits such as fellowships or opportunities for education abroad, enhancing your career prospects and study experiences beyond monetary support.

Not For Profit Organization:

Non-profit organizations focused on international studies offer numerous scholarship opportunities with diverse missions. While these scholarships may be relatively modest in size, they are often easily attainable.

A notable example is IES, established in 1950. Presently, IES Abroad allocates over $5 million in scholarship and financial aid to individuals across various fields interested in studying abroad. Although their scholarships extend beyond international relations, they offer several options tailored for undergraduate international studies students.

Beyond financial assistance, IES plays a crucial role as an application and accommodation coordinator for overseas education, streamlining the process amidst intricate foreign education requirements. This added benefit, while challenging to quantify in monetary terms, significantly enhances the overall experience.

Larger charitable organizations also extend financial support, exemplified by initiatives like the James C. Gaither Junior Fellows program, which is backed by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Graduate students enrolled in participating universities can access nearly $40,000 along with additional benefits throughout the one-year fellowship, providing them with the opportunity to engage with some of the most brilliant minds in the field of international relations.

However, not all non-profit entities exude an aura of patchouli and sunflowers. For instance, the Horizons defense scholarship mentioned earlier is administered by the National Defense Industrial Association, a non-profit dedicated to promoting education in national security domains.

Any organization with a stake in international trade or interactions could potentially qualify for scholarships, and it is encouraged to inquire without hesitation.

Government Initiatives:

As a major employer of graduates in the field of international studies, the U.S. Government has actively provided scholarships across various academic levels. These opportunities are often complemented by internships, offering valuable hands-on experience alongside formal education.

A notable illustration is the CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program, which also extends to graduate levels. Eligible candidates demonstrating financial need and meeting academic criteria can receive tuition assistance of up to $18,000 per calendar year, in addition to participating in two summer internships at the agency.

The renowned Fulbright Scholarship program stands as a flagship initiative for government-sponsored support for international educational pursuits. With over 3,600 nominees annually vying for 1,900 grants, this program funds research or study opportunities in 140 different countries. Since its establishment in 1946, more than 360,000 graduates, many of whom pursue careers in international relations, have benefitted from this initiative.

Some of the most valuable scholarships result from collaborative efforts between the government and either universities or non-profit organizations.

The Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program is a prime example, offering a $90,000 graduate scholarship that encompasses internships and professional development activities. This program is the result of a partnership between USAID and Howard University.

Educational Institution:

Universities should not be disregarded as potential sources of scholarship funds. Many universities offer general scholarships based on financial need, and some may provide additional funding through endowments to specific departments, like the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Scholarship in International Affairs at the University of West Virginia for international studies or political science.

It is advisable to consult the university’s financial aid department for comprehensive assistance in identifying all eligible scholarship programs. They can also help with tasks such as obtaining letters of recommendation, organizing transcripts, and ensuring compliance with other qualifying documentation requirements.

International Relations Scholarships For Undergraduates

CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program:

Scholarship Benefits: Receive financial support of up to $18,000 annually, along with health insurance, life insurance, and retirement benefits.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must hold US citizenship
  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Achieve a minimum score of 1500 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT
  • Maintain full-time student status
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Demonstrate financial need

Additional Information: While preference is given to minority and disabled applicants, all eligible students are encouraged to apply. Scholarship recipients are obligated to work at a CIA facility during summer breaks. Upon graduation, recipients commit to working for a duration 1.5 times the period during which they received scholarship support.

The Boren Undergraduate Scholarship:

Boren Undergraduate Scholarships offer financial support ranging from $8,000 to $20,000. To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens currently enrolled as undergraduate students in an international studies program.

Additionally, they should be engaged in research aimed at advancing U.S. security interests by addressing global challenges like sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, economic competitiveness, or migration. The scholarships emphasize linguistic and cultural immersion to enhance national security awareness.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship offers a maximum of $8,000 in benefits. To qualify, applicants must be U.S. citizens, undergraduate students, recipients of the Federal Pell Grant, and either applying to or accepted into a study abroad internship or program. Additional scholarship funds are available for students focusing on critical languages like Japanese, Turkic, Persian, Arabic, and others.

Scholarship By Carnegie Endowment For International Relations:

Advantages: Annual compensation of $37,000 with comprehensive benefits


  • Enrollment in an international studies program at a designated institution is required
  • Willingness to undertake a year-long project abroad focused on democracy, nuclear policy, energy and climate, Middle East studies, and related areas, with the aim of fostering increased collaboration and interaction between countries

Additional Information: Application process is conducted through participating educational institutions.

Scholarship Program By Frederick Douglass:

Advantages: Covers entire tuition and accommodation expenses


  • Ideal candidates will possess a GPA of 3.3 or above
  • An ACT score of 26 is required
  • Commitment to the pursuit and advocacy of social justice is essential

Additional Information: Priority will be granted to applicants from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, racial minorities, and those who are the first in their family to pursue higher education.

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Scholarship:

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation offers a financial award of $30,000 with the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must be enrolled as a full-time student
  • Pursuing a bachelor’s degree
  • Junior-level academic standing
  • US citizenship required
  • Graduate and career interests focused on effecting positive change in government, nonprofit, or education
  • Demonstrated interest in societal conditions, public interest, and advocacy
  • Intention to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate in international affairs, education, public administration, or a related field
  • Recipients are required to commit to three years of public service within the first seven years after completing a graduate degree funded by the Foundation.


Numerous scholarships cater to diverse student needs, ranging from financial assistance to academic excellence. Specialized scholarships also exist for specific demographic groups like minorities or women. If you wish to explore further scholarship opportunities, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list specifically focused on international relations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *