Critical Language Scholarship (U.S. Dept. of State)

National deadline:  November 12, 2014, 8:00 p.m. EST (2015/2016 TBA)                        
Eligibility requirements:

•    All applicants must be U.S. citizens.*
•    Applicants must be currently enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level.
•    Current undergraduate students must have completed at least one year of general college course-work by program start date (one year is defined as two
     semesters or three quarters).
•    Be in acceptable mental and physical health. Grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Medical Information Form and Physician’s Statement.
•    Applicants must be 18 by the beginning of the 2015 CLS Program.
•    Please see 2015 CLS Institute Language Levels for more information on language pre-requisites for individual institutes.
•    Students in all disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences, and humanities are encouraged to apply.

*Although the CLS Program will work with awarded students to secure a visa for the CLS institute host country, the program cannot be held responsible for other countries’ visa requirements and/or the denial of a student’s application for a visa. CLS awards are contingent upon the participant securing a host-country visa, and all awardees must meet deadlines and host country requirements set for obtaining a visa.

Award summary and conditions:  Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. students. Levels available for each language are as follows: (Please see website for definition of language level.)

•    Arabic, Persian: Advanced beginning, intermediate or advanced level;
•    Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu: Beginning, intermediate or advanced level;
•    Chinese, Japanese, Russian: Intermediate or advanced level.

Countries may include: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, or others where the target languages are spoken.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

All CLS Program costs are covered for participants including: travel to and from the student's U.S. home city and program location, a mandatory Washington, D.C. pre-departure orientation, applicable visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, program-sponsored travel within country, and all entrance fees for CLS Program cultural enhancement activities. Please note that U.S. passport fees will not be paid by the scholarship, and you will be required to cover transportation to and from your U.S. home address and the airport for CLS Program travel. Selected applicants must have a U.S. passport valid through 2016 with at least two blank visa pages by early February 2016. Please plan in advance to avoid visa delays.

Electronic application components:  

•    Online application (
•    Transcripts—official or unofficial (If you are a freshman in college and do not yet have first term grades, you must still submit an unofficial transcript to show
      your courses in progress.)
•    Two letters of recommendation from two different instructors and one (1) language evaluation if you are applying for the advanced beginning program or
      higher.  Your language evaluator may also write one of your general recommendations.  Letters must be received by the application deadline.

Faculty Representative:  Keith Raether

Selection Process:  Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for:

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting;
  • Ability to adapt to a different cultural environment;
  • Plan for continuation of study of the language;
  • Plan to use the language in future career.

All applications are initially read by two outside academic readers, and the top applications are reviewed by panels of academic and experts in the area and language. Applicants recommended for selection are forwarded to the U.S. Department of State for final approval.  After notification, selected participants will be required to complete a language evaluation. Selected applicants will be assigned to a CLS institute site by mid-to-late March based on language evaluation results along with information provided in the online application.

Announcement date:  All applicants will be contacted by email in mid-January with notification of whether their application passed the initial review process. Applicants who pass the initial review process will be notified of their status as a scholarship recipient, alternate or non-recipient in mid-to-late February.
Contact information: