Critical Language Scholarships (CLS)

Please consult the program website to confirm details, including applicable deadlines.

Visit Program Website Here

Program Purpose: 

The Critical Language Scholarships Program is part of the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), a U.S. government effort to dramatically expand the number of Americans mastering critical need foreign languages.

Program Description: 

The Program provides 7- to 10- week group-based intensive language instruction and extensive cultural enrichment experiences at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Supported languages are: Arabic and Persian (at the advanced beginning, intermediate and advanced levels); Azerbaijani, Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu (at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels); and Chinese, Japanese, and Russian (at the intermediate and advanced levels). The summer institutes where these language intensives are taught may be in Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, or elsewhere where the targeted languages are spoken.

Program Benefits: 

All CLS Program costs are covered for participants including: travel to and from the student's U.S. home city and program location, a mandatory Washington, D.C. pre-departure orientation, applicable visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, program-sponsored travel within country, and all entrance fees for CLS Program cultural enhancement activities.

Applicant Profile: 

Participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period, and later apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers in any field. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply.


Sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students.

Selection Criteria: 

Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for: potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting; ability to adapt to a different cultural environment; diversity; plan for continuation of study of the language; and plan to use the language in future career.


U.S. citizens only.

Program Deadline: 

Usually mid-November.

More information: 

"Meet Our Critical Language Scholarship Fellows"

How To Apply: 

Undergraduate and graduate students may apply directly to this program. Applicants are encouraged, however, to work with SF State's Fellowships Office well in advance of the program deadline to perfect their application essays and other materials. To learn more about the Critical Language Scholarship, or to receive feedback on your application materials, feel free to email Dr. Joy Viveros, Executive Coordinator and Advisor of the Fellowships Office, for an appointment.

Resources for Applicants

Why Should You Apply for a Fulbright?

Quick Links

Fellowships Office

Dr. Joy Viveros

Phone: 415.405.2128
Reception: Grad Stop, ADM 250 
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132