HomeScholarshipsCritical Language Scholarship (CLS) Application Process and Requirements

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Application Process and Requirements

critical language scholarship 2022

The critical language scholarship program, short-formed to CLS, is a summer study opportunity for students that want to study abroad in any American college or university. The program helps students learn new languages essential to America’s engagement with the world.

Who Runs Critical Language Scholarship?

The critical language scholarship is fully funded by the U.S. Government and sponsored by the United States Department of States, whose goal is to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Now, the opportunity is open to both local and international (foreign) students. American students of different disciplines or courses are advised to apply for the CLS programs as well.

The CLS course study has provided many academic guidelines or instructions in fifteen languages that will enable applicants to gain language skills critical to America’s national security and economic development.

Generally, the CLS has been vastly useful and has promoted American influences all over the world.

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Benefits Of The Scholarship 

There are many benefits of studying abroad with the CLS program. They include:

  • The CLS program helps its students develop key expertise that can help them maximize their language mastering in any environment. These keys come with intensive language instructions.
  • Applying for the critical language scholarship assures you of a ready career skill in any professional field, both in private and public sectors as well as governmental organizations. 
  • Critical language scholarship helps American citizens develop mutual relationships and understandings with people of other countries and continents at large. One can say that the CLS program promotes U.S citizen diplomacy with other countries.
  • The CLS Program also covers most of the costs of studying courses that have to do with international institutes, such as the cost of travel between students living in International and local home cities of the United States to the CLS program sites. They also help cover visa application fees, the language offered instructions, room, board, and sponsor travels within the host country.
  • All entrance fees for program activities are also sponsored by the CLS programs. 
  • Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) language assessments can be attained with the Critical language scholarship programs.
  • The United States academic credit is issued through Bryn Mawr College. Nevertheless, the United States passport fees and the payment of medical examinations will not be sponsored by CLS programs.

What Are The Critical Languages?

The Critical language scholarship program offers a total of 15 different international languages, as listed below;

  1. Korean
  2. Indonesian
  3. Japanese 
  4. Chinese 
  5. Azerbaijani
  6. Russian 
  7. Turkish 
  8. Arabic
  9. Persian 
  10. Bangla
  11. Hindi
  12. Punjabi
  13. Urdu 
  14. Swahili 
  15. Portuguese 

Critical Language Scholarship Requirements

NB: This eligibility requirement information is for applicants within the summer 2022 CLS programs, and the subjects here might change for future applicants.

To be eligible for the CLS program. 

  • You must be a United States citizen or living in the country at your time of application.
  • You must be 18 years old and above. Young Applicants should be at least 18 years old on May 15, 2022.
  • At the time of application, applicants must be enrolled in accredited U.S. undergraduate degree programs (associate’s, bachelor’s) or graduates in masters, doctoral and professional degrees. Your institution must also be accredited.
  • Applicants can apply once for one language program each summer. Submitting multiple applications will consider the applicant ineligible.
  • While applying for the CLS, you must follow every institution given and submit every detail required, including your full name, email addresses, and other required things.
  • Applicants that are selected for the CLS award are required to submit a medical review. They are to bring health statements that ensure an independent medical professional. Only those with stable mental and physical health are eligible. If there is a change in your health issues, kindly reniform the organization authorities for another medical review and better health follow-ups.

The critical language scholarship is valued at up to $8,000 for summer, $10,000 per semester, and up to $20,000 for an academic year. Another interesting aspect of the scholarship is that recipients get to travel abroad (outside the United States), where they spend about 8-10 weeks studying one of the 15 critical languages in order to enhance their learning.

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Application Process and Requirements

Critical Language Scholarship Deadline

The deadline for the scholarship is bound to change every year. For 2022, it is Thursday, May 26, 2022, at 8:00 PM EST., so all applications must have been done before the due date.

Frequently asked questions about the Critical Language Scholarship

How many individuals get this scholarship? 

The Critical language scholarship is awarded to about 600 students annually. 

What is the meaning of CLS? 

The full meaning of CLS is Critical language scholarship

How competitive is the CLS scholarship program?

The CLS program is indeed a competitive one as only 10% of the total number of applicants are awarded this scholarship. 

Is Korean a critical language?

Yes, Korean is a critical language. It is one of the 15 recognized critical languages.

What is the Critical Language Scholarship Contact?

For more information on the scholarship, you can reach out to the CLS staff Mondays to Friday working hours at cls@americancouncils.org or on the phone at 877.257.9922 in the U.S (toll-free) and Outside the U.S at (+1) 202.833.7522.


In summary, this article is an insight into what the Critical Language Scholarship Program is all about, with details on the requirements and the list of languages for which this scholarship is available.

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