Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowship

Academic Year 2023-24
Deadline to Apply: Feb. 1, 2023


Each year CSEAS selects qualified graduate students to study Southeast Asian languages and area studies as Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellows. FLAS fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Title VI Program and cover NIU tuition, student fees and insurance. Fellows also receive a ten-month stipend. NIU offers a wide range of area studies courses (see course offerings) and the following Southeast Asian languages: Burmese, Indonesian, Khmer, Tagalog and Thai.

The FLAS application process is now online; completed applications must be submitted in full by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. If you use the same browser on the same device, you may leave and return to the application.

You may apply for both summer and academic-year FLAS awards with one application by Feb. 1. Indicate on the form that you wish to be considered for both summer and academic-year FLAS awards. You will not have to submit another language reference form or collect additional letters of recommendation for consideration in the academic-year round. For details, email CSEAS Office Administrator Tiffany Adams at

Requirements for Application

  • You must be a citizen, national or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • You must be enrolled as full-time students or accepted at NIU.
  • Your online application must be submited by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. Through the online application, you will be requested to submit the application and these additional materials:
    • Transcripts showing degree(s) granted and/or in process (PDF for NIU; PDF and hard copy for non-NIU)
    • Curriculum vitae (PDF)
    • Statement of purpose explaining your need for one of the offered Southeast Asian languages as part of your academic program, your previous language learning experiences both formal and informal and your commitment and plans more broadly for the study of Southeast Asia.
    • Other materials where applicable (e.g., graduate test scores, copy of green card for Permanent Residents)

You must also solicit two letters of recommendation from those in a position to evaluate your academic credentials. Direct referees to the online letter of recommendation form. Ongoing language students with previous training in a Southeast Asian language must also submit the language reference form.

In reviewing applications, the Fellowships Committee will give consideration to the following criteria (not inclusive and not in order):

  • The degree to which the applicant has taken Southeast Asian area courses in his/her major field as well as courses in other departments
  • The clarity of the applicant's need for language training and how this language will be used
  • The level of language to be studied (priority given to advanced students)
  • The degree being sought
  • Financial need

We encourage applications from students at all levels, but some priority will be given to master's and Ph.D. students with a commitment to a career in government, such as foreign service, international trade, security, Peace Corps volunteer or translation.

Award Provisions and Reporting Requirements

  • FLAS awards carry a ten-month stipend of $20,000 ($2,000/month for 10 months), a tuition waiver (provided by the NIU Graduate School), payment of regular class fees and health insurance for the academic year. You are responsible for special materials or lab fees.
  • You must enroll as a full-time student (nine credit hours minimum). All classes must be taken for graded credit. Auditing is not permitted.
  • You must register for a minimum of one course per semester in your selected Southeast Asian language.
  • In addition to the language course, you must register for a minimum of one course (three credit hours minimum) per semester in a center-approved Southeast Asia course (at least 50 percent Southeast Asia content).
  • You must inform the center of any change in his/her program of study, residence or academic status.
  • You must present a paper at the Southeast Asia Club's annual Spring Student Conference or at a different conference (with the approval of the CSEAS director).
  • You must complete the pre-self-assessment in IRIS (the online reporting system used by the U.S. Department of Education) at the beginning of the school year as well as a final student report, which must be completed before the recipient's final stipend check for May will be issued. In addition to your self-assessments, an NIU language instructor will submit pre- and post-language evaluations in IRIS.
  • In addition, you are strongly encouraged to participate in extracurricular events sponsored by CSEAS and the Southeast Asia Club.
  • In accordance with federal regulations, if you are awarded and accept a fellowship, you agree to complete a U.S. Department of Education survey once every two years for 10 years to report back about your employment, education or training after graduation.

In accordance with NIU policy, any student awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship will have their student financial aid reduced by the dollar amount equal to the fellowship award. Requirements and conditions are subject to change.

A federally funded national resource center since 1997, CSEAS provides leadership, focus and coordination for Southeast Asian studies at NIU.

Contact Us

Center for Southeast Asian Studies
520 College View Court