Career Strategy Fellowships Study Abroad Summer Session


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Before moving forward with your Light Fellowship application, please read this page carefully and ensure that you meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below.  On this page, you will also find our general selection criteria.

TOC: Light Fellowship Eligibility and Criteria

Information Session

  • You must attend one of the Light Fellowship information sessions during the academic year of your application. No credit will be given for having attended information sessions in previous academic years, since application requirements may change from year to year. Previous Light Fellows who are applying again must therefore attend another information session.

Date: Check our Calendar for information session and application deadline dates!

Question: If you are unable to attend an information session because you are currently on a Leave of Absence, you may submit an email petition to explaining your circumstances and requesting a waiver of this requirement.  

Student Status

  • You must be a registered and enrolled Yale student. All undergraduate students (including graduating seniors), master's degree students, and professional school students are eligible to apply.
  • Ph.D. students are eligible to apply to the Light Fellowship only if your language study in East Asia would be completed prior to submitting your prospectus.
  • Students on a Leave of Absence are eligible to apply. Students who have withdrawn are not.

Language Study

  • By the competition deadline, you must have completed or be in the process of completing at least one semester of language class at Yale in the language(s) you are proposing to study.  Students who pass out of L1 and take L2 in the spring are not eligible until the following year.
  • You must have already completed one year of language study at Yale or at an equivalent program (i.e. if you are a transfer, graduate, or professional school student who studied the language at another undergraduate institution) by the time you embark on your studies abroad.  For example, if you are a first-year student applying to study Chinese the summer after your first year, you must take Chinese in both the fall and spring terms.

Note: Due to limited L5 Japanese and Korean course offerings at this time, if you are a first-year or sophomore Yale College student who has placed in L5 in Japanese or Korean and are only able to take one semester of language class due to scheduling conflicts, you may email explaining your circumstances and requesting a waiver of this requirement.

Term of Study

  • First-year students can apply for a Light Fellowship to study abroad ONLY for the summer after your first year at Yale.
  • Students who graduate in December may apply to study in the spring after you graduate and may also submit a new application for study in the summer and academic year following that spring. Students in this situation must meet with Light Fellowship staff to discuss your plans.

Former Light Fellows

  • The Light Fellowship encourages applications from students multiple times throughout their Yale careers; however, Light Fellowship funding will normally be granted to a particular student for no more than four terms, with a summer counting as a term.
  • Former Light Fellows who are applying for another Light Fellowship must have completed all prior reporting requirements (program reporting, survey, program transcript), as stipulated in your Light Fellowship Award Agreement. Former Light Fellows must also attend a new information session.

General Selection Criteria

  • Commitment to language study
  • Timing of language study abroad / Appropriateness of proposed program
  • Clarity and feasibility of overall plan
  • Performance in the language classroom
  • Seniors, graduate, and professional students applying for post-graduate fellowships are strongly encouraged to propose programs of study that include at least an academic year.
  • Light Fellowships are awarded for intensive language study only, not for archival research or other purposes.
  • Preference will be given to applicants whose language abilities would undergo significant improvement (as opposed to relatively minor advances to already proficient language skills) and who would utilize these improved language abilities as part of a coherent, long-term plan

Next Steps

Once you have confirmed that you meet all of the eligibility requirements above, we encourage you to learn about our application process.  Remember that applying for the Light Fellowship is a competitive process, and many parts of the application - including the personal statement, résumé, transcript, and recommendation(s) - can take time to complete and obtain.

Note: Next Step: Learn about our Application Process