Frequently Asked Questions

If you have additional questions not answered below or questions about the application & selection process, please email awards@iris.wisc.edu. If you have questions about support for a particular language or center priorities, please contact the FLAS coordinator of the appropriate center.

Questions about eligibility

Who is eligible to receive a FLAS fellowship?
Graduate and undergraduate students who are US citizens or nationals or permanent residents and who are enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) in a degree program that combines modern foreign language training with international or area studies or with the international aspects of professional or other fields of study.
Can I receive a summer FLAS if I will graduate the previous spring?
No. You must be an enrolled student at the time of the award. You are however eligible for a summer FLAS if you will graduate at the end of the summer.
May I apply for a FLAS if I am not a UW student?
Students enrolled in degree programs at institutions other than UW are welcome to apply for summer FLAS awards for language programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Non-UW-Madison students are not eligible to apply for academic year FLAS awards. Contact the FLAS coordinator of your language for specific guidance.
Is there a limit on the number of FLAS fellowships I can receive?
There is no limit on the number of sequential FLAS awards one person may receive, but you cannot receive multipe awards for the same term.
Can I apply for both a summer FLAS and an academic year FLAS in the same year?
Yes. Academic year and summer FLAS awards are two separate competitions requiring two complete and separate applications and you can apply for both in the same competition cycle.
Can I receive both a FLAS and another fellowship during the same period?
Sometimes. But note that some awards, scholarships, or fellowships cannot be held concurrently with a FLAS and there are some limits to the total amount of funding that you may receive. It may be possible to defer some awards to after the FLAS fellowship, but FLAS fellowships cannot be deferred. Please consult your FLAS coordinator.
Can I apply for a single semester award during the academic year?
No. An academic year FLAS is awarded for the full academic year (starting in the fall and concluding in the spring semester of the award year).

Questions about the application process

What information is required for the application?
Please refer to the sample applications for academic year or summer, as appropriate (sample applications show graduate student writing prompts; complete prompts for both undergraduate & graduate students can be found below). Note that AY and summer are two separate competitions for which two separate and complete applications are required.
Can I apply to more than one center?
Yes. You will not be allowed to receive two concurrent awards, but you are welcome to submit applications to more than one center. Please keep in mind that if you are applying to more than one center you should prepare your applications in a way that reflects your need for the language as it relates to your research, academic or career goals in the region of the world represented by each center.
Am I at a disadvantage if I apply for both a summer and academic year award during the same competition year?
No. The two competitions are separate.
How can I get a copy of my GRE scores? (graduate students only)
You do not need to submit a copy of your GRE scores with your application. Simply enter the scores and dates in the appropriate field of the application. Your home department may be contacted to verify that the information you have entered is correct.
What if I do not have GRE scores? (graduate students only)
Some FLAS awarding centers require you provide GRE (or other graduate-level exam) scores. Others do not. Please check with the FLAS coordinator of the center/s you are applying to.
Are any substantial written statements or essays part of the application?
Yes. Applicants are asked to respond to 2-3 different writing prompts as part of each FLAS application depending on status (undergraduate or graduate student) and award being applied for (summer and/or academic year).
Undergraduates respond to the following, for both summer & academic year awards: (1) Describe how the study of your chosen language at the intermediate or advanced level relates to the rest of your undergraduate education (1200 word max); and (2) What are your career objectives and how might intermediate- or advanced-level competence in this language help you meet them? That is, describe your career goals and discuss how your undergraduate studies at UW-Madison, in particular your study of this language and its associated world region, will facilitate your professional engagement after your graduation (1200 word max).
Graduate students respond to the following, for both summer & academic year awards: (1) Describe how the language and area training you receive during the period of your FLAS fellowship will help prepare you to achieve your academic and career goals (600 word max ; (2) Describe your training to date, your academic plans for this coming year [summer]/your primary research interests [AY], and the themes in your coursework and/or thesis or dissertation project (1200 word max); and (3 - for summer awards only) Why is it necessary for you to take intensive language training in the summer (1200 word max)?
We suggest applicants prepare and save copies of their responses off-line before adding them to their application/s.
Do I need to submit a bibliography with my essays?
Bibliographies per se are discouraged, but if you wish, you may include relevant citations parenthetically.
Who should I ask for letters of recommendation from?
The best letters are from instructors who know you well and can speak in detail and with familiarity to your academic abilities, work in the classroom, and in support of the skills that make you a strong language student. That said, every center has different priorities and interests in who provides recommendations. Some might want one of your letters from a past language instructor while others don't. Some centers might want to see letters from faculty only; others will accept letters from staff and/or non-academic recommenders. Please contact the relevant FLAS coordinator/s for more information on any center-specific recommendation requirements or preferences.
Is it possible to check to see if my references have submitted their letters?
Yes. When logging into the website you can select the "Review Existing Applications" option which will take you to a list of all the applications you have initiated. There is a "Check Reference Letters" option for each application which will allow you to see the current status and, if needed, send a reminder to your reference. It is the applicant's responsiblity to make sure that all references are in the system by the application deadline.
What happens after I submit my application?
Recipients, alternates, and non-recipients will receive email notification of their status within a month or two of the application deadline. Award letters will contain more information about FLAS fellow obligations, awards requirements, payment processes, registration, etc.
Who will review/evaluate my application?
Each center has a review and selection committee that will evaluate and rank applicants. Undergraduate and graduate applications are ranked separately and are not in competition with each other.
Each center's review committee comprises scholars adept at reading across disciplines, so do not be shy about referring to specialized literatures, theories, or methods as appropriate. At the same time, do not try to impress the committee with arcane vocabulary or references. The best statements are clear and written in plain English, show seriousness and purpose, and are true to the challenges in your field of study and to your current stage of training. The evaluation committee understands that beginning graduate students may have rudimentary plans, while more advanced students will be able to lay out plans for major research projects in some detail. Likewise, the evaluation committee understands that essays from applicants in professional schools or other non-thesis degree programs will be quite different from essays written by students planning theses or dissertations, which in turn will be quite different from those of undergraduate students. Therefore, respond to all questions to address your specific situation and do not try to tailor your application to fit some perceived ideal candidate.

Questions about FLAS usage

Can a FLAS award be used to participate in an internship program?
FLAS regulations do not currently allow for internship experiences while a student is engaged in FLAS coursework or language training. The reason is that an academic year FLAS fellowship requires a full-time commitment to area studies and language training or dissertation research abroad during the academic year, and a summer fellowship requires the equivalent of an academic year commitment to language study. An internship that is part of a study abroad program however may be possible. Contact your FLAS coordinator about a specific internship if you feel it meets the full-time study requirement.
Is a FLAS fellow allowed to work during the award period?
Yes. FLAS fellows are allowed to work, on or off campus.
The most common employment for graduate students during the FLAS period is as a teaching or graduate assistant. However do keep in mind that employment alongside a FLAS fellowship may affect your ability to devote the required amount of time to your language study and coursework.
If I receive an academic year FLAS can I take a semester off and finish the award during a subsequent period?
No. FLAS fellowships are awarded for the full academic year (starting in the fall semester and concluding in the following spring semester).
Can I request a pass/fail grade for my courses?
Students must receive grades and credits for the language and area studies courses supported by a FLAS fellowship. In general all courses taken during the FLAS should be graded and for credit. However, in some cases, a student may enroll in a course that is only offered as pass/fail. In these instances, the FLAS fellow should contact the FLAS coordinator and provide a justification for taking the course pass/fail.
Can I use my FLAS at a different US institution?
Yes but only for/during summer awards.
Can I use the FLAS for a reading knowledge course?
No. FLAS is designed to give students proficiency in speaking and writing, as well as reading and listening.
Can I use the FLAS for beginning level of language study?
Undergraduate students may not apply for a FLAS at the beginning level of language study; undergraduate students must be applying to study at the intermediate (2nd year) or advanced (3rd year or above) level of a less commonly taught language to receive a fellowship.
Graduate students might be granted an exception to allow study of the beginning level of a less commonly taught language with FLAS support if the 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. Graduate students who are applying for beginning language study will need to explain why an exception should be granted as part of their application.
Can I take distance education/remote learning courses on a FLAS?
Distance courses may be approved to fulfill FLAS requirements. Please contact the relevant FLAS coordinator for more information.
Can I take independent study or a directed reading course to fulfill either the language or area studies course requirements while on a FLAS?
Independent study or directed reading courses may be used to fulfill the area studies or language course requirements of an academic year fellowship. Upon receipt of an award, the FLAS fellow will need to provide supporting evidence to the FLAS awarding center well in advance to request approval. Supporting evidence includes a syllabus, the instructor’s curriculum vitae, and an explanation of why an independent study is necessary.
Beyond classwork, is anything required of FLAS Fellows?
All fellows must nominate a qualified instructor of the FLAS language to complete pre- and post-award proficiency assessments of the fellow (this will usually be your language instructor). In addition, all fellows will be required to fill out post-award reports for the US Department of Education and will be surveyed periodically in the years following their award.

About academic year awards

What does an academic year FLAS fellow receive?
For the academic year the FLAS stipend is $5,000 for undergraduates and $15,000 for graduate students. Undergraduates receive up to $5,000 towards tuition each semester; graduate students receive full tuition and fees.
What can I use an academic year FLAS for? Academic year FLAS fellowships are awarded for a full academic year to students engaged in:
formal full-time language and area studies coursework at UW-Madison;
or...
formal full-time language and area studies coursework as part of a UW IAP official undergraduate overseas program;
or...
full-time dissertation research abroad. Dissertation FLAS fellowships must be used to conduct research abroad. Only students at the advanced level of the language are eligible to receive an AY fellowship to conduct dissertation research. Using the language to conduct the dissertation research project must provide the FLAS fellow the intensive training that a full academic year of formal classroom instruction would provide.
What if I'm a dissertator but I don't have advanced language skills?
Not all awarding centers allow dissertators to receive FLAS awards. In some cases, FLAS awards may be used for dissertation research abroad (see above). In rare instances, dissertators may receive FLAS for language study at UW-Madison, in which case they must suspend their dissertator status and follow all requirements for graduate awards. All dissertators must have prior approval of the Department of Education. The approval process is initiated by the center prior to awarding a fellowship; no approval is needed at time of application. Those dissertators proposing overseas research must also demonstrate an affiliation with a university or research organization in the country of research, and a research visa, if required. A two-page dissertation proposal, signed by the advisor, must be included with the application of all dissertators.
Do I have to take specific classes?
FLAS recipients must take at least one language course and one area studies course each semester. Some centers maintain approved course lists. Please check with the appropriate FLAS coordinator.
How many credits do I need to take?
Fellows must engage in full-time study during the tenure of the award as defined by UW-Madison. In addition, awardees must take at least one (1) course in the language of the award at the appropriate level and a related world area or international course each semester. FLAS fellows must remain in academic good standing (satisfactory progress toward a degree, enrolled full time, attend classes faithfully, completing course requirements on schedule).

About summer awards

Summer FLAS fellowships are intended to help students gain the equivalent of a year's worth of college-level language study during the summer. FLAS supports students enrolled in:
formal domestic programs of intensive language study at the intermediate or advanced level; graduate student may apply for beginning level study with the above-outlined exception only;
or...
formal overseas programs of intensive language study at the intermediate or advanced level (2nd year or 3rd year and above, depending on the language);
or...
formal overseas programs of intensive study at the beginning level of languages for which appropriate equivalent instruction is not available in the United States (graduate students only & with exception outlined above).
To be considered "intensive", a language program must offer a minimum of 140 contact (class-time) hours (120 for advanced level) and must last a minimum of 6 weeks.
What does a summer FLAS Fellow receive?
Summer FLAS fellows, both graduate & undergraduate students, receive up to $5,000 towards the tuition and fees of their approved summer program. The FLAS stipend for summer awardees is $2,500 (for both undergraduate and graduate students).
How do I apply for a FLAS to study at the South Asia Summer Language Institute (SASLI)?
SASLI awards FLAS fellowships to graduate students only for study at the South Asia Summer Language Institute. If you will be attending SASLI and are not a UW-Madison graduate student, you must complete a FLAS application through the online system, selecting the SASLI competition for the appropriate year. UW-Madison graduate students attending SASLI should contact Andrea Fowler in the Center for South Asia to determine which application should be submitted. See the SASLI website for more information.
Does a summer FLAS include a travel award?
No. However students may be eligible for a summer travel award of up to $1,000, or the actual cost of travel to and from the program site, whichever is less. Travel awards are made at the discretion of the awarding center if funds permit and only with the approval of the US Department of Education. Contact your FLAS coordinator for more information.
May I switch languages after I submit my application?
Requests to change programs are handled by each center's FLAS coordinator. Your FLAS application is based on a proposal to study a specific language and is evaluated based upon that language and how it supports your academic, research and career goals. Before you prepare an application for a summer FLAS, you should thoroughly research available programs for your proposed language of study.
Do I have to take specific classes?
As a summer FLAS fellow you must take language classes at an intensive summer language program. The language classes you are enrolled in must provide you with a minimum of 140 in-class contact hours (120 contact hours if you are at the advanced, 3rd-year level) and last a minimum of six weeks. You can not use area studies classes – even if they are taught in the FLAS language – to fulfill the language class contact hour requirements. Please check with the appropriate FLAS coordinator for more details.