At a Glance

November 19, 2019 7:59 pm EST

All levels of students, including graduating seniors, must be enrolled at the time of application.

Fully funded, intensive language study during the summer

Iyman Ahmed

ID# 1480 | Last Updated: Monday, September 16, 2019

Visit the Program Website

With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and to build relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, this scholarship provides fully funded intensive language study during the summer to a diverse group of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

NOTE: Applications must be submitted directly to the Critical Language Scholarship Program, not the Center for Global Initiatives.

The Critical Language Scholarship is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Program Details

The fifteen CLS languages are: Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. Please note that participants in the CLS Program are not required to have any experience studying critical languages for most languages. Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian and Japanese institutes have language prerequisites, which can be found on the CLS website.

The CLS Program seeks participants with diverse interests, from a wide variety of fields of study, backgrounds and career paths, with the purpose of representing the full diversity of professional, regional, cultural and academic backgrounds in the United States. Thus, students from all academic disciplines, including business, engineering, law, medicine, science, social sciences, arts and humanities are encouraged to apply.

There is no service requirement for CLS Alumni after the program. However, participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers. Participants are selected based on their commitment to language learning and plans to apply their language skills to their future academic or professional pursuits. [Please note that CLS is an intensive group-based language program.]


Application Support

There is a wide variety of support available to you as a UNC applicant to CLS, even though you’ll be applying directly to the program. Below, please find a guide to help you find the best resource for your question.

CLS Program Staff

  • Online application issues
  • Detailed program questions (dates, staff, logistics for program)

UNC CLS Advisor

The Writing Center

  • Essay review/peer tutoring
  • General writing advice

Your Friends, Family and Faculty

  • Essay review
  • Grammar/spelling/editing help

Related Information Sessions & Events

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