Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship


The U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship Program provides summer fellowships to institutions of higher education. The grant to GWU, written by the Institute for Middle East Studies and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, assists graduate (Master's, PhD), professional students (JD, MPH, DrPH, MBA and MD) and undergraduate students at George Washington University to further language study and area/international studies. The Summer FLAS fellowships are intended to help students gain the equivalent of a year's worth of college-level language study. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

Due to ongoing uncertainty regarding travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, Summer FLAS applicants should concentrate on finding suitable virtual/online language programs. You can check to see if your preferred virtual program is eligible by submitting details to: IMES (for Middle Eastern languages) or Sigur Center (for Asian languages). Successful FLAS fellows will receive the tuition award as well as the room/board stipend, but are not eligible for the additional airfare/travel stipend.

Note: FLAS fellows may travel to any country that the State Department has listed as Level 1 or 2. Level 3 countries will be reviewed on a case by case basis. For countries like Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel, approval will depend on where in the country the fellow wants to study. Applicants should check the State Department's website periodically and have an alternative country in case a designation changes or the country is not approved. FLAS fellows are not allowed to travel to any country that the State Department has listed as a Level 4.


The Summer FLAS supports undergraduates and graduates enrolled in:

  • formal domestic programs of intensive language study at the intermediate or advanced level in one of the targeted languages
  • formal overseas programs of intensive language study at the intermediate or advanced level in one of the targeted languages.
  • The Summer FLAS also supports graduate students enrolled in:
  • formal domestic programs of intensive language study at the beginning level in one of the targeted languages.
  • If you are a graduate student at the beginning level and would like guidance on suitable programs, please contact IMES (Middle East Languages) or Sigur Center (Asian Languages).

The Summer FLAS does not support:

  • Independent study.
  • Dissertation research.
  • (Applicants seeking research support in relation to Asian languages should apply for a Sigur Center Research Grant.)
  • Internship programs.
  • Undergraduates studying a target language at the beginning level.

The number of awards is contingent on funding.

Targeted Languages

  • Arabic
  • Mandarin
  • Hebrew
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Turkish


  • Current undergraduate or graduate student at GWU. Undergraduates or graduates who will graduate in August 2021 or December 2021 are eligible for a summer 2021 award. (Students graduating in May 2021 or earlier are not eligible.)
  • Citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  • 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.
  • Proposed summer programs must be at least 6 weeks in duration and consist of 140 contact hours for beginning or intermediate study and 120 contact hours for advanced study (meaning formal instruction in a classroom), according to federal regulations.
  • 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.


  • 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.

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 or Middle East 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 Sigur Center (Asian Languages) or Institute for Middle East Studies (Middle East Languages) if you have questions.

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


The award will cover up to $5,000 in tuition and up to $2,500 total for room and board and textbooks. Remaining costs must be covered by the student.

In addition, for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish only, overseas airfare is available up to $2,000.

Awards may be applied only to intensive language study (involving 120-140 contact hours via classroom instruction, usually in a session of at least 6 consecutive weeks) at an accredited college or university in the U.S or abroad.

Summer language study abroad must be at the intermediate or advanced level of proficiency.

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. Due to the high volume of applications received, the committee cannot provide individiual feedback to applicants.

There is no limit on the number of FLAS awards recipients can receive over his/her academic career, but no more than one fellowship can be awarded for the same competition cycle. Applicants may apply for both the Academic Year and Summer FLAS awards.

Applicants who have plans to study at another institution must be sure to meet that institution's deadlines, regardless of FLAS award decisions.


Required Documents

  • Application


  • Statement of Purpose

(1-2 pages, 12-point font and 1.5 spacing) should describe how summer 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. You will also need to provide the contact hours of the program in your essay.

  • Summer Program Information

Description of proposed program of study for summer. Please include copies of relevant materials from your proposed language school or study abroad program that provide course descriptions and total classroom contact hours information. Materials from the institution's website can be included.

  • Budget

The FLAS Summer award will cover up to $5,000 in tuition (excluding fees) and up to $2,500 total for room and board and textbooks. Overseas airfare is available up to $2,000 (for Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish only). Remaining costs must be covered by the student.

  • Transcripts

Please do not submit GWeb transcripts. You may request a free unofficial transcript from the Registrar in Colonial Central.

  • Resume


  • Academic Recommendation

Your recommendation 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 Sigur Center (for Asian Languages) or the Institute For Middle East Studies (for Middle East Languages) but it is strongly advised 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. This includes late recommendation letters.