Cornell University

Luce Scholars Program

Cornell endorsement is required.

Campus Deadline: October 8, 2019


The award provides for a year's experience in Asia in an internship arranged for each Scholar on the basis of his/her specific interest, background, qualifications, and experience. The program was designed as a cultural experience for "young leaders who have had no prior experience of Asia and who might not otherwise have an opportunity in the normal course of their careers to come to know Asia or their Asian counterparts and contemporaries...both to broaden their professional perspective and to sharpen their perceptions of Asia, of America, and of themselves." Placements can be made in: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Luce Scholars are chosen from 75 colleges and universities, including Cornell. About 18 awards are made each year.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents under 30 years of age with at least a B.A. or B.S. Applicants may NOT have a professed career interest in Asian Affairs and may NOT have spent more than 18 weeks in Asia since graduating from high school.


Applicants first submit their materials to a campus committee for review in early October. During October, Cornell chooses two to three students as nominees to the national Luce Scholarship competition. Students’ and alumni's applications must be processed and endorsed through the CCS fellowships office to be eligible for the competition at the regional and/or national level. Endorsement decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

The campus committee offers the two to three nominees advice (through the Fellowship Coordinator) on how to improve their materials for final submission. In late October, nominees submit the final version of their applications. Selection decisions (both on-campus and at the national level) are based on the following criteria:

  • Clearly defined career interest in a specific field: employment, professional affiliations and activities, publications, and awards should provide clear evidence of leadership and accomplishment in the chosen field.
  • Academic record: outstanding academic achievement, especially in the chosen specialty.
  • Four letters of recommendation: A range of academic, professional, and personal references. Choose people who know you well and who can attest to your academic qualifications, abilities and leadership in your chosen career, and personal qualities such as flexibility, tact, adaptability, sensitivity, and personal initiative.
  • Personal statement: An essay of 1,000 words or less outlining your long-range career interests, how they have developed, and your plans for pursuing them in the future, as well as your reasons for applying to the Luce Scholars Program.

Read the Luce foundation site for further information.


Beth Fiori, Fellowship Coordinator
103 Barnes Hall