FLAS Fellowship (Academic Year)


The Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students who are US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a full-time program (either at Columbia University or overseas) that combines modern foreign-language training with international or area studies.

PhD candidates applying for FLAS dissertation writing or dissertation research abroad must be already at the advanced level of language proficiency. The use of the foreign language in dissertation research must be extensive enough to be able to consider the language improvement facilitated by the research equal to improvement that would be obtained from a full academic year's worth of formal classroom instruction. 

All overseas programs of study must be at the intermediate or advanced level of language proficiency and must be approved by the United States Department of Education at least thirty (30) days prior to the start of the program.

FLAS awards are contingent upon funding from the US Department of Education. Awardees should demonstrate both merit and financial need; as such, all awardees will be requested at a later date to submit their 2023-24 FAFSA.

The FLAS Academic Year grants:

  • Graduate students: tuition grant is $18,000 and the stipend is $20,000
  • Undergraduate students: tuition grant is $10,000 and the stipend is $5,000

FLAS fellows are responsible for the timely payment of the remaining tuition balance and fees.

All Academic Year FLAS awards are for the 2023-24 academic year.

Eligible FLAS Languages are listed below, along with the world area of concentration for which the language was approved and eligible levels of study.

Please note: Columbia University houses FLAS fellowships for the following world areas: Latin America, the Middle East, and South Asia. Approved modern languages in these world areas are eligible to be studied under one of the Columbia-housed FLAS fellowships. Languages for other world areas (e.g. East Asia, Africa, and Europe) are not eligible for Columbia-housed FLAS fellowships.

Language Levels: Undergraduate and graduate students may apply to study only Intermediate or Advanced level of language proficiency. There is one exception for study at the Beginning level: Students who have achieved fluency or high advanced proficiency in one language may apply for study at the Beginning level to learn a second language in the same world area of concentration. If you are applying for this exception, please indicate this in your statement of purpose and describe how you obtained proficiency.

Eligible Latin American Languages

Eligible Middle Eastern Languages

Eligible South Asian Languages

Application deadline: February 1, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. ET for all world areas

Only completed applications submitted by the deadline will be considered. Please read the directions and information carefully for the online application. You must upload all items electronically with the exception of the letters of recommendation, which recommenders must upload directly to the application or email to [email protected]. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are unable to accept any application materials in hardcopy or by mail.

If you are applying to more than one fellowship through this application portal, you must treat each application separately by uploading all items and having recommenders submit a separate letter for each fellowship application.

Applications must include the following items:

  • Completed GSAS online application form
  • Statement of purpose: The one- or two-page statement of purpose should describe your academic purpose, the role the proposed language plays within that academic purpose, and how you intend to use the language. Describe how the language and area study will relate to your educational and career goals. Also indicate previous language experience, both formal and informal.
  • Two letters of recommendation: GSAS prefers that recommenders submit their letters of recommendation electronically to expedite processing. When you enter the names and email addresses of recommenders, they will automatically receive an email with upload information and instructions. You can resend a request by clicking the "Send Reminder" button. Two Letters of Recommendation are required, preferably from instructors who can comment on your work in the target language and appropriate world area. Please make sure that recommenders are given ample time to submit recommendations by the deadline, and notify them if you are applying for more than one fellowship.
  • FAFSA: Applicants must also separately submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  by the FLAS deadline of Wednesday, February 1, 2023 in order to be considered for a FLAS Fellowship.

    The FAFSA opens on October 1 of each year, and students should apply as early as possible. Your Federal Student Aid Report (SAR) should list Columbia's federal school code (002707); if the code has been listed on your FAFSA, then it is very likely that your application has been sent to Columbia University.
  • Academic transcripts: You must upload scanned copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts.

Below are some suggestions for how to upload a transcript:

  • Scan at the lowest DPI that results in a legible document (we recommend using 200 DPI or less whenever possible).
  • Ensure that the institution name and other identifying marks are included and that your scanned copy is clearly legible and can print on letter-size paper (8 ½" x 11").
  • Include the transcript legend (found on the final page, in many cases).
  • Save your document as a PDF file.
  • Make certain that its size is less than 1 MB. Scanning in “grayscale” or black and white may produce the best results.
  • If the scanned file is too large, make a photocopy first (experiment with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size), then scan the photocopy.
  • You may upload an institutional web-based transcript/academic record.
  • The GSAS Fellowship application does not accept encrypted files for upload. If you receive an error message noting that your file is encrypted, please print your transcript, scan it, and then upload the scanned copy. Note: Official Columbia transcript PDFs are encrypted; you may order a paper copy through SSOL or print the official transcript PDF you receive from Parchment, then scan and upload it.

Recommended but not required:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Letter of language evaluation: For applicants who are at the intermediate or advanced level of proficiency, but not enrolled in a language department, a letter of evaluation from a language instructor attesting to proficiency in the language of application is recommended but not required. Evaluators must submit their letters electronically in the manner described above for letters of recommendation.

If you have questions that are not answered here, please check the FLAS FAQs on the GSAS website. If you require further information, please email the contact below for the world area to which you are applying:

  • Institute of Latin American Studies: Eliza Kwon-Ahn: Senior Manager of Business & Student Affairs – [email protected]
  • Middle East Institute: Astrid Benedek, Assistant Director – [email protected]
  • South Asian Institute: William Carrick, Assistant Director – [email protected]; Additional information on South Asia FLAS can be found here.

If you have technical issues or questions regarding the application, please email [email protected].

Note: Columbia students traveling abroad to conduct research, enroll in foreign language or other courses, or attend conferences must register with International SOS, an emergency services program that helps with unexpected medical or security issues, prior to departure.