Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Spark Program


A program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program and CLS Spark are part of a U.S. government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity.

CLS Spark is a virtual initiative for U.S. undergraduate students to learn languages essential to America’s engagement with the world. Designed to leverage best practices in online language learning developed by the CLS Program during the pandemic, CLS Spark provides American students the access and opportunity to start their language learning journeys even when these critical languages may not be offered on their campuses or when they may have responsibilities that limit their ability to go overseas. Participants will spend an academic year learning either Arabic, Chinese or Russian through online classes and activities facilitated by native speakers at a host institution abroad.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old by the start of the program.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of their application.
  • Be enrolled and working towards a degree in an accredited U.S. degree-granting program at the undergraduate (associate's or bachelor's) level at the time of their application.
  • Remain in good academic standing at their institution to remain eligible.

How to Apply

Campus Contact

Past Award Recipients and Honorees







Field(s) of Study







Kaylee Donovan Recipient Biological Sciences Frederick, MD Chinese
2022 Laibah Mir Alternate Political Science Buffalo, NY