The Fulbright fellowship was established in 1946 by the United States Congress as a means to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the peoples of other countries.” For more than sixty years, the Fulbright Program has opened opportunities for foreign citizens to study, teach, and pursue research in the United States.
The Fulbright Program offers full scholarships in the USA for international students to study masters or PhD studies. Scholarships can also be offered for non-degree postgraduate studies. The scholarship covers tuition fees, textbooks, travel costs, living stipend, and health insurance.
About Fulbright fellowship
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program operates in more than 155 countries around the world. Nearly 4,000 international students receive Fulbright Scholarships each year.
The aim of initiating the Fulbright Program was to maintain international relations mainly through student exchange, and this plan strengthened bilateral relations in which both the government and citizens of other countries work with the United States to have common priorities and narrow the scope of the program to meet mutual needs. Despite wars and political strife, the Fulbright Scholarship Program remains focused on engaging in and promoting international partnerships.
Fulbright fellowship value and duration
Generally, the scholarship funds tuition fees, airfare, living stipend, and health insurance. The Fulbright Program provides funding for the duration of the study. The Fulbright Fellowship awards approximately 8,000 scholarships annually and is present in more than 160 countries. Eligibility criteria, application procedures, and scholarship amounts differ from state to state. The most prestigious Fulbright Scholarships are awarded by bilateral committees of Fulbright or U.S. embassies. The program often covers most of the participants ’tuition costs but is very competitive.
Who can apply for Fulbright fellowship?
To be able to apply for a Fulbright grant the program must operate in your country. Each country has specific requirements: Visit fulbrightonline.org to learn about the procedures in your country. In all cases, Fulbright applicants are expected to:
- Fulfill the nationality requirements,
- Holds a degree equivalent to at least a Bachelor’s degree,
- Have an excellent academic background,
- You have a well-defined project and personal leadership ability.
Documents required for Fulbright fellowship
To finalize your application to become a beneficiary of this program, there are some documents that you will be required to rely on. Some of these documents include;
- Biographical data
- Program information
- Statement of purpose of the grant
- Affiliation letter
- Personal statement
- Models of foreign languages
- For selected countries – Critical Language Improvement Award Statement
- Supplementary materials
- Ethical requirements
Fulbright fellowship eligibility
- Applicants must be a citizen or citizen of the United States of America at the time of the application. Permanent residents are not eligible. Please review the Ineligibility section below regarding eligibility for dual citizens.
- Applicants must have obtained a bachelor’s degree or equivalent prior to the start of the scholarship.
- In Creative Arts and Performing Arts, four years of professional training and / or experience meet basic eligibility requirements.
- Applicants must meet the language requirements for the award they are applying to and demonstrate sufficient proficiency to complete their project and adapt to life in the host country.
- Applicants may obtain one dinar at the time of submitting the application.
- Medical physicians may receive scholarships for advanced academic study, but not for internships or residencies. Researchers with a doctorate in medicine who complete their formal training after graduation and suggest enrollment in a hospital or clinic for the purpose of independent or collaborative research must apply to the Fulbright Scholars Program for the United States. The grants do not allow activity that requires a license to practice medicine or nursing. The Fulbright Program cannot authorize medical research proposals that include clinical training, patient care, or patient contact.
How to apply for Fulbright fellowship
All applications for the International Student Program are processed by bi-national Fulbright Committees / Institutions or U.S. Embassies. Therefore, foreign students must apply through the Fulbright Commission / Institution or the United States Embassy in their home countries.
The deadline for awarding scholarships varies from country to state, and is usually from February to October each year. It is important to visit the official website and country specific websites for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship. There are two different ways you can apply to the Fulbright American Student Program: You can either apply through an educational institution or as an At-Large applicant.
The primary differences between the two are that when applying through an institution, you will have the advantage of working with a Fulbright Program Adviser at that school and receiving valuable feedback on your application materials. You will also have an on-campus interview, which will give you more feedback to help you review your application, along with an earlier deadline when you will need to submit your application. This gives your school time to make sure your application is complete, after which it will send it on for you.
If you are currently an undergraduate or graduate student, you should plan to apply through your school. Ideally, the early in your college career you start planning a Fulbright application, the better. This will give you the maximum amount of time to make yourself the strongest candidate possible and to establish relationships with a Fulbright Program Adviser and potential candidates.
Institutions have their own internal schedules for Fulbright, so if you plan to apply through your school, be sure to check in with the Fulbright office on your campus to see when they recommend starting the application process.
Even if you are not currently enrolled in a school, you may still be able to apply through an institution as a graduate, depending on whether or not your university will accept graduate candidates. It’s worth checking, as many colleges do, although graduates sometimes face constraints such as having to graduate within the past three years, for example.
If you are not able to apply through an organization, you will apply as an At-Large applicant. As an At-Large applicant, you will not have the structured guidance and checkpoints provided by a Fulbright Program Adviser, but will have more flexibility to complete your application according to your schedule.
Although the process for completing your application will vary, once it is submitted, your application will be evaluated in the same way regardless of whether or not you have applied through an institution.