Federal Employer Areas of Emphasis

In 1995, NSEP began surveying federal agencies and organizations involved in national security affairs to assess their needs for individuals with global skills, based on their knowledge of world regions, languages and cultures, and field of study. The results of these surveys demonstrated that agencies are eager to locate and hire individuals with global skills that extend across a wide breadth of non-Western countries, who are proficient in less-commonly taught languages, and who have expertise in a broad range of disciplines.

This survey process resulted in an annual list of NSEP Areas of Emphasis, which follows. NSEP focuses on languages and areas identified as most critical while maintaining a vital investment in those languages and areas that may be important in the future. NSEP routinely consults with the Department of Defense Senior Language Authority, senior language officers throughout the government, and other national security agencies to revalidate and update the list based on assessments routinely undertaken by these organizations.


NSEP’s emphasized list of languages reflects a need for more than 60 languages. The languages are listed in alphabetic order, and mirror the principal languages of each emphasized country of study, as well as all languages spoken on the African continent. Other languages and dialects spoken by a significant population on the Areas of Emphasis: World Regions/Countries list are also preferred as part of the Boren Scholarships and Fellowships review process.

Albanian African Languages (all) Akan/Twi Amharic
Arabic (all dialects) Armenian Azerbaijani Bahasa
Bambara Belarusian Bengali Bosnian
Bulgarian Cambodian Cantonese Croatian
Czech Gan Georgian Haitian
Hausa Hebrew Hindi Hungarian
Japanese Javanese Kanarese Kazakh
Khmer Korean Kurdish Kyrgyz
Lingala Macedonian Malay Malayalam
Mandarin Moldovan Pashto Persian
Polish Portuguese Punjabi Romanian
Russian Serbian Sinhala Slovak
Slovenian Swahili Tagalog Tajik
Tamil Telegu Thai Turkmen
Turkish Uighur Ukrainian Urdu
Uzbek Vietnamese Wolof Yoruba


East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands

Bangladesh Cambodia China India
Indonesia Japan Korea, South Malaysia
Nepal Pakistan Philippines Sri Lanka
Taiwan Thailand Timor-Leste Vietnam

Eastern Europe

Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Czech Republic
Georgia Hungary Kazakhstan Kosovo
Kyrgyzstan Macedonia Moldova Montenegro
Poland Romania Russia Serbia
Slovakia Slovenia Tajikistan Turkey
Ukraine Uzbekistan    

Latin America

Argentina Brazil Chile Colombia
Cuba El Salvador Guatemala Haiti
Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama
Peru Venezuela    

Middle East and North Africa

Algeria Bahrain Israel Jordan
Kuwait Lebanon Morocco Oman
Qatar Saudi Arabia Tunisia UAE

Sub-Saharan Africa

Angola Benin Cape Verde Congo, DRC
Congo, Rep. Eritrea Ethiopia Ghana
Kenya Mali Liberia Mozambique
Nigeria Rwanda Senegal Sierra Leone
South Africa Tanzania Uganda  

Fields of Study

NSEP accepts applications from individuals seeking degrees in multidisciplinary fields, including those listed below.

Agricultural and Food Sciences Area Studies Business and Economics Computer and Information Sciences
Engineering, Mathematics and Sciences Foreign Languages Health and Biomedical Science History
International Affairs Law, Political Science and Public Policy Studies Social Sciences (including anthropology, psychology, sociology)