▼  Latest News: Announcing the 2020 CLS Application - Now Open!  ▼

The application for the 2020 summer CLS Program is now live! Find more information in the announcement, and start an application.

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

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.

Each summer, CLS provides rigorous academic instruction in fifteen languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. CLS participants are citizen ambassadors, sharing American values and promoting American influence abroad.


Languages Offered



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Key Benefits

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.

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.

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.


  • I could immerse myself in Japanese culture and intensively study the Japanese language, greatly improving my language skills and deepening my cultural understanding in a very short time. My current and previous employers have hired me in part because of my language skills and cultural knowledge!
    Dana Fager, Japanese 2011, 2012
  • It was important to hear about minority Muslims’ experiences, concerns, and fears. But it wasn’t just their stories that were important - I also learned more about the diversity of thought amongst American citizens, which propelled me to take interest in ideas I wouldn’t otherwise have thought about.
    Isiah Weaver, Urdu 2015
  • More than anything studying Chinese is incredibly rewarding. It’s a unique and beautiful language with an incredible history of its own. For me learning Chinese language opened the door for me to learn more about Chinese culture, history, and traditions.
    Abena Amoakuh, Chinese 2016

CLS News and Stories

Announcing the 2020 CLS Application - Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that the application for the 2020 Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is now open! American undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to apply now to learn a critical foreign language next summer on a fully-funded study abroad program.

The...

Posted September 12, 2019


Announcing Application Dates and Changes to the 2020 CLS Program

The CLS Program is in the process of wrapping up another successful summer, and with it we are turning our attention to the fall application and recruitment season. We have a few important updates leading into the fall application season that we want to share with advisors and students as soon...

Posted August 15, 2019


2019 U.S. Future Leaders Topical Seminars

We are excited to announce three U.S. Future Leaders Topical Seminars for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and Critical Language Scholarship Program alumni.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, CO
August...

Posted June 11, 2019


CLS in the Press

কলকাতার পথে-ঘাটে বাংলার শিকড় খুঁজত মার্কিন মুলুকের ‘বাঙালি’ ইভান

While participating in the 2019 CLS Bangla program, Evan Tims was featured in a Bangla web magazine.
SOURCE: Bongodorshon
Posted September 20, 2019


University Of Wyoming Hosts Future Leaders Seminar

The University of Wyoming (UW) will host the Energy and Natural Resources Fair this week with alumni of two prestigious State Department Programs: the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and the Critical Language Scholarship Program.
SOURCE: Wyoming Public Media
Posted September 09, 2019


UW Hosts Future Leaders in Energy and Natural Resources Seminar

UW will host the U.S. Future Leaders Seminar in Energy and Natural Resources Thursday and Friday, Sept. 5-6. The participants will learn from UW, State Department and private industry experts on a variety of energy and natural resources topics.
SOURCE: University of Wyoming News
Posted September 04, 2019