The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

Apply through Independent Application Process

» Scholarship's official website
» List of previous winners


The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully-funded overseas language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. With the goal of broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages and building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries, CLS provides study opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

The CLS Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply. Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

  • No Previous Study Required
    • Azerbaijani, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Portuguese, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu
  • One Year of Study Required:
    • Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Russian
  • Two Years of Study Required
    • Japanese


To be eligible for the CLS Program you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of your application.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate's, bachelor's) or graduate (master's, doctoral, professional degree) level at the time of your application.
  • Be at least 18 years old by mid-May of the award year.
  • Complete at least one full year of study by the beginning of the CLS Program the following summer.

Applicants may only apply once, for one language program, each summer. Applicants who submit multiple applications will be considered ineligible.

Participation is limited to a total of two CLS awards for any individual. Applicants who have been selected for and participated in the CLS Program one time may apply for a second award. Applicants who have successfully completed the CLS Program two or more times in overseas locations are not eligible to apply again. This limitation does not include participation in a CLS Virtual Institute.

See the CLS website for more details on eligibility.

Selection Criteria

  • Commitment to language learning
  • Connection between language and goals
  • Preparation for the CLS Program
  • Adaptability, sensitivity and resilience
  • Contribution to the CLS Program and program goals

Application Procedure

Apply online through the CLS website.

Hear from a Reedie Awardee

Check out this interview between CLS awardee Isabelle Sinclair '22 and CLBR advisor Shania Siron: