Harvard BOAS Grants

Fulbright Scholarships – Grants for Harvard University

The Frank Boas Scholarship for Graduate Study at Harvard , and the Frank Boas Scholarship for International Legal Studies at the Harvard Law School are two prestigious international scholarships for graduate study at Harvard University.


In 1964, Mr.and Mrs. Maurits C. Boas, who had come to the United States from the Netherlands in 1940, endowed a generous and unprecedented scholarship program at Harvard University for the benefit of young scholars from Belgium and Luxembourg: the Frank Boas Scholarship for Graduate Study at Harvard. Together with a travel grant from the Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission) in Brussels, this scholarship provides both a full year of graduate study at Harvard and an opportunity for travel in the United States. Two years later, Mr. and Mrs. Boas established an equally generous scholarship for graduate study at Harvard Law School, open to candidates recommended by the Fulbright Commissions in Austria, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden, as well as Belgium and Luxembourg: the Frank Boas Scholarship for International Legal Studies at the Harvard Law School . Mr. and Mrs. Boas were inspired to create the Boas scholarship programs as a result of the experience of their son, Frank Boas, a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, who served for many years as a Board Member for the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium and Luxembourg. Frank’s parents wanted talented scholars from Western Europe to have the same educational opportunities in the United States as their son, and were keenly aware of the need to provide financial resources to make this possible.

Eligibility requirements include:

  • English Proficiency
  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • Integrity, academic excellence and a commitment to public service
  • No J-1 visa (student or scholar category) held within the past two years
  • Visiting Researchers are eligible to apply, but preference will be given to candidates seeking degrees.

The most competitive applicants for Harvard BOAS awards demonstrate that Harvard is their top choice U.S. university. They also possess ambassadorial qualities and an interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time at Harvard, why right now is the right time to pursue this plan, and how it will ultimately help them achieve their personal and professional goals in the future. The Commission is looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S. and European communities and who wish to ultimately return to Europe to share their new-found knowledge and experience after their grant has ended. In this regard, it is also important to note that all Fulbright grantees must travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which requires them to return to their country of permanent legal residency for at least two years at some point after their grant before they are allowed to return to the U.S. to live or work permanently on an H, L, K or LPR visa. A list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here: http://prado.consilium.europa.eu/en/searchByIssuingCountry.html.

Candidates already in the United States at the time of application or who have spent significant amounts of time in the U.S. already – generally defined as five years or more – are ineligible to apply.

Award benefits?

  • The Frank Boas Scholarship in International Legal Studies: will receive a partial scholarship based on financial need and a travel grant from Fulbright Belgium
  • The Frank Boas Scholarship for Graduate Study: will receive a scholarship for one year at Harvard and a travel grant from Fulbright Belgium
  • All BOAS grantees receive J-visa sponsorship for themselves and accompanying dependents, as well as grantee sickness & accident insurance from the U.S. Department of State.

Application Process:

Applicants must apply to Harvard at the same time as the Fulbright application process below and be accepted by Harvard by the spring. In February or March, Harvard makes the decisions about which recommended finalists will receive the award and notifies the candidates. The Fulbright Commission gives a travel grant to supplement this award and makes this person a Fulbright grantee with all relevant Fulbright benefits, as well.

Deadline: noon on December 1 (noon Brussels time)


For those deadlines that fall on a weekend, please use the previous Friday at NOON (12pm) as the deadline to deliver all applications and supporting materials to the Fulbright office in Brussels.

September 15, 2016: Competition opens

Proof of PhD needed by April 1st of the following Dec 1st deadline for PhD candidates applying for the scholar category.

December 1, 2016: Deadline to submit the online application form
January 2017 (date tbc): Belgian applicants eligible for BOAS will be interviewed depending on their field on January 26 for the legal category and January 27 for the general studies category. 10 minute interview in English (in person only) at the Commission for Educational Exchange in Brussels.

February 2017 (date tbc): interviews in Luxembourg for applicants from Luxembourg.

During the  interview, the panel will continue to determine the candidates’ fulfillment of the following criteria:

  • Project/Study Objectives (well defined, necessary to carry out in U.S.)
  • Project/Study Feasibility (and relation to future plans)
  • Suitability (previous experience abroad, openness)
  • Social Engagement (community service, extracurricular activities)
  • Academic Excellence
  • English Skills
  • Does the project make sense in terms of the goals and priorities of Fulbright Belgium, and would the candidate become a productive and effective member of the alumni network?
  • Diversity in gender, ethnic/racial background, socioeconomic status, geographic/linguistic region of origin, proposed host institution, and other factors.

February/March 2017: Applicants notified by e-mail
May 2017: Notification of your acceptance and award at Harvard University
May/June 2017: Pre-departure meeting at the U.S. Embassy and reception with the U.S. Ambassador
August 2017-March 2018: Grantees can departures to the U.S. between August 2017 and March 31, 2018.

For tips about the Fulbright application process, candidates should refer to interviews with alumni and selected applicants on the Commission’s online advising channel.

All candidates not selected for the Harvard BOAS award in the fall are encouraged to re-apply to the general Fulbright competition in the spring.

Questions? If you are a student, please contact student@fulbright.be; if you are a scholar, you can contact scholar@fulbright.be.