Critical Language Scholarship Program | Homepage

The 2024 CLS Program application is now closed.

Congratulations to all applicants for the 2024 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program and virtual initiative, CLS Spark! Applicants will be contacted by email in January with notification of the status of their application following the initial review process.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an immersive summer opportunity for American college and university students to learn languages essential to America's engagement with the world.

The CLS Program provides opportunities for American college and university students to study languages and cultures essential to America's engagement with the world. 

Each summer, American undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities across the country, spend eight to ten weeks learning one of thirteen languages at an intensive study abroad institute. The CLS Program is designed to promote rapid language gains and essential intercultural fluency in regions that are critical to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

CLS Spark, an initiative of the CLS Program, provides opportunities for American undergraduate college and university students to study Arabic, Chinese and Russian virtually at the beginning level. 

Designed to leverage best practices in online language learning, CLS Spark provides students with the opportunity to study critical languages virtually when they may not have access to studying these languages on their campuses.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government. It is supported in its implementation by American Councils for International Education.

What Alumni Say About the CLS Program

Key Benefits

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Develop Key Expertise

The CLS Program provides its scholars intensive language and cultural instruction in an environment designed to maximize their language gains at every level.

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Career Ready Skills

Alumni apply their critical language skills in a variety of professional fields in public and private sectors as well as government, helping to support America’s competitiveness across the board.

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Citizen Diplomacy

CLS scholars represent the breadth and diversity of the United States. Through personal engagement they help to spread American values and develop mutual understanding with the people of other countries.

CLS News and Stories

CLS Alumni Named 2024-2025 Schwarzman Scholars
The CLS Program is delighted to recognize two alumni, Genrietta Churbanova (Chinese 2022) and Elliott Mokski (Portuguese 2021), who were named 2024-2025 Schwarzman Scholars. Genrietta and Elliott will pursue a one-year fully-funded master’s degree in global affairs at Schwarzman College on the camp…

February 21, 2024

Celebrating International Day of Women & Girls in Science with CLS Alumnae
International Day of Women and Girls in Science, February 11, is an annual observance that celebrates the achievements and contributions of women and girls around the globe in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Today, we recognize the importance of gender equali…

February 11, 2024

CLS Alumni Selected as 2024 Rhodes and Marshall Scholars
The CLS Program is delighted to recognize two alumni, Grant GianGrasso and Xavier Blackwell Lipkind, who will be continuing their studies in the U.K. next year through the Rhodes Scholarship and Marshall Scholarship, respectively.  Grant GianGrasso (Bangla 2023) was one of only 32 students ch…

January 24, 2024

CLS in the Press