The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building 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.

Languages Offered

The CLS 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. Languages include:

  • Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu: Beginning, advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.
  • Arabic and Persian: Advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced levels.
  • Chinese, Japanese, and Russian: Intermediate and advanced levels.

General Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old
  • Enrolled in an accredited US degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • Enrolled at your home college or university in the Fall semester of your application
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least one academic year of study (two semesters or three quarters)
  • Acceptable mental and physical health


Spring and Summer

Consult with Dr. David Johnson about the program and strategies for developing the application.


Application materials available online.


Application materials submitted to CLS online.


First round notification made to students.


Final CLS Award notification.

Early June to Mid-August

Participation in CLS Program.


For more information about the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, please contact:

Dr. David Johnson

Director, Global Studies

 Morton Hall 250