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Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships

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The Center for African Studies provides Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships through funding from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program. FLAS Fellowships support students taking African languages (Amharic, Arabic, Somali, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba and Zulu) and area studies coursework. The fellowships support intensive for-credit study of an African language and to promote the development of competency in African Studies either in the United States or abroad.

Costs covered by the three types of fellowships are as follows:

  • Academic Year Graduate Fellowships provide $18,000 tuition and $15,000 fixed living stipend.
  • Academic Year Undergraduate Fellowships provide $10,000 tuition and a $5,000 fixed living stipend.
  • Summer fellowships provide $5,000 tuition and $2,500 for living expenses for both graduate and undergraduate students.

See our current and former FLAS Fellows

Goals of the program

  • to assist in the development of knowledge, resources, and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies;
  • to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and
  • to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs.

Howard University graduate and undergraduate students who are US citizens, nationals and permanent residents are eligible for academic year and summer fellowships. Students from other US universities who are US citizens, nationals and permanent residents are eligible only for summer fellowships. Summer fellowships are tenable only at an approved NRC institution or study abroad project.

All candidates must demonstrate a strong academic record based on GPA, strong motivation for language study and high potential for advanced proficiency. The NRC also considers financial need in making allocations.

Academic Year Program Eligibility

Please note: The Academic Year program is subject to funding from the U.S. Department of Education.


  • Be a full-time Howard University graduate or undergraduate student.
  • Be a US citizen, national or permanent resident.
  • Propose a course of study for the academic year that includes both an African language and an African area studies (non-language) course each semester (Fall & Spring). 
  • FLAS funds can only allotted to students in the intermediate or advanced levels. An exception might be made for graduate students at the beginning level of a less commonly taught language if the graduate student has achieved advanced proficiency in another language of the world area of specialization, and if learning a second language of that world area is required for the student’s overall training and expertise.
  • All overseas program requests must be approved by the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) program officer at the US. Department of Education.

Summer Program Eligibility

Please note:

  • Summer fellowships provide students with an opportunity to undertake intensive African language study in any USDE approved program.
  • Summer fellowships cover tuition and fees at the host institution (up to $5,000) and provide a stipend of $2,500. Travel awards may also be available. However, the traveler must certify that their proposed international itinerary is in compliance with the Fly America Act and/or Open Skies agreement.


  • A summer fellowship is awarded only for intensive language study.
  • A summer fellowship may be used at a domestic program, an overseas program or both.
  • All overseas program requests must be approved by the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) program officer at the US. Department of Education.
  • A summer session qualifies (domestic or overseas) as intensive language program if-
    • It is at least six weeks in duration and  offers at least 120 contact hours of instruction for students at the advance level
    • it is at least six weeks in duration and offers at least 140 contact hours for students at the beginning or intermediate level of the language
  • Field trips and excursions cannot be used to fulfill the contact hour requirements
  • Students should receive grades and credits for the language courses.
  • A student may meet the required number of weeks and contact hours by attending one program, attending more than one program, or supplementing hours with private tutoring, as long as the required total number of weeks and contact hours is obtained. If a student’s plan of study includes private tutoring, the FLAS coordinator must submit a syllabus for the tutoring and the instructor’s CV.

Preferred Qualifications

Applicants will be favored who:

  • have clear promise of completing their academic program with concentration in African language and area studies,
  • plan to utilize their training for research in Africa,
  • have excellent academic records as evidenced by GPA, letters of recommendations and
  • demonstrate a financial need.​

Application and Important Dates

The FLAS application period is currently CLOSED. During the application period, apply by filing out the appropriate online application form and submit the required materials below by the deadline.

  • Application Opening: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
  • Application Deadline: Thursday, February 15, 2018
  • Result Announcement: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

In addition to filing out the online application form, you need to submit the following materials.

On each document submitted, be sure to include: your full name, type of FLAS application (Summer or Academic Year), and Year which you are applying for.

  • The materials below are required for submission by the recommender via email:
    • 1. Two letters of recommendation from people who can evaluate your academic credentials. Remind recommenders to include: your full name, type of FLAS application (Summer or Academic Year), and Year which you are applying for. Have the recommenders email the letters directly to wheeler.r.winstead@howard.edu.
  • The materials below are required to be uploaded as PDF files or Word documents within the application.
    • 2. A statement of purpose (2 pages). Your interest in Africa and/or African languages; how the FLAS award will contribute to the work in your concentration, your research, and/or your future professional study/career aspirations; and specifically how you intend to use your knowledge of the language proposed for study. Provide a separate statement of purpose for each application.
    • 3. Current copies of transcripts from your academic institutions. Official copy not necessary.
    • 4. Copy of your registration showing registration for an African Language and African area study course (if available).
    • 5. Current resume or CV- 2 pages maximum.
    • 6. Progress report written by your advisor noting updated status of your coursework /qualifying exams/research proposal.
    • 7. Copy of confirmation page for submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - ONLY confirmation page, not the entire application.
    • 8. Proof of citizenship. For example: copy of passport, birth certificate, naturalization certificate, certificate of citizenship, US permanent resident card (green card).

Fellowship Termination

An institution shall terminate a fellowship if:

  • The fellow is not making satisfactory progress, is no longer enrolled, or is no longer in good standing at the institution; or
  • The fellow fails to follow the course of study – including modern foreign language study – for which he or she applied, unless a revised course of study is otherwise approvable under the FLAS regulations. (Reference: 657.34 (a)(b))


    • Dr. Wheeler R. Winstead, Assistant Director
    • Howard University Center for African Studies
    • 2218 6th Street, NW, Suite 405
    • Washington, DC 20059
    • wheeler.r.winstead@howard.edu