Critical Languages Scholarships for Intensive Summer Institutes


November 15, 2010


Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) provide group-based summer intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for eight to ten weeks. CLS institute dates will be posted once finalized, but the institutes generally begin within the first three weeks in June and end within the first three weeks in August. Levels available for each language are as follows:

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

The intensive summer language institutes will include four to five hours of language instruction each day, five days a week. CLS participants will cover approximately one year’s worth of language study during the summer institutes. Mandatory or voluntary activities outside of formal classes may also be provided, including tutoring, peer conversation partners, and homework assignments. In addition, participants will participate in a variety of group-based cultural enrichment activities and excursions. Participants are required to attend all classes and activities provided by the institute. Students in intermediate and advanced programs should expect that a language-only pledge may be required for the entirety of the CLS Program.

Domestic air travel will be arranged for participants from their home city in the U.S. to Washington, D.C., for a predeparture orientation. Institute groups will travel together from Washington, D.C., to the institute site overseas on pre-arranged group flights. Students are required to participate in the full program, including the predeparture orientation.


  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens.*
  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level.**
  • Current undergraduate students must have completed at least one year of general college coursework by program start date (one year is defined as two semesters or three quarters).
  • Be in acceptable mental and physical health. Grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Medical Information Form and Physician’s Statement.
  • Applicants must be eighteen by the beginning of the 2010 CLS Program.

Please see 2010 CLS Institute Language Levels for more information on language prerequisites for individual institutes.

Students in all disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, sciences, and humanities, are encouraged to apply.

The U.S. Department of State and CAORC welcome all eligible applications, and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, or handicap condition.

*Although the CLS Program will work with awarded students to secure a visa for the CLS institute host country, the program cannot be held responsible for other countries’ visa requirements and/or the denial of a student’s application for a visa. CLS awards are contingent upon the participant securing a host-country visa, and all awardees must meet deadlines and host country requirements set for obtaining a visa.

**Only current graduate students or graduating seniors are eligible to apply to the summer 2010 Persian institute.

Apply To

Applicants are required to fill out the 2011 Critical Language Scholarship Application online.

Selection Process

Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for:

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting;
  • Ability to adapt to a different cultural environment;
  • Diversity;
  • Plan for continuation of study of the language; and
  • Plan to use the language in future career.

All applictions are initially read by two outside academic readers, and the top applications are reviewed by panels of academic experts in the area and language. Applicants recommended for selection are forwarded to the U.S. Department of State for final approval. Applicants will be notified of the results of their application to the CLS Program in mid- to late March. After notification, selected participants will be required to complete a language evaluation. Selected applicants will be assigned to a CLS institute site by mid- to late April based on language evaluation results along with information provided in the online application.

Contact Information

For questions about Arabic institutes, call 202-633-1610, or e-mail Andrea Turpin at

For questions about Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, or Korean institutes, please call 202-633-8792.

For questions about Azerbaijani, Russian, Turkish, Indic, or Persian institutes, please call 202-633-8786.

Additional Information

All CLS program costs are covered for scholarship recipients. This includes travel between the student's U.S. home city and program location, mandatory predeparture orientation costs, applicable visa fees, room, board, program-sponsored travel within country, and all entrance fees for program activities. Please note that U.S. passport fees will not be paid by the scholarship, and students will be required to travel to and from his or her U.S. home city and the airport for CLS Program travel.