Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship FAQs

Eligibility Questions

FLAS awards are open to eligible undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students who are:

  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or nationals
  • at the third-year proficiency level or above in Chinese, Korean, or Japanese OR the second-year level or above in Tibetan
  • currently enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a program that combines (or will allow students to incorporate) modern foreign language training and area studies, and who will be enrolled during the entirety of the fellowship award period 

No. Students are eligible to receive more than one FLAS award, so long as it is not during the same award period. 

No. Students who are graduating are not eligible to receive a FLAS fellowship. Students must be enrolled in a program during the entirety of the fellowship award period in order to be eligible to receive a FLAS award. For example, students who wish to apply for an academic year FLAS award must be enrolled for the entire academic year (fall and spring semesters) to receive a FLAS fellowship.

Native speakers of a language are not eligible to receive a FLAS award for that language. On the other hand, as many heritage speakers have some background speaking the language at home but may not necessarily be fluent, they may be eligible to receive a FLAS award as long as they meet all other FLAS eligibility requirements. 

No, all recommendation letters must be in English. If your recommender is unable to submit their letter in English, you must also submit an English translation of the letter in the same PDF. Please note that the letter must be translated by a third party and not by the applicant. 

Yes, as long as they meet all other FLAS requirements, prospective or incoming students are eligible to apply for a summer and/or academic year FLAS award. However, in order to be considered, a separate application through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) Fellowships Application Portal is required. 

FLAS fellowships are intended for undergraduate and graduate students at an advanced proficiency level (3rd-year level or above for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean and 2nd-year level or above for Tibetan) with one exception. Graduate students who have already achieved high advanced proficiency (defined by the Institute as the second semester of the 3rd-year level or above) in a first eligible East Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Tibetan) may apply to receive a FLAS award for a second East Asian language at the beginning or intermediate level. Unfortunately, this exception is not available for undergraduate students at this time. 

Students who wish to apply for this exception should indicate so in their statement of purpose and describe how they obtained proficiency in the first East Asian language. They may also want to consider providing supporting documents (such as a transcript from an institute abroad, results of a proficiency exam, etc.) with their application for further consideration (if available). 

No, FLAS fellowships may not be used for the study of ancient and/or classical languages.  

Students may apply for multiple WEAI and/or FLAS awards. In addition, as long as a student meets all of the eligibility requirements, it is possible for them to receive multiple awards. However, as funding is limited, we keep a record of students' previous awards as well as: 1) where they are in their program (UG, MA, and PhD)? as well as 2) if they have received funding from other sources in order to ensure that funding is distributed equitably.



Summer FLAS Awards

Summer language programs must meet the following criteria in order to be considered FLAS-eligible:

  • Be considered as an intensive language program with the intention of helping students gain the equivalent of a year's worth of study in the target language
  • At least 140 credit or contact hours at the beginning or intermediate level and at least 120 at the advanced level
  • A minimum of 6 weeks in length
  • All virtual and overseas programs require prior approval (at least 30 days in advance) from the U.S. Department of Education


Academic Year Awards

Yes, academic year FLAS recipients are permitted to spend one semester in the U.S. and one semester abroad during their fellowship award period. That being said, they will be required to submit a formal request to do so to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. In addition, the student will also be required to fulfill all requirements of the award, including enrolling in at least 1 language course and 1 area studies course during each semester of the academic year fellowship period. 

Yes, independent studies or directed readings courses may be used to fulfill FLAS area studies or language course requirements. However, prior approval is required and must be requested from the U.S. Department of Education at least 30 days before the start of the program. Please note that approval from the Department of Education is not guaranteed. For more information about what materials must be included in this approval request, please contact WEAI Students Affairs Officer, Elizabeth Peiffer. 

Recipient Requirements

No. The Department of Education requires that all FLAS courses be taken for a letter grade. 

No. Outside language proficiency tests may not be used to satisfy FLAS language evaluation requirements. The U.S. Department of Education requires that all FLAS award recipients complete separate language evaluations with a designated language instructor both directly before and after their fellowship award period. 

Academic year FLAS fellows are typically evaluated by a language instructor from their home institution. On the other hand, Summer FLAS Fellows may be evaluated either by an instructor from their home institution or an instructor from their summer language program.

As you select your language evaluation instructor, please keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Education requires that both pre-and post-FLAS program language evaluations be completed by the same instructor. Therefore, when reaching out to a potential evaluator, please make sure that they are available and agree to conduct both evaluations. It is important to note that it is the responsibility of each FLAS fellow to reach out to their designated language instructor to schedule their evaluation both before and after the fellowship award period. 

Yes. In addition to completing both pre-and post-program language evaluations, all FLAS recipients are required to submit a final report in IRIS (the Department of Education's FLAS database), which includes questions pertaining to courses taken during the fellowship period as well as post-fellowship activities.