Critical Language Scholarship Program

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a program of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. CLS is administered by American Councils for International Education. CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning. The goal of scholarship is to broaden the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries. The CLS Program is fully funded from start to finish.

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) mission is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchange that assist in the development of peaceful relations.


In order to apply for the CLS Program you must, at the time of submitting your application:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate’s, bachelor’s) or graduate (master’s, doctoral, professional degree) level
  • You must be enrolled at your home college or university in the Fall Semester of 2016
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be in acceptable mental and physical health. Grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Medical Information Form and Physician’s statement and must inform the program of any changes in their health status between submission of these forms and departure in order to participate in the program
  • Undergraduate students must have completed at least one academic year of study (two semesters or three-quarters)
    • In order to participate in the CLS Program, finalists must receive an appropriate visa from their country of study (deadlines vary by country)

How to Apply:

To access online forms, you must log in with your AIS Forms account. The link is:

Supporting Documents:

  • Each applicant must provide two letters of recommendation.
  • For the CLS application, you are only required to upload an unofficial transcript

Financial Aid and Award Money:

The CLS Program covers many of the costs of participating in its overseas institutes, including:

  • International and domestic travel between the student’s U.S. home city, Washington, D.C., and the CLS site
  • Related costs for a mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, D.C.
  • Applicable visa fees, language instruction, room, board, program-sponsored travel within the host country
  • All entrance fees for program activities
  • U.S. academic credit issued through Bryn Mawr College

Application Deadline:

The summer 2017 CLS application is now available. Applications are due on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Link for More Information:

Contact Information:

If you require assistance or a reasonable accommodation to complete the CLS application, contact their staff at or 1-877-257-9922.

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