Critical Language Scholarship (CLS)


About the Critical Language Scholarship
Eligibility & Deadline
Program Benefits
Applicant Resources & Recorded Sessions
AHF Advising

About the Critical Language Scholarship

The CLS Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. The program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical 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. CLS Institutes provide fully-funded group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks over the summer.

On November 29, 2016 President Obama signed an Executive Order giving alumni from the CLS Program non-competitive eligibility for U.S. government jobs.

Critical Languages

For additional information, visit the CLS website here.

Basic Eligibility

Candidates must:

  • be a U.S. Citizen
  • be an enrolled undergraduate, master’s or Ph.D. student at the time of application
  • additional eligibility/criteria varies by site

National Deadline

November 27, 2018 at 8:00pm EST

Application opens early October. Letters of recommendation due on November 29, 2018.

Program Benefits

Fully funded cost of participating in overseas institutes includes:

  • group-based learning courses (+20 hours per week)
  • room and board
  • a full cultural program
  • host community language partners
  • domestic and international airfare
  • living stipend for incidental expenses and meals

Resources to Compose a Strong Application

Recorded Info Sessions

  • CLS Program Overview – YouTube video from U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs published September 14, 2017
  • CLS Information Session with USC Recipient Jason Tse, Recorded November, 8 2016
  • Tips for a Successful CLS Application Published September 14, 2017
  • CLS Program for Students With Disabilities and Medical Concerns – Published November 5, 2015
    The CLS Program will host a webinar for Students With Disabilities and Medical Concerns, co-hosted by Monica Malhotra of Mobility International USA. The webinar will be geared towards students with disabilities and medical concerns, and will cover program benefits, the experience of participants, program support, accommodations made for students with disabilities, and application tips.

Contact Us

Open Advising: Late September – Mid-November
Request an Appointment

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