The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers American college and university students an immersive summer opportunity to learn languages crucial to the country's engagement with the rest of the world.


The CLS Program offers college and university students in the United States the chance to study many languages and cultures that are vital to the country's global participation.

Every summer, undergraduate and graduate students from American colleges and institutions across the nation spend eight to 10 weeks at an intensive study abroad institute learning one of fourteen languages. The CLS Program is intended to encourage quick language learning and crucial intercultural proficiency in areas that are key to the national security and economic well-being of the United States. 

The CLS Program's CLS Spark program offers American undergraduate college and university students the chance to electronically begin studying Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

When students may not have access to studying these languages on their campuses, CLS Spark gives them the chance to do so electronically by utilizing best practices in online language learning.

The U.S. Department of State sponsors and receives funding from the U.S. Government for the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program. American Councils for International Education supports its adoption. 

Alumni Opinions of the CLS Program 

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The CLS Program gives its students intense teaching in both language and culture in a setting created to enhance their language learning at every level.

Alumni of the Two People Icon Career Ready Skills program utilize their crucial language abilities in a range of government, business, and public sector careers, enhancing America's overall competitiveness.

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The diversity and breadth of the United States are represented by CLS scholars. They contribute to the dissemination of American principles and the growth of international understanding through their personal engagement.

Languages Available

View the complete list of languages that the CLS Program offers. 

I'd like to thank the CLS Program for helping me reach the level of skill needed for my career. My company listed my language abilities as one of the key characteristics that set me apart from other candidates.

Persian John Krzyzaniak CLS News & Stories for 2016

Marshall, Rhodes, and Schwarzman Scholarships awarded to CLS Alumni

The CLS Program was happy to discover that numerous CLS Alumni had been chosen for extremely selective prizes to finance their graduate studies at the end of December.

Kyra Jasper (Indonesian 2021) was chosen as one of the 40 people who will be Marshall Scholars in 2023.

With approximately...

6 January 2023 

Review of the 2022 Alumni Ambassador Program

Alumni Ambassadors supported the CLS Program and encouraged language learning in their communities in 2022 by their enthusiasm, knowledge, and giving of time. For their dedication to the program, Alumni Ambassadors are always appreciated, and we take pleasure in creating this summary of their acco...

30 December 2022

Alumni Spotlight: Emma Tobin Communications Officer Rori DiFiore had the chance to chat with Emma Tobin, a 2019 Arabic graduate, on how learning a vital language has helped her to become a more effective supporter of women's issues.

Emma discusses her upbringing as a child of a third culture, where she developed an interest in Arabic original...

21 December 2022

Building Bridges Through Language and Art in Korea

Channah Lohman submitted the request (Korean 2022). Channah is a Communications student. & Anthropology at Central Florida University. She aspires to one day combine her passion of the arts and the Korean language with a profession that promotes understanding across many cultures and nations. Channah took part...

15 December 2022

Donika and Hannah, recipients of the CLS in the Press Critical Language Scholarships, talk about their experiences.

Students from Community College of Philadelphia Hannah Mc-Kay Simmons (Chinese 2022), a major in international studies, and Donika Campbell (Arabic 2022), a major in respiratory care technology, discuss the benefits of the CLS Spark program for students.

shared on November 22, 2022, from Community College of Philadelphia 

Podcast: Drum Tower is unveiled

The Economist's new weekly podcast "Drum Tower," co-hosted by Alice Su (Arabic 2013), features correspondents from the publication delving into subjects that are vital to China and its evolving place in the globe.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program offers American college and university students an immersive summer opportunity to learn languages crucial to the country's engagement with the rest of the world.

The Economist, November 14, 2022, shared 

The American Government provides financing for the Critical Language Scholarship Program, which is funded by the US Department of State. American Councils for International Education supports its adoption.

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