Find CLS Alumni on Your Campus!

A full database of CLS Program alumni from 2006-present is available in the CLS Alumni Database. Search for CLS alumni by name, home institution, language, year, and field of study.

Interested in learning more?

Each fall, CLS Program staff and alumni host outreach events at universities across the U.S. If you are interested in hosting your own information session, you may download the CLS informational one-pager (PDF). If you have questions about the presentation or would like further guidance, please contact us.

Who Advises for CLS?

Since CLS applicants are not required to obtain support from their home institution to apply for the scholarship, the CLS Program does not designate official campus advisors. However, the CLS Program does maintain a list of faculty members and administrators at colleges and universities nationwide who have volunteered to assist students with the CLS application process. Faculty and staff in language, literature, and other humanities departments; international relations or political science; STEM fields; study abroad; honors program or fellowship advising; and other areas can all play a role in advising students who are applying for CLS. To find the current list of advisors on your campus or in your area please use this tool:

Search for CLS advisors on your campus

You may also wish to be added to our campus advisor email list. Members of the campus advisor email list may receive:

  • Updates on CLS deadlines, outreach trips, and other important dates;
  • Application information;
  • Notification of CLS webinars, information sessions, and other events of interest to CLS applicants and advisors;
  • Information about the number of applicants and press releases recognizing selected CLS participants from their university;
  • Other relevant updates.

Include your name, title, university affiliation, and mailing address so that we may also send you print materials when available.

CLS Overview

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program, a program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides fully-funded short-term intensive language instruction and cultural enrichment experiences overseas each summer for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students. CLS Program languages include Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu, with institutes held in countries where the target languages are widely spoken.

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, through continued college coursework (if available), independent private tutoring, study abroad, conversation hours they host on campus or through other creative means. However, it is not required that CLS languages be available on the students home campus. The CLS Program has the goal of encouraging alum of the program to apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Both advisors and students are welcome to contact us with eligibility questions that are not addressed here.

Program Benefits

As award recipients, students will receive the following:

  • Intensive overseas group based language program (20+ hours per week)
  • Room and board, often with a host family
  • Full cultural program
  • Host community language partners
  • U.S. academic credit*
  • Domestic and international airfare

*U.S. academic credit is awarded from Bryn Mawr College. Upon successful completion of the program participants will receive two units of credit, each counting as approximate four undergraduate semester hours, or the equivalent of one year of college-level language study. It is the student’s responsibility to transfer this credit with the proper office on their home campus. Students may waive the credit benefit prior to the start of the program if they wish. Decisions regarding credit are final.

Please visit the Information for Applicants section for more details.

Who Applies to CLS?

The CLS Program welcomes applications from students who represent the full diversity of the United States. Students of all disciplines, majors, and varying language abilities are encouraged to apply. Participants in the 2015 CLS Program represented:

  • Public and private institutions, community colleges and minority serving institutions;
  • Nearly all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico;
  • 40% identified as students of color;
  • 78% undergraduate students and 22% graduate students;
  • 61% women and 39% men;
  • A wide variety of fields of study, including 15% from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.

Please review the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Diversity Statement for further information.


To be eligible for the CLS Program applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens;
  • Enrolled in a U.S. degree granting program: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or a professional degree;
  • Enrolled in a degree granting program at an accredited U.S. institution, however, currently enrolled students who are currently on study abroad programs are eligible;
  • Undergraduate students must have completed one year of study and be 18 years of age at the start of the program;
  • In acceptable mental and physical health;
  • Able to get a visa to the host country.

Please visit the student eligibility section for more details.

CLS Award Timeline

  • Application launch: September
  • Application deadline: November
  • First round notification made to students: January
  • Final CLS Award notification: Late February
  • Students depart for CLS program: early to mid-June
  • Students return from CLS program: early to mid-August