Critical Language Scholarship (CLS)

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

 

Most languages offered by the CLS Program do not require applicants to have any experience studying critical languages. The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, and from a wide range of fields of study and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of professional, regional, cultural and academic backgrounds in the United States. Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits.

Languages offered are:

  • Azerbaijani
  • Bangla
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Korean
  • Punjabi
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Arabic
  • Persian
  • Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Russian

The CLS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is part of a U.S. government interagency effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the CLS Program you must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen at the time of your application.
    • Non-citizens including Permanent Residents are not eligible, even if they anticipate naturalization by the beginning of the program.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate's, bachelor's) or graduate (master's, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of your application.
    • Your program must result in a degree. Applicants who are taking stand-alone or continuing education classes are not eligible.
    • Your institution must be an accredited U.S. institution. Students earning degrees at foreign colleges or universities that are not based in the U.S. or its territories are not eligible.
    • You must be enrolled at your home college or university in the Fall Semester prior to your CLS program. Please read the following information carefully:
      • If you are not taking classes at your home institution in the fall semester, please confirm that you are, in fact, enrolled. Institutions have different requirements to maintain enrollment status and you will be required to provide a signed letter from your registrar stating that you were enrolled during the fall semester.
      • If you are taking a leave of absence to participate in an organized semester- or year-long study abroad program, or to participate in a substantive internship program, you may still be considered eligible. You will be required to submit documentation of your study abroad or internship program. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
      • In either case, you must submit a signed letter from your home college or university in the U.S. explaining your situation and your intention to re-enroll following the completion of your study abroad or internship program.
  • Be at least 18 years old by May 15th.
  • Undergraduate students must complete at least one academic year of study (two semesters or three quarters) by the beginning of the CLS Program.

Period of Study

CLS institutes are offered over the summer with varying timetables dependent upon the language selected. 

Award

The CLS Program covers most of the costs of participating in its overseas institutes, including:

  • International and domestic travel between the student's U.S. home city, Washington, D.C., and the CLS Program site
  • Related costs for a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.
  • Visa fees, language instruction, room, board, program-sponsored travel within the host country
  • All entrance fees for program activities
  • U.S. academic credit issued through Bryn Mawr College

The following expenses will not be covered by the CLS Program:

  • U.S. passport fees
  • Medical exam fees required for finalists

Application

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

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting;
  • Commitment to language learning;
  • Connection between target language and career/academic goals;
  • Ability to adapt to an intensive program and a challenging cultural environment; and
  • Unique perspective and contributions to the CLS Program.

Deadline(s)

The application for the Summer 2021 CLS Program will open in Fall 2020.

CLS Applications are typically due mid-November. 

Applications and additional information can be located on the CLS Website

Details

Class Year

  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Graduate

Discipline

  • Multiple

Language

  • Non English

Duration

  • Summer

Program Type

  • Language
  • Study Abroad
  • Undergraduate

Region

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Middle East

GWU Sponsored?

No

GWU Endorsement Required?

No

Make an Appointment

To discuss this and other opportunities, schedule an appointment with the Center for Undergraduate Fellowships & Research.