The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.
CLS is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS plays an important role in preparing students for the 21st century's globalized workforce and increasing national competitiveness.
Be a U.S. citizen at the time of your application.
Non-citizens including Permanent Residents are not eligible, even if they anticipate naturalization by the beginning of the program.
Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate's, bachelor's) or graduate (master's, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of your application.
Your program must result in a degree. Applicants who are taking stand-alone or continuing education classes are not eligible.
Your institution must be an accredited U.S. institution. Students earning degrees at foreign colleges or universities that are not based in the U.S. or its territories are not eligible.
You must be enrolled at your home college or university in the Fall Semester of 2017. Please read the following information carefully:
If you are not taking classes at your home institution in the fall semester, please confirm that you are, in fact, enrolled. Institutions have different requirements to maintain enrollment status and you will be required to provide a signed letter from your registrar stating that you were enrolled during the fall semester.
If you are taking a leave of absence to participate in an organized semester- or year-long study abroad program, or to participate in a substantive internship program, you may still be considered eligible. You will be required to submit documentation of your study abroad or internship program. Decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
In either case, you must submit a signed letter from your home college or university in the U.S. explaining your situation and your intention to re-enroll following the completion of your study abroad or internship program.
Be at least 18 years old by May 15, 2018.
Undergraduate students must complete at least one academic year of study (two semesters or three quarters) by the beginning of the CLS Program.
What is Required?:
A complete Critical Language Scholarship application consists of
Online student application, which includes
Includes four (4) short essays (three are maximum 350 words and the fourth is maximum 100 words)
Includes a Statement of Purpose (500 word maximum)
Uploaded unofficial copies of your transcripts with grades from your current school and any previous universities attended within the last five years. Transcripts should be in text or PDF format and not digitally signed (official e-transcripts are discouraged due to technical issues).
Two recommendations: Have two references submit recommendations online supporting your application. Recommendations are due November 20, 2017
For tips on completing a strong CLS application:
Applicants are also strongly encouraged to work with the CSUF Writing Center in order to strengthen their essay content.
Where and When Can I Apply?:
The application is managed through the Institute for International Education and the application is found HERE!
For applicants with internet accessibility issues, paper applications and instructions can be downloaded here HERE!
Deadlines will vary based on your application cycle. For the most up-to-date deadlines and timelines, click HERE!
Critical Language Scholarship - it transforms lives!
Learn about the transformative experiences of CLS Alumni from across the United States HERE!
You will make enormous language gains. The intensive and immersive nature of the CLS program means that in two months, you have the potential to make gains that might otherwise take you years of class time and study. On average, CLS participants gain the equivalent of one-year of study in U.S. classrooms over a single summer.
CLS will help you grow as a person and a student. Your study abroad experience will open your eyes to new people and places and introduce perspectives you could get nowhere else. These perspectives will be important to your personal and professional goals.
Critical languages make you more competitive in the job market. No matter what field you are pursuing, in our globalized world, employers are often looking for employees that are culturally competent and have a global perspective. The CLS experience will give you an advantage over the competition as you enter the job market. Countries such as India, Turkey, China, Azerbaijan, Korea, Japan, and Indonesia make up some of the world's fastest growing economies. With the language and cultural expertise you gain through CLS, you can be a part of those burgeoning economic climates and get the on the ground experience that will set you apart.
You will become part of a vast community of language learners. Your CLS cohort will be made up of America's brightest and most dedicated students, many of whom will go on to become leaders in their field. Make contacts that will serve you well into the future! You'll also become a member of the 4 million-strong Department of State Alumni network. Besides the practical aspects of CLS, you'll make lifelong relationships with unique people. CLS emphasizes the diversity of its participants. You'll meet people from different backgrounds and build your network with people from all over the country!
CLS participants are citizen ambassadors. You may be the first American that someone from your host country meets. You will have the opportunity to teach people about our country and culture and build relationships between the people of the United States and your host country.