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Fellowships Directory

Luce Scholars Program

In spite of its name, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. At the heart of the enterprise are the internships that are arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his or her specific professional interests, background, qualifications and experience. Aimed at a very select group of young Americans from a wide range of professional backgrounds, the Luce Scholars Program is unique in placing emphasis on leaders who have had no prior experience in Asian affairs and who might not otherwise have an opportunity during the course of their careers to come to know Asia or their Asian colleagues. A monthly stipend and certain other allowances are provided by the Luce Foundation.

Placements can be made in the following countries: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam

Eligibility and Qualifications

  • Nominees must be U.S. citizens
  • Nominees must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree by the time the program in Asia commences
  • Nominees need not presently be on campus. They may be selected from the class of graduating seniors, from ranks of recent alumni, from graduate and professional students, from recent recipients of advanced or professional degrees at the institution, or from junior faculty
  • Nominees must not have reached their 30th birthday by September 1 of the year they enter the program
  • Nominees must be in good physical and emotional health

Nominees must have a mature and clearly defined career interest in a specific field and must give evidence of potential for professional accomplishment within that field and strong personal motivation. They should have a record of the highest academic achievement, particularly in their specialty. Most importantly, nominees should have evidence of outstanding leadership ability.

Since the program is geared to the non-specialist, prior knowledge of an Asian language obviously cannot be included as a criterion for selection. All Asian placements are made with this language limitation in mind. At the same time, Luce Scholars are encouraged to make whatever arrangements for language study may seem feasible both before and during the course of their participation in the program. The Foundation offers a modest sum to the Scholars for language instruction in the summer preceding their Asian assignments.

Bear in mind that nominees will not be considered if they have already had a significant exposure to Asia, or if they have a professed career interest in Asian affairs.

Application Procedures and Selection Criteria

The application includes:

  • Biographical information form
  • Signed document of no more than 1,000 words outlining long-range career interests, how they’ve developed, and plans for pursuing them in the future; and reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Four letters of recommendation. Whenever possible, letters should represent a range of academic, professional, and personal references

Download application form


Applications are due to the CURF office by close of business (5:00 PM) on October 18, 2013.

In late October the Penn Luce Committee will review all applications and nominate up to three candidates for consideration by the Luce Foundation.

Once the applications have been received, the Luce Foundation staff holds an interview with each nominee in November and December. Early in January, the original roster of nominees is reduced to no more than 45 finalists who are invited, at the Foundation’s expense, to meet in February with one of three Regional Selection Committees. Following their interview with the finalists, each committee submits to the Luce Foundation its recommendations for six Luce Scholars. All Luce Scholars will be named by mid-February.

The “Luce year” begins in late June with orientation in New York and San Francisco. Luce Scholars engage in intensive language study in Asia in July and August. Placements begin in September, and conclude with a wrap-up meeting in July of the following year.


Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships
3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-746-6488
Fax: 215-573-4869

External website

Luce Scholars Program

© 2014 University of Pennsylvania

CURF, University of Pennsylvania
3601 Locust Walk, The ARCH, Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-746-6488 ·