National deadline: (TBA) November 2018, 4:59 p.m. PST (2019 application will open in Fall 2018)

Eligibility requirements:

  • U.S. citizens*
  • Enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • 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)
  • Good health 
  • 18 years old by the beginning of the CLS Program

Please see 2019 CLS Institute Language Levels for more information on language pre-requisites for individual institutes *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.

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.

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, Portuguese, Punjabi, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili: Beginning, intermediate or advanced level
  • Chinese, Japanese, Russian: Intermediate or advanced level. 

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

Off Campus Study Credit 

All students who are granted a CLS award who wish to request transfer credit toward their Whitman degree for the courses they plan to take abroad in the summer toward must complete the Whitman Summer Study Transfer Credit Application and submit it to Off-Campus Studies (OCS) in Mem 205 prior to departure. Transferability of credit is not guaranteed. OCS recommends submitting the Whitman form at least three weeks before students make a commitment to attend the summer program. The application form and details can be found at the link below:

Application process: online 

Application requirements:

  • 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.)
  • Short essays
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation (2) from two different instructors
  • Language evaluation (1) 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 application deadline. 

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 early March.

Faculty Representative: Keith Raether