The Richard U. Light Fellowship at Yale University

Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Language Study in East Asia

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Eligibility Information

Before moving forward with your application, ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements listed below. In addition, we provide a constantly evolving Frequently Asked Questions page that should answer all your questions. Of course, if after all that, you have an unanswered question, please let us know!

If you do meet the eligibility requirements, don't delay in visiting the Application Process section to get a headstart on the many elements that comprise a competitive application. The biggest obstacles students face are procrastination and carelessness.


  • 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.
  • Students on a Leave of Absence are eligible to apply. Students who have withdrawn are not.
  • You must have already completed one year of language study at Yale or at an equivalent program by the time you embark on your studies abroad (i.e., if you begin the language in September, you may apply in January to study as early as the summer).
  • Applicants must have taken a Yale language class in the language they are proposing for their fellowship. Applicants must have completed at least one semester at Yale by the competition's final deadline. Students who pass out of L1 and take L2 in the spring are not eligible until the following year.
  • Ph.D. students are eligible to apply to the Light Fellowship only if their language study in East Asia would be completed prior to submitting their prospectus. NOTE: 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.
  • Seniors and graduate and professional students applying for post graduate fellowships should propose programs of study that include an academic year. Fewer post graduate fellowships are awarded making the selection process more competitive.
  • Students who graduate in December may apply to study in the spring after they graduate and may also submit a new application for study in the summer + academic year following that spring. Students in this situation must meet with Light Fellowship staff to discuss their plans.
  • You must attend one of the Light Fellowship information meetings during the academic year of your application. No credit will be given for having attended information meetings in previous academic years. Previous Light Fellows who are applying again must therefore attend another information meeting.
  • You must start a Yale Student Grants application by the deadline (well before the Light Fellowship application date!).
  • You may not already be fluent in the language; however, if you are fluent in Chinese, for example, you are still eligible to study Japanese or Korean.
  • There are no citizenship requirements for the Light Fellowship.
  • You must obtain admission at one of our approved language programs in Asia in order to recieve Light Fellowship funding.
  • Previous Light Fellows who are applying for another fellowship must have completed all prior commitments, as stipulated in the Award Agreement, to the Light Fellowship (program reporting, survey, transcript). Previous fellows must also attend a new information meeting.
  • The Light Fellowship encourages applications from students multiple times throughout their Yale careers; however, normally Light Fellowship funding will be granted to a particular student for no more than four terms, with a summer counting as a term.
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for other fellowships/funding sources for which they are eligible (e.g. Fulbright Fellowships, Parker Huang Fellowships, etc.).  A list of Yale-administered fellowships can be found on the Yale Student Grants, and the IplanYale tool also offers more options. NOTE: Applying to other funding sources will NOT affect one's application for a Light Fellowship.
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
Yale University

Last updated July 16, 2014.

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