General Information

Headquartered in
Washington, D.C.

Contact Information

  • Address: Critical Language Scholarship Program American Councils for International Education 1828 L Street NW, Suite 1200 Washington, D.C. 20036
  • Phone: 202-833-7522
  • Email:


A program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers intensive summer language institutes in thirteen critical foreign languages. The selection process is administered by American Councils for International Education with awards approved by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The CLS Program is administered by American Councils and The Ohio State University/Ohio University.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages. Undergraduate, master's and doctoral-level students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply for the seven-to-10-week-long programs. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • All applicants must be U.S. citizens.

  • Applicants must be currently enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate or graduate level.

  • Current undergraduate students must have completed at least one year of general college course-work by program start date (one year is defined as two semesters or three quarters).

  • Be in acceptable mental and physical health. Grantees will be required to submit a satisfactory Medical Information Form and Physician’s Statement.

  • Applicants must be 18 by the beginning of the 2012 CLS Program.

  • Please see CLS Institute Language Levels for more information on language pre-requisites for individual institutes.

Apply by filling out an online application on the American Councils CLS website.

Chinese Programs:

In 2013, the CLS Program is offering the following locations for the Chinese Language Institutes:

  • Chengdu

  • Qingdao

  • Suzhou

  • Xiamen