Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Summer Fellowship

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 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. 

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 Program 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 the Institute for Middle East Studies (Middle East Languages) or the Sigur Center (Asian Languages).

The Summer FLAS Program 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

Eligibility Requirements

  • Current undergraduate or graduate student at GWU. Undergraduates or graduates who will graduate in August 2024 or December 2024 are eligible for a summer 2024 award. (Students graduating in May 2024 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.

Program Requirements

  • 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 the Sigur Center (Asian Languages) or the 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 includes a $3,500 living stipend. 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). The 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 the Student Services Hub.
  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Summer FLAS used for?

The Summer FLAS Fellowship competition is open to graduate students and undergraduate students at the intermediate or advanced level of language proficiency for a summer of intensive language study. The study may be undertaken at a domestic institution (such as a US university) or an overseas institution in the region where the target language is spoken. Programs must be at least 6 weeks in duration and consist of 140 contact hours for intermediate study and 120 contact hours for advanced study. Most programs will provide the number of contact hours on their website or provide the information via email. 

How do I obtain approval for my language program from the US Department of Education?

Do not contact the Department of Education individually. GWU is responsible for obtaining approval from the U.S. Department of Education after you have accepted the fellowship. A FLAS coordinator will be in touch with you after you accept the award to gather information on your chosen program. 

The deadline to register for my summer language program is before the date when I will be notified of the results of the Summer FLAS competition. Can I be notified earlier?

No, all applicants are notified in the same timeframe. If you contact the coordinator of your chosen summer program in advance and tell them you are waiting on the results of your FLAS fellowship application they will typically allow you to delay your deposit or formal registration until the results are announced. If they are not willing to do so, please contact your FLAS Coordinator. For students studying the Middle East this contact is: [email protected] For students studying East Asia this contact is: [email protected]

Can I apply for a Summer FLAS if I am graduating the Spring semester beforehand?

If you are, for example, a student who is completing almost all of your degree requirements and only has the language proficiency test left to pass in the following Fall semester in order to graduate, then you are eligible to apply. Likewise, if you have finished your Bachelor’s degree in Spring but have enrolled to start a Masters in the Fall, you would also be eligible to apply for the Summer FLAS. 

However, if you are graduating in May prior to the Summer award cycle, and have no degree components left to complete at GW (and thus are no longer considered to be in “enrolled” status, then you would not be eligible to apply. For any other unique cases, please consult directly with your GW student advisor to confirm whether or not you are considered in enrolled status.

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 summer 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.

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

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

Can I change to a different program than the one I applied with?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis. For such requests, you will need to send your FLAS coordinator information about the new program, including the duration, schedule, and total number of contact hours. 

Can I pursue private tutoring instead of a formal program?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis. For such requests, the tutor’s CV/resume, as well as the syllabus and schedule for the course, must be sent to the FLAS coordinator for approval. The same requirements for program duration and number of contact hours would apply to private tutoring as they would to a formal program.

How do I pay tuition for my summer program?

Upon acceptance to your program, you should receive an invoice from it detailing any tuition deposit and other fees related to the program. Please forward this invoice to your FLAS coordinator at GW. The Summer Award will pay up to $5,000 in tuition fees, including deposit fees, directly to the language program provider. Awardees must communicate with their program staff that GW will be paying for all or a portion of the tuition fees, and put program staff in touch with the GW FLAS coordinator to arrange payment. Do NOT pay for tuition fees yourself, as GW is unable to issue reimbursements to individual students per Department of Education guidelines.

Should tuition plus deposit fees exceed $5,000, individual awardees are required to cover the remaining costs out of pocket. In this situation, following GW’s initial tuition payment, the awardee should reach out to their program for an updated invoice that reflects the balance of tuition and other fees that they still need to pay.

When will I receive my living stipend and how will it be sent to me?

Awardees will receive their living stipend as one lump sum payment, which will be remitted to them after they have provided evidence of their program acceptance letter, flight ticket (for international programs), and other required documentation as outlined by your FLAS Coordinator. Usually, stipends are remitted prior to awardees’ departure for their summer programs in late May or early June. 

Can I defer my award?

Under special circumstances (e.g. COVID-19), the Department of Education may allow awardees to defer their award for up to one year. However, awardees who choose to defer their studies must still be enrolled in GW at the time the deferred program takes place.


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