Undergraduate Funding

A new online application system is coming soon!

PAS offers awards to support undergraduate research and the study of African languages:

In addition to these awards, students can contact the Office of Fellowships regarding internal and external fellowships, grants, and scholarships, or visit the Application Portal to search for awards offered through the Buffett Institute.

Summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS)

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships provide funding to current Northwestern undergraduate students to encourage the study of African languages in an intensive summer program or for a full academic year as part of an overall academic program of area studies, international studies, or international aspects of professional studies.

Students may use FLAS awards to study any less commonly taught language (LCTL) used in Africa. LCLTLs are defined as any modern foreign language other than Spanish, German, or French.

Summer FLAS award may be used to attend an eligible intensive language program located in the US or overseas.

Award Benefits

Summer FLAS Fellowships provide up to $5,000 for tuition and required fees at the summer intensive language programs and a stipend of $2,500 to cover living and travel expenses. Stipends may be used to cover tuition above $5,000 at the fellow’s discretion.

Applicant Eligibility

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • You must be currently enrolled as a full-time student at Northwestern.
  • You must be able to place in the intermediate level (2nd year) or above of the chosen language. If you do not meet this requirement, please contact the FLAS coordinator to discuss potential exceptions to this requirement or alternative funding options.
  • Additional information on eligibility is available from the U.S. Department of Education.


February 1

Applications are submitted through the Application Portal. A complete application for current undergraduate students includes all the items below:

  • Statement of Purpose. Provide an essay (1-2 single-spaced pages) outlining your current academic program, how study of an African language fits into it, and any additional information that would be helpful in evaluating your application. Please indicate how receiving a FLAS award will aid you in reaching your program and/or career goals.
  • Transcripts. Submit your most recent Northwestern transcript, showing all courses taken at Northwestern to date. Unofficial transcripts that you can access via CAESAR are acceptable.  
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation:

1) From an individual familiar with your academic work, preferably your advisor or other professor in your department;

2) From your language instructor if you have taken a formal language course within the last three academic years.  Otherwise a letter on your language training is not necessary, but you should provide a second academic letter of recommendation. 

Recommenders will submit their letters of recommendation through the online application portal. Your certification on the application form waives your right to see the letter before it is submitted. Applicants are responsible for requesting letters from their recommenders and ensuring that they are submitted on time. You may provide the suggested topics below to your recommenders:

  • How long and in what capacity have you known this student?
  • What is the student’s academic potential and interest?
  • Why is studying the proposed language important to the student’s training and career goals?
  • What do you anticipate will be the professional contribution of the student’s proposed work in area studies?
  • For language recommenders: comment on the student’s language ability and suitability for the proposed language course work during the academic year.
  • Add any additional information which will assist in the evaluation of the student's potential for completing study and for making a professional commitment which will utilize his/her acquired knowledge of language and area studies?

Optional:  Financial Need Information

FLAS fellowships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and other selection criteria as determined by the Department of Education (DoED) and the Program of African Studies. However, in accordance with DoED requirements, competitive preference is given to students who demonstrate financial need. Applicants will be grouped into categories of need based on the financial information provided to the Program of African Studies. Students who do not provide information will automatically be assigned to the “No Need” group. All other factors being equal, applicants with higher need will be given competitive preference.

If you wish your financial need to be considered, PAS will work with the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid to determine the level of your financial need. In your application, fill out and sign the “Undergraduate Financial Need Information Release Form” to release your financial information to PAS as part of your application.

Questions? Contact the FLAS Coordinator.

African Research Leadership Award

Grants are awarded for students to develop and lead a research project or program related to African Studies. Students develop, manage, and complete a project examining an issue in African Studies related to the student's academic interests and program(s) of study. The project can be an extension of the research/immersion experience requirement of the African Studies adjunct major or of research completed in a past course.

Open to all Northwestern University undergraduates in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years in any department or school. Preference given to African Studies adjunct majors, minors, and undergraduate Africa seminar (Afrilogue) participants. Grants of varying amounts up to $4,000 are awarded.

Applications are submitted through the Application Portal. To apply, please provide the following:

  • A proposal outlying the details of the project and timeline as well as how the project or research relates to your academic career at Northwestern or beyond.
  • A letter of support from a faculty sponsor who can provide guidance and assistance throughout the project.
  • Budget detailing all related expenses and other sources of funding.

Deadline: April 15

The Wilks Prize in African History

A prize of $100 is awarded for an outstanding undergraduate essay submitted as a course requirement in African History. Professors nominate essays that were written for their classes. The closing date for submission is the beginning of the exam week for the quarter. Contact the History Department for application materials.

For questions about PAS awards, please contact african-studies@northwestern.edu or call 847-491-7323. 


The study of an African language is important in preparation for national dissertation research grants and for field research. These awards, in honor of Linguistics Professor Emeritus Morris Goodman, provide up to $3,000 for students in their second year of study or beyond to study an African language taught outside of Northwestern University.

Many students find a qualified African tutor in the Chicago area, but others have taken these grants to Africa for individual study; on one of the Fulbright-Hays Language Group Projects Abroad (GPAs); to the Summer Cooperative African Language Institute (SCALI); on one of the Title VI NRC campuses; or even to Europe (e.g. study of African Portuguese in an institution in Lisbon for fieldwork in Cape Verde). In the Chicago area, the grant normally supports 20 weeks of language study, three hours a week ($25/hour).

Application instructions:

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications must include the following for successful submission:

  1. letter that states their research plans, justifies the need for language training, and describes how the training will be completed;
  2. if tutoring is proposed, the application must include information about the tutor, including a curriculum vitae and documentation of visa status for remuneration purposes. 

Online application available through the Application Portal.

For other types of language study, students must provide information about the strengths of the program, the syllabus, evaluations, etc. Send inquiries to the Program of African Studies at african-studies@northwestern.edu or 847-491-7323.

Event co-sponsorship

This award provides a co-sponsorship of an event such as a guest speaker, conference, symposium, etc. on subjects related to Africa for up to $500. The event must be organized by Northwestern departments, programs, centers, or student groups.

Online application available through the Application Portal.