Fulbright Scholarship Program

The Fulbright Scholarship Program, including the Fulbright–Hays Program, is one of several United States Cultural Exchange Programs whose goal is to improve intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and intercultural competence between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists, from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States at U.S. universities or other academic institutions.

Host Institution(s) offered Scholarships: 

USA Universities and Academic Institutions

Field(s) of study:

Fulbright encourages applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.

A number of Fulbright Awards:

Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships each year.

Student Target group:

International students from 155 countries around the world

Fulbright Scholarship Program value/duration:

Generally, the grant funds tuition, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance, etc. The Fulbright program provides funding for the duration of the study.

See the official website and country-specific websites for the complete list of scholarship benefits.

Fulbright Scholarship Program Eligibility and Requirements:

Program eligibility and selection procedures vary widely by country. Please see the country-specific websites to find information about the Fulbright Program in your home country, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

Fulbright Scholarship Application instructions:

All Foreign Student Program applications are processed by bi-national Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies. Therefore, foreign students must apply through the Fulbright Commission/Foundation or U.S. Embassy in their home countries. Deadline varies per country but is around February to October annually.

It is important to visit the official website (link found below) and the country-specific websites for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.

Website/Links:

Official Scholarship Websitehttp://foreign.fulbrightonline.org/about/foreign-fulbright

Deadline: varies, Feb-Oct 2019

what is a Fulbright scholarship?

It is one of the most prestigious and competitive fellowship programs in the world. Via the program, competitively-selected American citizens including students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists, and artists may receive scholarships or grants to study, conduct research, teach, or exercise their talents abroad; and citizens of other countries may qualify to do the same in the United States of America.

The program was founded by the United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered to be one of the most widely recognized and prestigious scholarships in the world. The program provides 8,000 grants annually.

The Fulbright Program is administered by cooperating organizations such as the Institute of International Education and operates in over 160 countries around the world. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State sponsors the Fulbright Program and receives funding from the United States Congress via annual appropriation bills.

Additional direct and in-kind support comes from partner governments, foundations, corporations, and host institutions both in and outside the U.S. In 49 countries, a bi-national Fulbright Commission administers and oversees the Fulbright Program. In countries without a Fulbright Commission but that have an active program, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy oversees the Fulbright Program. More than 370,000 people have participated in the program since it began; 59 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes; 82 have won Pulitzer Prizes.

Fulbright Scholarship Acceptance Rate

Generally, the acceptance rate for Fulbright Scholarships is 20%, although it does vary year by year but only by a few percentage points.

Fulbright Program

2008 conference booth
Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.

— Senator J. William Fulbright
The Fulbright Program works two ways: U.S. citizens may receive funding to go to a foreign country (U.S. Student Program, U.S. Scholar Program, Teacher Exchange Program, etc.) and non-U.S. citizens may come to the U.S. (Foreign Student Program, Visiting Scholar Program, Teacher Exchange Program, etc.).

Candidates recommended for Fulbright grants have high academic achievement, a compelling project proposal or statement of purpose, demonstrated leadership potential, and flexibility and adaptability to interact successfully with the host community abroad.

Fulbright grants are offered in almost all academic disciplines except clinical medical research involving patient contact. Fulbright grantees’ fields of study span fine arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematics, natural and physical sciences, and professional and applied sciences.

Student grants

  • The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for the U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to research, study, or teach English abroad for one academic year.
  • The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists, from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States. Some scholarships are renewed after the initial year of study.
  • The Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program provides opportunities for young English teachers from overseas to refine their teaching skills and broaden their knowledge of American culture and society while strengthening the instruction of foreign languages at colleges and universities in the United States.
  • The International Fulbright Science and Technology Award, a component of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, supports doctoral study at leading U.S. institutions in science, technology, engineering or related fields for outstanding foreign students. This program is currently on hiatus.
  • The Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships award up to four U.S. students the opportunity to study the power of music as a cultural force abroad. Fellows conduct research for one academic year on projects of their own design about a chosen musical aspect. They share their experiences during their Fulbright year via video reports, blogs and podcasts.
  • The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship provides the opportunity for U.S. students to serve in professional placements in foreign government ministries or institutions to gain hands-on public sector experience in participating foreign countries.

Scholar grants

  • The Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards comprise approximately forty distinguished lecturing, distinguished research, and distinguished lecturing/research awards ranging from three to 12 months. Fulbright Distinguished Chair Awards are viewed as among the most prestigious appointments in the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program. Candidates should be eminent scholars and have a significant publication and teaching record.
  • The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki brings scholars of various disciplines to Finland.
  • The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American faculty members, scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year.
  • The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. academics and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at overseas institutions for a period of two to six weeks.
  • The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program and Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Program bring foreign scholars to lecture or conduct post-doctoral research for up to a year at U.S. colleges and universities.
  • The Fulbright Regional Network for Applied Research (NEXUS) Program is a network of junior scholars, professionals and mid-career applied researchers from the United States, Brazil, Canada, and other Western Hemisphere nations in a year-long program that includes multi-disciplinary, team-based research, a series of three seminar meetings, and a Fulbright exchange experience.
Teacher grants
  • The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program supports one-to-one exchanges of teachers from K–12 schools and a small number of post-secondary institutions.
  • The Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program sends teachers abroad for a semester to pursue individual projects, conduct research, and lead master classes or seminars
Grants for professionals
  • The Hubert H. Humphrey Program brings outstanding mid-career professionals from the developing world and societies in transition to the United States for one year. Fellows participate in a non-degree program of academic study and gain professional experience.
  • The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture or conduct research for up to a year.
  • The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at overseas academic institutions for a period of two to six weeks.
  • The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. The Program also includes an English Teaching Assistant component.
  • The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to conduct research and study in the United States. Some scholarships are renewed after the initial year of study

Fulbright–Hays Program

  • A portion of the Fulbright Program is a Congressional appropriation to the United States Department of Education for the Fulbright–Hays Program.
  • These grants are awarded to individual U.S. K through 14 pre-teachers, teachers and administrators, pre-doctoral students and post-doctoral faculty, as well as to U.S. institutions and organizations. Funding supports research and training efforts overseas, which focus on non-western foreign languages and area studies.

Fulbright Scholarship Program Administration

The program is coordinated by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State under policy guidelines established by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB), with the help of 50 bi-national Fulbright commissions, U.S. embassies, and cooperating organizations in the U.S.

The United States Department of State is responsible for managing, coordinating and overseeing the Fulbright program. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the bureau in the Department of State that has primary responsibility for the administration of the program.

The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board is a twelve-member board of educational and public leaders appointed by the President of the United States that determines general policy and direction for the Fulbright Program and approves all candidates nominated for Fulbright Scholarships.

Bi-national Fulbright commissions and foundations, most of which are funded jointly by the U.S. and partner governments, develop priorities for the program, including the numbers and categories of grants. More specifically, they plan and implement educational exchanges, recruit and nominate candidates for fellowships; designate qualified local educational institutions to host Fulbrighters; fundraise; engage alumni; support incoming U.S. Fulbrighters; and, in many countries, operate an information service for the public on educational opportunities in the United States.

In a country active in the program without a Fulbright Commission, the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy administers the Fulbright Program, including recruiting and nominating candidates for grants to the U.S., overseeing U.S. Fulbrighters on their grant in the country, and engaging alumni.

Established in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I, the Institute of International Education was created to catalyze educational exchange. In 1946, the U.S. Department of State invited IIE to administer the graduate student component and CIES to administer the faculty component of the Fulbright Program—IIE’s largest program to date.

The Council for International Exchange of Scholars is a division of IIE that administers the Fulbright Scholar Program.

AMIDEAST administers Fulbright Foreign Student grants for grantees from the Middle East and North Africa (except Israel).

LASPAU: Affiliated with Harvard University[16] LASPAU brings together a valuable network of individuals, institutions, leaders, and organizations devoted to building knowledge-based societies across the Americas. Among other functions, LASPAU administers the Junior Faculty Development Program, a part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, for grantees from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

World Learning administers the Fulbright Specialist Program.

American Councils for International Education (ACTR/ACCELS) administers the Junior Faculty Development Program (JFDP), a special academic exchange for grantees from the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Southeast Europe.

The Academy for Educational Development administers the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program and the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program.

fulbright scholarships
fulbright scholarships

Related organizations

The Fulbright Association is an organization independent of the Fulbright Program and not associated with the U.S. Department of State. The Fulbright Association was established on Feb. 27, 1977, as a private nonprofit, membership organization with over 9,000 members. The late Arthur Power Dudden was its founding president.

He wanted alumni to educate members of the U.S. Congress and the public about the benefits of advancing increased mutual understanding between the people of the United States and those of other countries. In addition to the Fulbright Association in the U.S., independent Fulbright Alumni associations exist in over 75 countries around the world.

The Fulbright Academy is an organization independent of the Fulbright Program and not associated with the U.S. Department of State. A non-partisan, non-profit organization with members worldwide, the Fulbright Academy focuses on the professional advancement and collaboration needs among the 100,000+ Fulbright alumni in science, technology and related fields.

The Fulbright Academy works with individual and institutional members, Fulbright alumni associations and other organizations interested in leveraging the unique knowledge and skills of Fulbright alumni.

J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding

The J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, established in 1993, is awarded by the Fulbright Association to recognize individuals or organizations which have made extraordinary contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to a greater understanding of others.

How much is a Fulbright grant award?

The exact amount awarded depends on the nature and length of your project, as well as the host country. All grants cover round-trip travel, a living stipend, health insurance and research allowance.

Who funds the Fulbright Program?

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State. Foreign governments that host students (as well as those that send students for projects and research conducted in the United States) also contribute funding.

What kind of project should be proposed?

The Fulbright Program gives grants to students in all disciplines. A list of example projects is available here.

The most important part of the project proposal is that it can feasibly be completed in less than one academic year (and in no less than six months), and that it will benefit the host community. Projects that are innovative and unique, addressing topic in which there is little current research, have a greater chance of being accepted. It is essential that you review the country summary available on the Fulbright website to see what kind of specific project and research needs they have.

How competitive is the Fulbright Program?

The short answer is very competitive. This is especially true for English-speaking countries, Central American counties, and parts of Africa. However, there is no single acceptance statistic for all Fulbright proposals, and the competition varies greatly from region to region.

When should I apply for a Fulbright grant?

You must have completed your Bachelor’s degree before you begin your Fulbright project. Many people apply for the grant in the first semester of their senior year of undergraduate school. You can also apply after you have graduated, either through your alma mater, or one your own through the Institute for International Education website.

Can I apply multiple times, to multiple countries for the Fulbright grant?

Each year, you can submit one application for one project in one country each year. But you can continue to apply in subsequent years if you are not awarded a Fulbright grant the first time.


What are the main elements of the online application?

Fulbright applications include a Statement of Research/Study (or Statement of Teaching Assistantship), Personal Statements, and Letters of Reference. Strong applications include a letter of reference from someone currently living in the proposed host country. The Fulbright website contains a comprehensive list of all of the questions that should be answered in your personal and proposal statements to make your application complete.

Who reviews the Fulbright application? When will I find out the results?

Fulbright applications are reviewed in three rounds. First at the university level (if you are applying through your current university or alma mater), then by the Institute for International Education, and finally by the host country. Unfortunately, there is no specific date by which you will hear about whether or not you will receive a Fulbright grant since the process varies from country to country.

Where can I find the online application?

The Fulbright Scholarship website for U.S. Students is www.fulbright.state.gov. It contains all of the information about the Fulbright program and should be your first stop during the application process. The online application is available at us.fulbrightonline.org.

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