Critical Language Scholarship Program | Homepage
  • May 24, 2024

    Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with CLS Alumni

  • May 10, 2024

    A Mom Away from Home

    CLS Japanese scholar Kirk Preston (Japanese 2023) shares how he found home in Okayama, Japan through the kindness of a new friend.

  • May 03, 2024

    CLS Alumni Awarded Pickering, Rangel and Payne Fellowships

CLS semifinalists, check your email! Notification messages for the 2024 CLS Program have been sent! We applaud all applicants for their commitment to language learning and congratulate the finalists and alternates selected from an impressive pool of over 5,000 applicants.

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 a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and 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

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with CLS Alumni
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the CLS Program is shining a spotlight on three alumni - Jason Chen, Gemma Kelton, and Keely Bakken. They reflect on their Asian American backgrounds and how their identities have influenced their language learning and career pat…

May 24, 2024

A Mom Away from Home
A reflection by Kirk Preston, CLS Japanese Scholar and Digital Ambassador

May 10, 2024

Celebrating Arab American Heritage Month with CLS Alumni
April is Arab American Heritage Month, during which we honor the significant achievements, deep-rooted history, and invaluable contributions of Arab Americans to the United States. In celebration of Arab American Heritage Month, the CLS Program connected with two alumni, Wajahat Mohiuddin and Mehre…

April 29, 2024

CLS in the Press

Congratulations to 2024 prestigious scholarship winners

The University of Utah is proud to announce the school's 2024 recipients, finalists, semi-finalists and alternates for nationally prestigious scholarships.

Shared from , April 29, 2024

MSU’s Harper, Phillips receive prestigious Critical Language Scholarships

Two Mississippi State undergraduates are recipients of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarships and will study foreign languages abroad and virtually this summer.

Shared from , April 26, 2024

Four University Students Awarded 2024 Critical Language Scholarship for Summer Studies

Earlier this year, the Critical Language Scholarship Program announced the 2024 United States Department of State CLS Program recipients. Out of over 5,000 applicants countrywide, four University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students received this year’s scholarship.

Shared from , April 25, 2024