Burkina Faso Study Abroad Scholarships

Study Abroad in Western Africa on Someone Else’s Dime

Burkina Faso is a small country in western Africa adjacent to a handful of countries including Mali, Niger, and Ghana. Like its neighbors, Burkina Faso has a history of French colonization, from which the French language persists. Burkina Faso is recognized among the poorest countries of Africa with poorly managed agricultural resources and a high unemployment rate. In fact unemployment drives scores of people from the country in search of work elsewhere.

There is a relative lack of formal study abroad programs in Burkina Faso. Most opportunities for U.S. students are available in graduate and doctoral programs and must be pursued as independent studies. The country lends itself to political and economic development studies, as well as projects aimed at healthcare, especially HIV/AIDS prevention and education.

Government Scholarships

The West African Research Association is a not for profit internationally recognizedburkina-faso scholarships organization that provides critical support for U.S. and West African educational and professional persons and organizations. WARA, with funds from the U.S. State Department, facilitates international collaboration and maintains headquarters at Boston University, University of Florida, and in Dakar, Senegal. Part of WARA’s mission comes in the form of fellowships and scholarships for U.S. scholars:

  • WARA Pre-Doctoral Fellowships are awarded to students in their final year of graduate work or already in their doctoral candidacy. Eligible applicants are expected to have a carefully defined dissertation proposal from which they would like to conduct research in Burkina Faso, or another West African country. Awards cover travel for the summer term plus $3,000.
  • WARA Post-Doctoral Fellowships are awarded to scholars no longer working on a dissertation or thesis. Instead high-level research projects must be submitted that demonstrate a need for summer travel to Burkina Faso. Fund is the same as the Pre-Doctoral Fellowships.

The Fulbright Scholarship program was launched right after the close of WWII. It’s chief intent has been ever since to engage U.S. students, scholars and artists with those from a host of international realms. Today the scholarships are among the most prestigious and competitive. Fulbright Scholars number over a thousand annually; and that’s just from the U.S. Each year one or two are funded for study in Burkina Faso. The program prefers Ph.D. candidates, especially those willing to teach while in the country. Fluency in French is required.

Private Funding

The Thomas J. Watson Foundation is funded by the estate of one of IBM’s original founders. The Watson Fellowships are annual awards that provide undergraduate seniors with an opportunity to pursue independent overseas projects under their own direction. Watson Fellows go abroad for a full year to any country not currently under a Travel Warning. This once in a lifetime opportunity is open to applicants from member colleges and universities and those with a highly defined project proposal. Projects must be creative, innovative and challenging.


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