Critical Language Scholarship

Students in a classroom

Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) cover all costs of attending Intensive Summer Institutes through the United States Department of State.

Languages offered include Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu. Students in all fields are eligible to apply after two semesters of college; additional criteria depend on the language being studied.


  • You must be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of your application.
  • You must 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.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • If in an undergraduate program (associate's or bachelor's), complete at least one full year of study (two semesters or three quarters) by the beginning of the CLS Program.
  • You may only apply once, for one language program, each summer. Applicants who submit multiple applications will be considered ineligible.
  • Participation is limited to a total of two CLS awards for any individual. Applicants who have been selected for and participated in the CLS Program one time may apply for a second award. Applicants who have successfully completed the CLS Program two or more times in overseas locations are not eligible to apply again. This limitation does not include participation in a CLS Virtual Institute.

Selection Criteria

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

  • commitment to language learning;
  • connection between language and goals;
  • preparation for the CLS Program;
  • adaptability, sensitivity and resilience; and
  • contribution to the CLS Program and program goals.

Access additional selection criteria for the CLS Program.

Dates & Deadlines

Information sessions are typically held in October in anticipation of the national deadline in mid-November.