Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program

Deadline:  November 16, 2021 (The application will launch the application for the summer 2022 CLS Program)

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.

U.C. Berkeley applicants are encouraged to meet with Alicia Hayes, the CLS Advisor for the campus designated to assist students with the CLS application process.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled in a U.S. degree-granting program: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or a professional degree
  • In a degree-granting program physically located in the United States; however, currently enrolled students who are currently on study abroad programs are eligible
  • Undergraduate students must have completed one year of study and be 18 years of age at the start of the program
  • In acceptable mental and physical health
  • Able to get a visa to the host country.

* Please note that you are eligible to apply for one language only. If you submit more than one application, you will not be considered for a scholarship in any language.

Selection Criteria

CLS applications are reviewed by language faculty, area specialists, study abroad professionals, and fellowship advisors as part of the selection process.

Award recipients will be selected on the basis of merit with consideration for:

  • Academic record and potential to succeed in a rigorous academic setting;
  • Ability to adapt to a different cultural environment;
  • Plan for continuation of study of the language; and
  • Plan to use the language in future career.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed on-line application (available at
  • Unofficial transcript from UC Berkeley (and other colleges/universities if classes not transferred and shown on UCB transcript)
  • One recommendation (using CLS form)

All UC Berkeley applicants should make an individual advising appointment with Alicia Hayes, the CLS campus representative. For more information, contact Alicia Hayes.

More information about this opportunity can be found here: CLS Program website.