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Critical Language Scholarship (CLS)

A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers intensive summer language institutes in critical foreign languages. 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.

About CLS

In previous years, eligible languages for CLS have included Arabic, Azerbaijani, Chinese (Mandarin), Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu.

View the complete list of available languages (with prerequisites) for the current grant year on the CLS Languages page.

Program benefits:

  • International and domestic travel between the student's U.S. home city and the CLS Program site
  • Visa fees, language instruction, room, board, and 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

Who Should Apply?

Students interested in learning a critical language who are committed to continuing language study and applying critical language skills in their future careers.

To be eligible, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or national
  • be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student
  • meet the language requirements of the program to which you apply

Please note that applicants are eligible to apply for one language only. If more than one application is submitted, the applicant will not be considered for a scholarship in any language.

How to Apply

There is no campus endorsement or application process for CLS, but Drexel applicants are encouraged to seek support on their application from fellowships advisors. See our Fellowships Resource Page on CLS for more information (site requires a Drexel login).

More Information

More information about CLS, including application resources and sample application materials, is available on the Drexel Fellowships Resource Site.

For official information on CLS (which supersedes any information provided here) and access to the current list of available languages and online application, please visit the CLS website.

Related Awards:

Boren Awards for International Study; Fulbright US Student Program; Title VIII Research and Language Program

Last updated: October 2023


  • November 14, 2023 

Fields of Study:

  • Any Field

Program Type:

  • Study
  • Travel

Program Length:

  • Short term (less than one year)

Degree Level:

  • Undergrad
  • Post UG
  • Graduate


  • Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Azerbaijan, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, S. Korea, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Brazil


  • US Citizen/National