UW Graduate School

Luce Scholars Program

Professional Opportunity in Asia

Please note: The Luce Scholars Program has made the difficult decision to not recruit a 2022-2023 cohort, and will not be accepting applications in autumn 2021. We anticipate the application process will reopen next spring 2022.

Award Information

The UW can nominate three students per year to compete nationally for the opportunity to spend twelve months in Asia in a professional, not academic, placement. The program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 young Americans each year.

The Luce Scholars Program represents a major effort by the Henry Luce Foundation to provide an awareness of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Launched in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program is aimed at a group of highly qualified young Americans in a variety of professional fields. It is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who have had limited experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia. Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually any field other than Asian studies, including but hardly limited to medicine and public health, the arts, law, science, environmental studies, international development, and journalism.

Placements can be made in the following countries or regions in East and Southeast Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In spite of its name, the Luce Scholars Program is experiential rather than academic in nature. Some scholars have been attached to Asian universities in teaching or research capacities, but none of the participants are formally enrolled as a student in a college or university and no academic credit is extended.

Professional placements are arranged for each scholar on the basis of his or her individual interest, background, qualifications, and experience. Each scholar spends July and August studying the language of the placement country, and the work assignments run for approximately ten months from September until July of the following year. The placements are intended primarily as learning opportunities for the scholars. Certainly it is hoped that a scholar will be able to make a professional contribution to the host organization, but equally important is a willingness to learn some of the many things that Asia has to teach.

UW Deadline: TBD

Information Sessions

Check our Calendar of Events and Global Fellowships Prep for upcoming sessions and support.


Current UW seniors, recent alumni, and current graduate or professional students who meet the below criteria are welcome to apply:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Limited exposure to Asia, i.e. those who have not majored in Asian studies and who have spent less than an accumulated total of 18 weeks in one or more Luce Scholars placement countries in Asia since graduating from high school.
  • Will not have reached the age of 30 by June 20, 2023
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree by June 20, 2023
  • Good physical health
  • Demonstrate leadership capacity, high achievement, maturity

Application Process

The initial application must be submitted by the UW campus deadline. A faculty committee reviews applications and selects finalists to interview, after which point the committee will select three nominees.

Nominees will work with Fellowships & Awards to finalize applications (the official nomination includes additional materials). Nominations are then sent to the Luce Foundation by the UW Fellowships offices.

Application Materials

  • Two page, single-spaced personal statement discussing: a) your long-range career interests and how they have developed; b) your understanding of leadership; and c) your reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program
  • Resume/Curriculum vitae
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Four letters of recommendation

UW Luce Scholar Advisors

Graduate and professional students and alumni from UW Seattle will apply through the Office of Fellowships and Awards in The Graduate School (G-1 Communications Building): Michelle Sutton, gradappt@uw.edu, 206.543.7152

Undergraduate students from UW Seattle (and recent bachelor’s degree graduates of the UW) will apply through the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards in Undergraduate Academic Affairs: Robin Chang, scholarq@uw.edu, 206.543.4282

UW Bothell students of all levels will contact the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards: Natalia Dyba, nataliak@uw.edu, 425.352.3667

UW Tacoma students of all levels will contact the Office of Student Fellowships & Awards: Cindy Schaarschmidt, cs65@uw.edu, 253.692.4358

Additional Resources