East Asia: Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Academic Year Fellowship (Fall 2024 Admissions)

Deadline: February 15, 2024
Thu, 15 February, 2024 12:00am

The U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program provides academic year fellowships to institutions of higher education. The grant to GWU was written by the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies.

The fellowship provides support to graduate students (MA and doctoral) in the following GW schools:

  • The Elliott School of International Affairs (ESIA)
  • The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences (CCAS)
  • The Graduate School of Education & Human Development (GSEHD)

Executive education students are not eligible for FLAS. Purely online programs are not eligible. Graduate students in other GW schools (CPS, GWSB, Law, Milken, Nursing and SMHS) are not eligible for the FLAS Academic Year Fellowship but can still be considered for the FLAS Summer. Interested applicants from other schools should follow up with their respective deans's offices.

Fellowship recipients must enroll in one eligible language course (in Mandarin, Japanese, or Korean) and one eligible area studies course (that covers East Asia) each semester.
Targeted Languages

  • Mandarin
  • Japanese
  • Korean


Eligibility Requirements

  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States. 
  • Incoming or current GWU graduate students (PhD and Master's candidates) who will be enrolled for Fall 2024 and Spring 2025 for Academic Year Awards. Summer study will not be covered by this award. Preference is for full-time students. Part-time students will be considered, but if awarded, must go to full-time status for both semesters of the academic year during which they receive the award. 
  • The applicant must be in good standing in any discipline or program with an international studies focus. Formal language study must also be an important component of the applicant's academic program, and enrollment in a target language class in each semester of the academic year of the award is required. 
  • While applications from language learners at any proficiency level will be considered, priority will be given to applicants at the intermediate level or beyond. Because the grant is supported with funds from the US Government, applicants demonstrating interest in public service careers are given special consideration. 
  • PhDs applying for dissertation research or dissertation writing and Master's candidates applying for study abroad research are welcome to apply.
  • While not required to submit a FAFSA to be considered, applicants who have established need by submitting a FAFSA will receive preference. 



  • Recipients of the FLAS are required to make pre- and post-award reports online to the U.S Department of Education and will be surveyed every two years following their award for a period of up to eight years.
  • Recipients will take pre- and post-award language proficiency assessments.
  • Recipients of the award must: 
    • enroll in 1 language course per semester.
    • enroll in 1 area-studies course per semester. 
  • Recipients are permitted to undertake additional part-time work (on campus or off campus), but not totaling no more than 20 hours a week.

*The award is contingent upon the classes listed in the application. If awarded, proposed changes must be submitted to the Sigur Center ([email protected]).


Study Abroad/Dissertation Research/Dissertation Writing

Master's candidates may study abroad on the FLAS Academic Year award, but must adhere to the award requirements: one course in the targeted language and one area-studies course (Asian Studies area course). For PhD candidates, the use of the foreign language in the dissertation research must be sufficient enough to equal language improvement in a formal classroom instruction setting. This is also applicable to dissertation writing here at GWU. Please email the Sigur Center ([email protected]) if you have questions.

(Overseas airfare must be in compliance with the Fly America Act.) 



Awards will cover up to 20 credits for the academic year. Each fellowship includes an institutional payment and a subsistence allowance. The estimated institutional payment for an academic year fellowship is $18,000 for a graduate student, and the estimated subsistence allowance for an academic year fellowship is $20,000 for a graduate student. (Awards do not cover Summer Sessions and do not cover fees.) (Awards are contingent on renewal of the U.S. Department of Education grant.)

Awardees will be chosen by a GW committee on a competitive basis from eligible applicants based on their academic performance, the relevance of language study to their academic programs, their career and professional goals, and their demonstrated ability in foreign language study. There is no limit on the number of FLAS awards recipients can receive over their academic career, but no more than one fellowship can be awarded for the competition cycle. Applicants may apply for both the Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards.

Students will be notified of award decisions no later than Monday, April 1, 2024.


Application Requirements

All application materials must be submitted via the online fellowships application portal (link goes to fellowship forms and student selects what they are applying to).

  • Application
  • Statement of Purpose
    • The Statement of Purpose should show how language study will complement your academic program and contribute to your career goals and interests. Please include a statement describing the international studies focus of your degree program. Language must be integral to your academic program.
    • If you are a PhD candidate applying for dissertation research abroad, you must give details on how your language skills will improve outside formal classroom instruction. This is also applicable to dissertation writing here at GWU.
    • The Statement of Purpose can be up to three pages and should be in 12-point font, 1.5 spacing.
  • Transcripts
    • Incoming students must submit undergraduate transcripts.
    • Current full-time students with at least 9 GW credits completed and part-time students with at least 6 GW credits completed are only required to submit unofficial or official GW transcripts. If you are a current student and do not meet this requirement, you must submit undergraduate transcripts. 
  • Resume
  • Two Academic Recommendations
    • Your first recommendation should be from a professor familiar with your academic ability and potential. If possible, your second letter should be from a language professor. 
    • Recommendations will be submitted via our online system. Applicants in the online portal should enter the emails and names of their recommenders when prompted in the recommendation section of the online application. Recommenders will then receive an email request to complete his/her recommendation. Applicants will be sent an email confirmation from the system when the recommendations have been submitted. 
    • Recommendation letters can be emailed to the Sigur Center ([email protected]) but it is strongly advised that recommendations are uploaded with the application.

Committee decisions are final. Due to the high volume of applications received for this fellowship, feedback on decisions cannot be provided to applicants. We will not make exceptions for late submissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive a FLAS Fellowship?

Academic Year FLAS: Graduate students in the Elliott School, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, or the Graduate School of Education & Human Development who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

May I apply for the fellowship if my degree is not in the language or area studies?

Yes. Graduate students in the Elliott School, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, or the Graduate School of Education & Human Development are eligible for the Academic Year FLAS fellowship as long as they enroll in one eligible language course (in Chinese,  Japanese, or Korean) and one eligible area studies course (that covers East Asia) each semester. Undergraduate and Graduate students from any program are eligible for the Summer FLAS, which covers the costs of summer language study in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.

I see that I need to be enrolled in one language course and one area studies course. For the remainder of my credits, may I enroll in any classes that I want? Do these courses have to be graded?

As long as you enroll in one eligible language course (in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean) and one eligible area studies course (that covers East Asia) each semester, the remaining courses you take are at your discretion. Your eligible language and area studies courses must be taken for credit and you must receive a formal letter grade (they cannot be taken pass/fail).

Does the area studies course have to be taken in a particular department?

The area studies course does not need to be offered by any particular department, but to be eligible the course should typically have the region in its title (ie, “Korean Peninsula” or “East Asia” etc). If the course title does not reflect the regional focus you should inquire with the relevant FLAS coordinator ([email protected]) to see if the course will satisfy the requirement. Please obtain a copy of the syllabus or course description from the faculty member leading the course and supply this to the FLAS coordinator so they can make a timely decision.

Is a FLAS fellow allowed to work during the award period?

Students are permitted to undertake work totaling no more than 20 hours a week during the fellowship period (on or off campus).

What does an academic year FLAS Fellow receive?

The fellowship provides a $20,000 living stipend and covers 20 credits of tuition. (Approximately half of this tuition assistance is provided by the US Department of Education, the other half is covered by the George Washington University). The living stipend of $20,000 is allocated in equal monthly payments during the fellowship period. This fellowship does not pay for university fees, which remain the responsibility of the student.

Can I use the Academic Year FLAS to cover study abroad tuition for one semester?

Yes. However, Academic Year winners using the FLAS award abroad must remain enrolled at GW through a formal study abroad partnership or ensure their study abroad credits transfer to GW.  This is determined by the Office of Study Abroad.  All programs abroad must also be approved by the U.S. Department of Education prior to departure. Fellows should submit their program choices to their FLAS coordinators to secure Department of Education approval. 

What if GW doesn't offer a language class that matches my proficiency level (i.e. my level is too advanced)?

If you study any of the FLAS-eligible languages at a level that is over what is currently offered at GW, you may consult directly with a language instructor at GW to design an independent study course which matches your skill level while fulfilling award requirements. The syllabus and schedule of the course, as well as the instructor’s CV, must then be sent to your FLAS coordinator for approval by the Department of Education.

I want to take a course to fulfill the area studies requirement that isn’t explicitly about the area of study, but a research project is required that will make up 50% of the final grade and can be about the region in question. Is this allowed?

Yes, these courses may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the FLAS coordinator and Department of Education. Awardees should forward information about the course and final project to their coordinator before the semester begins.

What are the pre- and post-evaluations for the awards?

These consist of short oral evaluations (no more than 15-20 minutes in length) with a GW language instructor at the beginning and end of the academic year to measure progress in proficiency, as required by the Department of Education. Awardees are recommended to request that their current language instructors serve as their FLAS evaluators. If they do not have an instructor, their FLAS coordinator can help pair them with one as appropriate. 

In addition, for the East Asian languages award, awardees are required to complete a self-assessment of their proficiency level in their chosen language using GW’s online self-administered diagnostic test at the beginning and end of the academic year for reporting purposes. A link to the testing website will be sent to awardees by their FLAS coordinator.

Can I switch to another language after being awarded a FLAS?

No. You will need to reapply with a new proposal.


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