CLS Spark Program

CLS Spark is a new program designed to help students learn languages that are vital to American engagement abroad. Like the Critical Language Scholarship, this is a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

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.

  • Arabic for students with no previous experience learning the language
  • Chinese for students with one year of experience learning the language by the start of the program
  • Russian for students with no previous experience learning the language


  • Funding for all instruction and course materials 
  • Language gains certified via ACTFL OPI assessment 
  • A stipend of $300 to go toward equipment and connectivity costs
  • Automatic consideration as a semifinalist for the CLS summer institutes
  • Alumni networks and resources


  • Be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree-granting program at a U.S.-based institution (graduating seniors can apply but may not qualify for the semifinalist status unless they are going directly into graduate school)
  • Must be 18 years of age 

Link to complete eligibility requirements

Deadline: Mid-November, 2023

Campus Contact:

Nives Dal Bo-Wheeler, (Office of Major Scholarships, Director)