College Scholarships for Arabic and Islamic Studies Students

With today’s changing political climate, Arabic and Islamic Studies degrees are extremely in demand. As a result, there’s a wealth of financial aid funding available to Islamic/Arabic Studies majors.

The federal government is a primary source of this funding, as well as private and public universities.

This branch of study offers more than simply learning another language; it offers the opportunity to dip into a wide array of interdisciplinary courses as well as take on challenging study abroad experiences.

arabic studies scholarships

Government Scholarships for Arabic Studies Students

Given the current geopolitical situation, the U.S. government has a strong interest in cultivating and recruiting the nation’s Arabic and Islamic Studies students for government positions.

If you’re looking for a government position, or can see yourself fitting into one, these scholarships offer additional incentive:

One of the most lucrative and challenging scholarship programs is the Boren Scholarship.

  • Students can earn up to $20,000 in exchange for a year abroad plus a year of service within a U.S. National Security agency.
  • Boren Scholars willing to study overseas for a full year are given preference and the program is extremely competitive.

Funded by the National Security Education Program, the Boren Scholarships offer undergraduate students studying in high-need fields, like Arabic Studies, the opportunity to study abroad in the country and become deeply immersed in local and regional culture. Emphasis is on culture and language and specifically how this knowledge can ultimately be used to the benefit of the U.S. National Security efforts.

Boren Fellowships are available to students in graduate studies who are also pursuing degrees in high need fields, including Arabic Studies. Fellows may opt to study stateside, abroad, or both. Language and/or culture studies majors are welcomed.

  • Fellows may participate for up to 2 academic years, for a total of $30,000 in scholarship money.
  • Service within the National Security sector is expected to equal the term of scholarship. Boren Fellowships are also a very competitive program.

The Department of Homeland Security Scholarships are popular among undergraduate and graduate students studying a physical or social science or technology degree that relates directly to a DHS initiative. For Arabic Studies students, the two main areas of DHS research that may provide pathways for scholarship funding are the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences or Immigration Studies. DHS scholarships provide awards in exchange for service.

  • All students selected for the program receive full tuition scholarships for one academic year, plus paid summer internship, with an additional $1,000 to $2,300 monthly stipends. 
  • Note: according to the website, "The DHS Scholarship Program will not have a competition for 2012 due to federal budget cuts." Be sure to check on this program to see if it is reinstated after 2012.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships (FLAS) are funded by the Department of Education and administered through various colleges and universities. These scholarships help graduate and doctoral level students participate in language studies and research directly relevant to high need languages, including Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages.

  • Awards are $7,500 per semester for the one year FLAS program or $2,500 for an intensive summer program.

Private Sources for Arabic and Islamic Studies Scholarships

Private sources for scholarships in this field are fewer than those in government, but there are some choices listed below:

  • The Arab American Institute maintains an updated list of scholarships specific to Arabic and Arab Studies students.
  • The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies offers scholars and students a valuable stable of possible scholarship and fellowship funding. Funds are primarily focused on assisting graduate and post-graduate students with research and language studies necessary to research and degree completion.