FLAS Academic Year Grants

UPDATE: As of 2/3/2021 the U.S. Department of Education is NOT approving overseas travel at this time. Students applying for overseas dissertation research for the 2021/2022 Academic Year may propose both an overseas (Plan A) and domestic (Plan B) option in their application. CAS will review applications as though travel is possible with the hopes that approvals will be granted at a later date. If travel is not approved and a nominated applicant has no domestic option, the nomination will be revoked and a waitlisted candidate will be selected. 

Through funding from the United States Department of Education, the Center for African Studies offers Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships, providing tuition and stipend support for Harvard University graduate students interested in intensive for-credit study of an African language.

Academic Year FLAS Fellowships may be utilized domestically or overseas, for language and area studies. This fellowship may also be used for overseas dissertation research, provided the student is at the advanced level of language proficiency. The use of language in overseas dissertation research must be extensive enough to be able to consider the foreign language improvement facilitated by the research equal to the improvement that would be obtained from a full academic year’s worth of formal instruction. Fellowships require affiliation with an academic institution or organization approved by the Department of Education.

Academic year fellowships provide a tuition grant of up to $18,000, plus a $15,000 stipend to be dispersed monthly over a ten-month period. Remaining tuition and health fees, if any, must be covered by the students’ school of enrollment within Harvard University (i.e. GSAS, GSE, Divinity School). All Non-GSAS applicants must notify their school’s Financial Aid Office that they have applied for a FLAS.

Not all Harvard graduate schools participate in FLAS. Please contact Lindsay Moats at lmoats@fas.harvard.edu to inquire about eligibility. 

List of approved FLAS languages for the Harvard Center for African Studies: 
Afrikaans, Akan, Amharic, Arabic-Sudanese, Arabic-Egyptian, Bamanankan, Chichewa, Dinka, Fulani, Haitian Creole, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, KiKongo, Krio, Lingala, Malagasy, Setswana, Somali, Swahili, Tigrinya, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu


  • Applicant must be a US citizen, US national, or US permanent resident

  • Enrolled in a graduate degree program in one of the Harvard graduate schools. All non-GSAS applicants must notify their school’s Financial Aid Office that they intend to apply for a FLAS Fellowship to ensure the school’s participation. 

  • Applicants agree to be enrolled in one graded FLAS-approved language and one graded area studies course per term; or be engaged in overseas dissertation research in the international aspects of professional (or other) fields of study.

  • For use of fellowship overseas: applicant must agree to be enrolled in an advanced language program overseas approved by the Department of Education; or pursue overseas PhD dissertation research, provided there is affiliation with an overseas institution of higher education or appropriate organization in the host country. Students must submit the following information along with the application: name of institution where the student will be conducting research, the name of a contact at that institution, and the dates of travel.

  • Applicant may not receive concurrent federal support from other sources, except student loans and work/study.

  • Fellows must obtain approval from the FLAS Coordinator for any TF or other work opportunities before accepting them, to ensure compliance with federal regulations and continuation of their grant. Employment may not exceed the value of one-fifth of teaching per term.

    For a full list of requirements, please read through the 2021-2022 Academic Year FLAS Fact Sheet.


The application for the 2021-2022 Academic Year is now OPEN.  Application deadline: February 15, 2021 at 11:59pm. 

Please review the instructions below and above and apply via this CARAT application link: https://carat.fas.harvard.edu/applicant/newApplication?applicationPurpos...

  • Award recipients must complete pre- and post-program self-assessments

  • Award recipients must undergo pre- and post-program evaluation by a language instructor

  • Complete CARAT application form, including the 2021-2022 Academic Year Supplemental Application

  • Current resume/CV

  • Two letters of recommendation (one from a language instructor and one from an area studies instructor). Letters of recommendation should also be submitted through CARAT by the grant deadline. (Recommenders outside Harvard University may e-mail or mail recommendations directly to the Center for African Studies Student Support & Outreach Officer Lindsay Moats at lmoats@fas.harvard.edu or 1280 Massachusetts Ave., 3rd Floor, Cambridge, MA.)

  • Current unofficial transcript

  • A statement of purpose. Statement must include how the program will influence the work in your concentration, your research, and/or your future professional study/career aspirations. Please include the names of published articles and titles of research papers where applicable. Note: The recommended length for the statement of purpose is one page, double-spaced.

  • Additional requirement for Overseas Dissertation Research applicants ONLY:  Applicants must have a project description signed by their academic advisor, and should include the dates of travel abroad, the overseas institution where they will be affiliated, and a contact person at that institution. Please note the Overseas Dissertation FLAS is a research grant, not a writing grant. Where applicable, students should ensure their project has been approved by The Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects.