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Critical Language Scholarship (CLS)

Important Dates

National Application Deadline (Application Period): 
Tuesday, November 17, 2020


Open to: 
Graduate students
Eligibility requirements: 

·      U.S. citizens 

·      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) 

·      At least 18 years old by beginning of CLS Program, in acceptable mental and physical health    


Application Process: 


The Critical Language Scholarship Program does not have a campus process. The application process is lengthy and requires many months of preparation.

Should I apply?

Important information, which can help you determine if the Critical Language Scholarship Program is right for you, can be found here:

Additional information on the Critical Language Scholarship Program, including application criteria, can be found at:

Additional Information


How the ORC can help

After reading this website and the official Critical Language Scholarship Program website you should attend an information session. Info sessions can be found at

Amount Awarded: 
Round-trip travel, orientation in Washington DC, visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, course materials, CLS cultural enrichment activities, small living stipend. Undergraduate academic credit is offered through Bryn Mawr.

About the Critical Language Scholarship Program

As part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), the U.S. State Department's Critical Language Scholarships provide funding for U.S. citizen undergraduate, Master’s and Ph.D. students to participate in beginning, intermediate and/or advanced level summer language programs overseas at American Councils for International Education and affiliated partners. 

Languages: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu.   

The CLS Program is pleased to announce the addition of Brazilian Portuguese for 2019 and that Swahili will be offered at the beginning through advanced levels.  Please note that participants in the CLS Program are not required to have any experience studying critical languages for most of the fifteen languages.   (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and Russian institutes have language prerequisites.)     

Programs range from 8 to 10 weeks, beginning in early to mid-June with a pre-departure orientation in the U.S. Students must attend the full program and participate in all program activities.  Students in all disciplines including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences and humanities are encouraged to apply.