United States–South Pacific Scholarship Program

East-West Center

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Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Feb 1, 2020

Applicant type: Undergraduate Student Masters Student

Funding uses: Scholarship

Location of project: Hawaii

Location of residency: Anywhere in the world

Location of citizenship: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue Show all

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The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options. The Center is an independent, public, nonprofit organization with funding from the U.S. government, and additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations, and governments in the region.

Scholarship Overview

The U.S. South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP), authorized by the U.S. Congress and funded by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, is a competitive, merit-based scholarship program that provides opportunities for Master’s and Bachelor’s degree study at the University of Hawai‘i in fields that are directly relevant to the development needs of Pacific island countries. It will also enable the recipients to obtain a broader understanding of the United States. The scholarship program will include a mentoring component with a possible follow-on summer internship, and readily accessible opportunities for participation in host family and volunteer service programs. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Candidates from the following countries, who meet specific selection criteria, are eligible for the program: 
    • Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
  • Eligibility:
    • Bachelor’s Scholarship
      • Applicants must have completed secondary school by the deadline for submitting a university application for admission to their undergraduate program.
      • In some countries this means having completed “Form 6.”  In other countries, this may mean having completed “Grade 12.” 
      • Individuals who have completed some undergraduate level courses but have not obtained the equivalent of a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree are also eligible and strongly encouraged to apply.
    • Master’s Scholarship
      • Applicants must have completed at least a three-year baccalaureate program.
      • Those with a three-year Bachelor’s degree may apply for a bridging program of up to one year, which upon completion allows for application to a master’s degree program. Master’s programs may not require a bridging component, depending on prior study and academic performance during the first year. 
      •  The USSP program does not generally permit direct application and admission to a graduate degree program. 
      • Those who currently possess both a bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate diploma or honors degree, or will have earned a post-graduate diploma or honors degree before the scholarship’s August start date, are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • All scholarship recipients must be able to meet the requirements of the Exchange Visitor (J-1 visa) program.


  • Because an objective of the program is to provide an educational exchange experience to those not previously afforded such an opportunity, preference will usually be given to candidates who have not had recent extensive experience in the United States.
  • Preference may also be given to candidates who have not had extensive opportunities for study at educational institutions outside the Pacific Islands region.
  • Priority areas of study include:
    • agriculture
    • business
    • communication/journalism
    • education
    • environmental studies
    • gender studies
    • NGO management
    • political science
    • public administration
    • public health
    • STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), and other related fields
    • If a desired field of study is not among the priorities, the applicant should give special attention to explaining how this course of study would support the goals of the scholarship program.


  • Individuals who have dual citizenship, one being that of the United States, are not eligible. 
  • U.S. non-citizen nationals and U.S. permanent residents are also not eligible for USSP.
  • Support is not available for professional degrees such as architecture, law, and medicine.