- be a U.S. citizen
- be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at undergraduate or graduate level
- be at least 18 years old at the start of the program
- be in good mental and physical health
- have completed at least one academic year at the start of the program
- be able to get visa from the country of study
The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a fully-funded language and cultural enrichment program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The scholarship is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students regardless of their field of study. The aim of the CLS is to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Instructions are currently offered in fourteen languages including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Turkish, Hindi, and Urdu, at locations where the target language is widely-spoken. Some languages require 1 to 2 years of prior study.
Advice from NYU CLS Recipients
Advice: The best piece of advice I received was to apply again. So many times in life, I've been rejected for opportunities. Rejected by universities, scholarships, internships and jobs, and much more. Applying again shows that fearless attitude and soul and that the word "no" will not suffice as an answer to your future academic and professional advancement. Life is not a straight path to success, and will be full of many rejections and detours, but if you know where you want to get and you are willing to accept the inevitable upsets here and there, nobody and nothing can stop you.
Ariela Garvett (Morocco, 2015):
Advice: Make a strong case for your receiving the scholarship, which should be reflected in every aspect of the application. Having strong recommendations and essays, and clearly demonstrating how you will use the language in your intended career is essential. To accomplish this, ask your friends, family, or professors to read your essays and utilize CLS resources such as webinars and program contacts when crafting your application throughout the entire process.
Dylan Welch (China, 2015):
Advice: I applied on the off-chance that I would make it in and I got very lucky. I tried to get across my personality and genuine interest in China, but beyond that I didn't do anything special other than having a friend read over it. Goes to show you never know what your chances are!