Critical Language Scholarships (CLS)

The CLS Program is a program of the U.S.s Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded overseas language program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build 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. The following languages are offered and require the equivalent amount of study to be eligible: 

  • No previous study:  Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Punjabi, Swahili, Turkish, Urdu 
  • One-year previous study:  Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, Russian 
  • Two years previous study:  Chinese, Japanese 


  • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen. Non-citizens, including permanent residents, are not eligible, even if they anticipate naturalization by the beginning of the program. 
  • Open to all academic fields 
  • Undergraduate or graduate student 

Award Highlights: 

  •  International and domestic travel between the student's U.S. home city, Washington, D.C., and the CLS Program site 
  • Visa application fees (not passport fees) 
  • Costs associated with the mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C. 
  • Language instruction, room, board, program-sponsored travel within the host country 
  • All entrance fees for program activities 
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) language assessments 
  • U.S. academic credit issued through Bryn Mawr College. 

Application Components: 

  • Biographical, academic and contact information 
  • Medical/health review 
  • University records, and transcripts 
  • Current language study information 
  • Letter of recommendation (1) 
  • Responses to prompts, 200-300 words (Resilience, Preparation for CLS Program, Citizen Diplomacy, Commitment to Language Study) 
  • Statement of Purpose, 500 words maximum  



Award Website

application Deadline

Not yet released for current year

Contact the Advising Team

Advisor: Luis Ruiz