Critical Language Scholarship Program


The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program provides overseas foreign language instruction and cultural immersion experiences for American undergraduate and graduate students in fifteen critical need languages.

CLS is part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to our national security and prosperity. These critical languages are less commonly taught in U.S. schools, but are essential to America’s positive engagement with the world.  

CLS plays an important role in preparing U.S. students for the 21st century’s globalized workforce, increasing American competitiveness, and contributing to national security. CLS scholars also serve as citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity of the United States abroad, dispelling stereotypes about Americans, and building lasting relationships with people in their host countries.

Students representing the diversity of the United States, including students of all backgrounds and academic disciplines and those with disabilities, are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and apply the critical language skills in their future academic and professional careers.

Scholarships are offered in the following languages and levels:

  • Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu: Open to students at all language levels, including beginners 
  • Arabic, Korean, Russian, and Portuguese: Advanced beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels 
  • Chinese and Japanese: Intermediate and advanced levels

Program Length

8-10 weeks in the summer

Eligibility and Application Overview

Public applications are accepted.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • Applicants must be 18 by the beginning of the CLS program
  • Undergraduate students must have completed at least one year of college coursework by program start date

For more information on CLS, visit

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