Skip to main content
Application deadline for 2024 CLS is November 14, at 8 pm EST.



Adnan Dzumhur

Associate Director, UNC Center for Slavic, Eurasian & East European Studies


CLS website

What is CLS?

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Students spend eight to ten weeks abroad studying one of 14 critical languages. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. Undergraduate and graduate students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Most languages do not require applicants to have any experience studying critical languages. The goal of the program is to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. CLS successfully prepares students for the globalized workforce and national competitiveness.

More About the Program

Participants are selected based on different factors:

  • Commitment to language learning and plans to apply their developed language skills to their future academic and professional choices
  • Diverse interests and a wide range of fields of study in order to represent people from the United States

Offered Languages:

  • Arabic            
  • Azerbaijani
  • Bangla
  • Chinese
  • Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu


All applicants must be:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of application
  • Be at least 18 years old by May 15, 2023
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate, bachelor’s) or graduate (master’s, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of application
  • Applicants must meet the language requirements of the program to which they apply (see here)
  • Applicants may only apply once, for one language, each year. Applicants who submit multiple applications will be considered ineligible