Chinese Language Fellowship Program FAQs

How has the Chinese Language Fellowship Program responded to the COVID-19 pandemic?

We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic since January 2020 and quickly relocated the four fellows from the first class who were studying in China to Taiwan in February-March 2020. The entire first class of CLFP fellows completed their full year of in-region language training in Taiwan in August 2020.

The second class of CLFP fellows have started online classes in September 2020. If circumstances improve and in-person classes resume as the school year progresses, NBR will reevaluate the situation and allow for relocation to China or Taiwan on a case-by-case basis.

Does the Chinese Language Fellowship Program support online Chinese Language classes?

Under the current circumstances, in which fellows are unable to travel to Taiwan or China to take classes in person, NBR supports CLFP fellows taking online classes through credited language programs in Taiwan or China.

I am a PhD student in a discipline other than political science. Can I still apply for this fellowship?

Yes. Although the fellowship is primarily designed for PhD students in political science, NBR and the independent advisory council will give full consideration to applicants from other disciplines, provided your thesis addresses a contemporary policy issue.

I am a 5th/6th year PhD student. Is it too late for me to do an intensive language study?

No. Any PhD students who have not yet finished their degree can apply to the Chinese Language Fellowship, although fellowship candidates usually apply within the first three years of their program.

I am a PhD student at a university outside the United States. Can I still apply to the fellowship?

Yes. Although the fellowship is primarily designed for PhD students at American Universities, NBR and the independent advisory council will give full consideration to American applicants in PhD programs overseas.

Does the fellowship support short-term language training over the summer?

No, fellows must participate in an intensive language program for at least one academic year.

Can I conduct dissertation research as I undergo intensive language training?

PhD track CLFP fellows are expected to devote themselves to full time language study during the first nine months of the fellowship. In the following summer, however, fellows will have the opportunity to take one-on-one classes, during which they may read primary sources directly related to their dissertation research.

Prospective PhD track CLFP fellows are expected to devote themselves to full-time language study.

Can I defer my fellowship award?

No. Applicants selected as CLFP fellows cannot defer the fellowship. Applicants may reapply for the fellowship the following year.

Does the fellowship support study of Chinese dialects (e.g. Cantonese or Taiwanese)?

NBR and the independent advisory council will review applications to study Chinese dialects such as Cantonese and Taiwanese on a case-by-case basis.

How do you define intermediate Chinese language ability?

CLFP fellows should have completed at least two years of college-level Chinese before beginning the fellowship.

Should I apply to the language program of my choice along with my application to the fellowship?

Yes. Since fellowship awards will not be announced until March–April, we recommend that candidates submit an application to their preferred language programs alongside their fellowship application.

I am a prospective student in a PhD program who intends to take a leave of absence in my first year for a Chinese language study. Should I apply to the PhD track or the Prospective PhD track of the Chinese Language Fellowship?

If you are concurrently applying to PhD programs and the Chinese Language Fellowship, please apply to the Prospective PhD track of the Chinese Language Fellowship.

It has been several years since I earned my Master’s degree, but I still plan on pursuing a PhD in the future. May I still apply to the PhD track of the fellowship?

Yes. NBR and the independent advisory council will give full consideration to applicants who possess a Master’s degree and can explain their plans to pursue a PhD program in the near future.

Can first-year students in a Master’s program apply to the prospective PhD track of the fellowship, and undertake language study between the two years of their degree program?

Yes. NBR and the independent advisory council will give full consideration to applicants who are currently enrolled in a Master’s program and can explain their plans to pursue a PhD program in the near future.

Can graduating seniors or recent graduates with only a Bachelor’s degree apply to the prospective PhD track of the fellowship, and undertake language study before beginning their Master’s degree/PhD program?

No. To apply for the prospective PhD track of the fellowship, an applicant must already be enrolled in a Master’s program or already possess a Master’s degree.