Administered by the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, the Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is part of the National Security Language Initiative, a U.S. government interagency effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need foreign languages.  The CLS Program offers intensive summer institutes overseas to study the languages of Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish and Urdu.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • Completed at least one year (two semesters) of undergraduate college coursework by program start date.
  • Currently enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  • See program details on Web site for more information on language prerequisites for individual institutes.

General Information

Founded in 1981, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers is a private, not-for-profit federation of independent overseas research centers that promote advanced research, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, with focus on the conservation and recording of cultural heritage and the understanding and interpretation of modern societies.  The centers are the primary vehicle through with American scholars carry out research vital to out understanding of and intersection with other cultures.

Nearly 400 American universities, colleges, and museums hold multiple memberships in the centers, which serve their institutional members, individual fellows and members, and affiliated scholars through a broad range of research and teaching-support services.  Funding is awarded from sources including the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as from private foundations and individuals.  American overseas research centers promote international scholarly exchange, primarily through sponsorship of fellowship programs, foreign language study and collaborative research projects.

The CLS Program provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences for seven to ten weeks for U.S. citizen undergraduates, master’s students and Ph.D. students.

Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply.  Former CLS participants have applied with various academic backgrounds, including business, engineering, law, science, medicine, social sciences, and humanities.  The CLS Program does not have any government-service requirements upon completion; however, it is expected that participants will continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their future academic and professional careers.

Deadline Dates

November 2014  Completed application and required documentation must be submitted to the CLS

Mid-February 2015  Final selection announced