An international student surrounded by flags.

Fund Your International Curiosity With Foreign Affairs Scholarships

One fellowship offers graduate students up to $90,000 for tuition, internships and other education expenses.

An international student surrounded by flags.

Both the Payne and Pickering fellowships provide financial and academic support for students interested in a career in foreign service.

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As communications technology and the Internet advance, the world has gotten increasingly smaller – or at least it feels that way. The connections we now have with countries near and far mean more opportunities to live and work outside the U.S., particularly for those students interested in foreign affairs.

If you’re hoping to obtain a job overseas or have a fondness for diplomacy, economics or political science, you may consider a career in international relations or foreign affairs. The following scholarship opportunities can help get you there.

[Learn about ways to pay for college.]

Students interested in entering the U.S. Department of State foreign service upon graduation can receive extra help and support from the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs fellowship programs, offered through a partnership between the U.S. Department of State and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Pickering Fellows are given academic and professional preparation to enter the U.S. foreign service and represent America’s interests abroad. As a Pickering Fellow, you’ll receive mentoring, professional development and financial support, including up to $40,000 annually for tuition, room and board, books and fees.

Undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to apply. Though the deadline for the next round isn't until early next year, be sure and check out the program as early as possible, as the application is lengthy.

[Find out about scholarships that cover extra college expenses.]

Women interested in pursuing a career related to U.S. national security and defense shouldn't miss applying for the Women in Defense Horizons scholarship program. Open to college juniors and above, including those in graduate school, awards are based on academic achievement, participation in defense and national security activities, field of study, work experience, statements of objectives, recommendations and financial need. The deadline is July 15, so you still have some time to apply for this prestigious award.

There are few better ways to study international relations than through study abroad. IES Abroad offers a $3,000 merit-based scholarship to students who are interested in foreign relations and will be participating in one of the organizations’s 100 study abroad programs in 35 locations.
I can attest to a fantastic experience I had with IES when I studied abroad in London in 2004. IES provides more than $2 million in scholarships every year, so even if you’re not eligible for this particular scholarship, you should definitely check out the group's other scholarship opportunities if you’re planning on participating in one of its study abroad programs.

[Apply to these scholarships that support study abroad programs.]

For those of you who are going on to graduate school and are also interested in a career in the foreign service of the U.S. Agency for International Development, consider applying to the Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program. Payne Fellows work on the front lines of some of the most pressing global challenges including​ poverty, hunger, injustice, disease, environmental degradation, climate change, conflict and violent extremism and join USAID once they complete the program.

Payne Fellows receive up to $90,000 in benefits for two years of graduate school, internships and professional development activities. Read about a typical Payne Fellows experience, then check back soon for information on when to apply for next year.

Finally, make sure you check with your home institution for further foreign affairs and international studies scholarships or fellowship opportunities. Many universities offer unique programs available only to their students.