U.S. Scholars

Overview

OPPORTUNITIES FOR U.S. SCHOLARS

Which Award is Right for Me?

A smiling woman scholar

Fulbright Scholar Awards

Fulbright Scholar Awards comprise the bulk of awards offered and include opportunities for professionals, artists, and scholars at all career-levels. Location and eligibility vary across all awards, and some awards may be restricted to certain career levels or types of scholars. This information is outlined in the award description.

Please see here for three unique opportunities within the U.S. Scholar program:

   
Two scholars in a conversation

Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Awards

Distinguished Scholar awards are viewed as the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Awards are open to scholars who have more than seven years of experience in their discipline or area of expertise, though some awards may further restrict eligibility. Distinguished Scholars are expected to actively engage host institutions in a spirit of promoting mutual understanding and sharing knowledge.

   
Smiling scholar on a hill side.

Fulbright Postdoctoral Awards

Postdoctoral Awards provide recently graduate scholars an opportunity to conduct research and receive professional training abroad. Awards may involve limited teaching. Postdocs are open to scholars who will have received a doctoral degree (Ph.D., J.D., M.D., Ed.D., etc.) within five years of the fellowship start date. Degree conferment before the start of the award is mandatory. Institutional affiliation in the U.S. is not required.

   
Scholars in discussion

Fulbright International Education Administrator Awards

This award provides international education professionals and senior higher education officials an opportunity to engage in a two-week intensive seminar to learn about the host country’s education system and establish networks of U.S. and international colleagues.

   

Which Activity is Right for me?

Teaching

Teaching includes classroom teaching, as well as giving guest lectures, workshops, and seminars, and engaging in other related activities. Classroom teaching is typically at the undergraduate and graduate level, and courses may be designed by the scholar or prescribed by the host institution and may be taught or co-taught by the scholar. The teaching load varies by award, as well as the host institution. Scholars may also consult on building research capacity, advise graduate students, and assist with thesis advising.

Research

Research includes activities involving scientific research, qualitative research, quantitative research, and practice-based research, including artistic research. Research can take place in locations such as the laboratory, the field, the archives, or an artist residency. It can be experimental, clinical, or applied. It can include examining policies, systems, theories, methods, interactions, and works of art and music, with the objective to evaluate or develop new knowledge or works. Quantifiable (tangible) outcomes can include publications (books, journal articles, scripts, etc.), conference presentations, artistic and musical compositions, exhibitions, performances, films, and patents.

Teaching/Research

Many awards allow participants to conduct both research and teaching as defined above. Some awards will indicate the percentage that should be devoted to teaching compared to research while other awards allow the candidates to select their own percentage breakdown.

Professional Project

The Professional Project activity type provides professionals and artists in various fields the opportunity to interact with relevant organizations abroad to further their career goals. Professional Projects may include visits to organizations in the applicant's field, practical experience in day-to-day operations, public lectures, artist residencies, or other appropriate professional activities.

How long are Fulbright opportunities?

Fulbright opportunities range from a few months to a full year and many of our awards offer flexible durations. Each award outlines the duration and potential start dates. Many awards offer a Flex option which is designed for Scholars who require multiple visits to the host country. This option allows grants to be conducted over short segments, preferably during the fall and/or spring semesters. Applicants should clearly indicate plans for Flex in their project statement and include a project timeline.

Click here for a list of awards that allow for a Flex option.

Eligibility

ELIGIBILITY ESSENTIALS

The complete Fulbright policies for U.S. Lecturers and Research Scholars are available here (Chapter 600)

Graphic showing eligibility essentials

U.S. Citizenship Icon

U.S. citizenship

Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship at the time of application. Permanent residence is not sufficient.

 
Residency Abroad icon

Residency abroad

Applicants who have resided abroad for five or more consecutive years in the six-year period preceding the application deadline are ineligible. A period of nine months or more during a calendar year constitutes a full year.

Degree Experience icon

Degree and/or Experience

Award descriptions specify where a Ph.D., other terminal degree, or comparable professional qualifications are required. Current faculty, administrators, and experienced professionals are encouraged to apply. Postdoctoral candidates are encouraged to apply for postdoctoral awards. However, graduate or doctoral students seeking funding to complete their degrees are ineligible. Recent college graduates with limited professional experience are ineligible and should instead apply to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.

Prior Fulbright icon

Prior Fulbright Scholar Awards

Recipients of a Fulbright Scholar award are eligible to apply for another award two years after the date of completion of the previous award. Recipients of a Fulbright Specialist Program grant are not required to adhere to the two-year waiting period before applying for a Fulbright Scholar award. Preference will be given to applicants who have not previously received a Scholar award.

Immediate Family icon

Department of State employees and their immediate family

Employees and their immediate families (i.e. spouses and dependent children) of the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and of public or private organizations under contract to the U.S. Department of State are ineligible to apply for a Fulbright award until one year after termination of such employment.

 

For more detailed information, please review the additional eligibility factors

Application

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Review Eligibility

Find an Award

Download and Review

Begin Application

   

Application Components

  1. Project Statement. Up to 5 pages.

  2. CV/Resume. Up to 6 pages; up to 8 pages for Distinguished Scholar awards.

  3. Letters of Recommendation. Two letters.

  4. Short Essays. Four essays.

  5. Bibliography. Required for Research and Teaching/Research awards, up to 3 pages.

  6. Syllabi/course outlines. Required for Teaching and Teaching/Research awards, up to 10 pages.

  7. Letter of Invitation from host institution. Only if required or recommended by award description.

  8. Language proficiency. Only if required or recommended by award description.

  9. Digital Portfolio. Only for applicants in the creative/performing arts and journalism. Portfolios are limited to no more than 10 images, 15 pages in length and/ or 30 minutes of audiovisual files.

For more detailed information about the application components, go to the application requirements page.

For information on completing the application, download the application instructions (PDF).

Review Criteria

Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Review Criteria

The Fulbright Scholar Program supports activities and projects that recognize and promote the critical relationship between educational exchange and international understanding, in addition to the intellectual merit of the proposals. Applications with broad multiplier effects are particularly welcome, as are projects that are conducive to candidates sharing their experiences and knowledge with colleagues, students and, ideally, with the general public in their host country and, upon return, in the United States.


Review Criteria
Reviewers consider the basic objectives of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, evaluating applications on the following criteria:


Applicant training, background, experience

Applicant possesses the training, credentials, active professional standing, as appropriate for their project, discipline, and career path, and meets all stated requirements for the award, including language proficiency requirements necessary for the project, or adequately addresses alternative(s)

Applicant maintains an appropriate record of service to their academic/professional community and home institution/employer


Quality of project

The project is feasible, original, well-designed, innovative, and sophisticated, with sufficient resources and time allocated, and can be adapted if needed. In addition, the project can be understood by individuals outside of the applicant’s discipline.  

Teaching:

  • Syllabi represent the applicant’s experience teaching the subject(s), reflect innovative and effective pedagogical approaches, and are sufficiently developed

Research:

  • Research is clearly designed, and methodology is considered sound for the discipline
  • Bibliography reflects likelihood of project to contribute to the existing body of work on the topic 

The applicant demonstrates the need for the project to be undertaken in the specified location and shows considerable engagement with the host institution and community.

Project’s potential impact, outcomes, and benefits

Application demonstrates relevance and currency of project to the discipline 

Applicant’s project exhibits potential for impact, which is significant, broad, and sustainable in the discipline, at their home institution and community, and to the applicant’s professional development and the applicant clearly describes plans to feasibly disseminate results
 

Cultural Preparation

Applicant displays ability to be adaptable, culturally sensitive, collegial, and can serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S.

Previous Fulbright Scholar Awards

Applicant provides compelling justification for prior Fulbright grant(s). Preference will be given to candidates who have not had previous Fulbright Scholar awards, especially within the past ten years. View the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board’s policies on previous Fulbright Scholar grants here.

Veteran status

Preference is given to veterans of the U.S. armed forces when other factors are equivalent

Diversity and geographic distribution

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State strives to ensure that its efforts reflect the diversity of U.S. society and societies abroad. The Bureau seeks and encourages the involvement of people from traditionally underrepresented audiences in all its grants, programs, and other activities and in its workforce and workplace. Opportunities are open to people regardless of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socio-economic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The Bureau is committed to fairness, equity, and inclusion.
 

Timeline

TIMELINE

In conducting the peer review of applications for Fulbright Scholar awards, IIE conforms with the policies of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Presidentially-appointed body that has statutory authority over Fulbright programs. The policy on selection and nonselection stipulates, "It is the policy of the Board not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or nonselection of applicants for awards under the program." (From the "Policy Statements of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board," Sec. 145)

 

DEADLINE: Wednesday, September 15, 2021 11:59PM Pacific Standard Time

February

February

Program competition opens.

 

   
September

September

IIE reviews applications for program eligibility and technical completeness. Applicants will be notified if any required application component is missing, and asked to provide additional documentation as needed. Only complete applications will be forwarded to the peer reviewers.

   
October-November

October-November

Peer Review Committees evaluate applications, meeting in Washington, D.C. to review and determine whether or not applications are recommended for further consideration in the host country. Peer Review committees are primarily structured by discipline whereby a group of peers in your discipline will read and assess your application to determine if it meets the review criteria (See Review Criteria).

   
December

December

Applicants are notified by email whether or not their application has been recommended for further consideration in the host country. Please let IIE know if your email address changed since you submitted your application.

   
December-May

December - May

Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies (Posts) or binational Fulbright Commissions overseas review recommended applications and nominate candidates for selection.

   
January-June

January - June

All recommended candidates are forwarded to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for approval.  
IIE notifies candidates whether they have been selected to receive a Fulbright award. This notification is also emailed. Please let IIE know if your email address changed since you submitted your application.

   
June-Onward

June - Onward

Grant details are finalized and grants may begin per start dates listed in the Catalog of Awards. For some countries, an orientation may be scheduled for applicants selected for grants.

FAQs

SCHOLAR FAQ

General

When does the competition open?
The competition opens in early February and closes in mid-September, with the exception of some of the International Education Administrator (IEA) awards. For Scholar and Postdoctoral awards, please see the detailed timeline. For IEA awards, please see the country-specific timelines. Applications are submitted for opportunities in the following academic year. 

How can I start an application?
Applications are submitted online, and the application portal opens with the start of the new competition in early February. Please read the application guidelines (for the IEA awards, please consult the IEA application guidelines) before beginning your application. Begin or return to your application here.

Who can I contact at my institution for assistance?
Over 1,400 academic institutions and professional associations across the United States have Fulbright Scholar Liaisons, a network of faculty and administrators who can guide you. We encourage you to connect with the Liaison at your institution for assistance with your application and your institution’s process for participating in the Fulbright program.

Can I apply to more than one country or award?
Applicants may apply for only one award in the 2022-23 competition. 

If I already had a Fulbright, can I receive another one?
Preference for Fulbright Scholar opportunities will be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright Scholar award. Recipients of a Fulbright Scholar award are eligible to apply for another Fulbright Scholar award two years after the date of completion of the previous award. This includes the higher education administrator seminars. (For flex awards, the two-year period begins at the end of the final grant portion.) Additional Fulbright policies are available here.

Can I apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program if I am on the Fulbright Specialist Roster?
You are eligible to apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program while on the Fulbright Specialist roster. Recipients of a Fulbright Specialist Program grant are not required to adhere to the two-year waiting period before applying for a Fulbright Scholar grant. Likewise, recipients of a Fulbright Scholar grant are not required to adhere to the two-year waiting period before applying for or receiving a Fulbright Specialist Program grant.

What are the financial benefits of Fulbright awards?
Benefits vary by country and type of award. Generally speaking, Fulbright awards are budgeted to cover travel and living costs in-country for the grantee and their accompanying dependents. Check the award description in the Catalog of Awards and/or consult program staff responsible for the particular award you are interested in. For IEA awards, benefits vary by country but generally include round-trip travel, lodging, and a per diem that includes meals. Each award description details these benefits.

What are the safety and security protocols in place for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program?
Please see our safety, health and security page for more information.

What health benefits do Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program grantees receive while on their grant?
As a U.S. government funded exchange participant, Fulbright grantees qualify to receive Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE), a limited health care benefit plan designed by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Seven Corners, Inc. It is not intended to cover long-term healthcare and has limitations in coverage. We encourage grantees to maintain their own private insurance.

If I am selected, can I take my family with me on my grant?
This depends on the award and host country. Most Scholar and Postdoctoral awards have no restrictions on accompanying dependents; however, some awards do have restrictions. Check the award description and/or consult the program staff responsible for that award. Many grantees bring their families and report that the time abroad benefited all family members. No additional financial benefits for dependents are awarded for the Fulbright Global Scholar Award of the Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship. For International Education Administrator seminars, no financial benefits for dependents are provided. Dependents may join before of after the seminar at the grantee’s own expense.

Who should write my reference letters?
While it is useful to have someone with a known reputation in the field, the best person to provide a recommendation is someone who knows your work and character extensively. We also advise mixing internal and external letters to demonstrate the breadth of your contacts. You may also contact a professional reference who knows you well. For Scholar and Postdoctoral awards, one letter should be written by the head of your department or dean of your school. Please see our application guidelines and developing contacts abroad for additional information.

For International Education Administrator awards, the best person to provide a recommendation is someone who knows your work and character extensively. In addition, they should be able to address the impact your participation would have on your institution and its commitment to internationalization. You may wish to mix internal and external referees. One letter must be written by your supervisor or someone to whom you report; the other one must be from a colleague and speak to your skills and successes, interest in international education, and personal qualities. Please see the IEA application guidelines for more information.
 

Review and Selection

Who reviews applications?
Peer review committees are organized by discipline and are comprised of U.S. academics and professionals with relevant expertise.

For IEA applications: U.S. international education administrators with experience in the selected country review applications.

How is my application reviewed?
All submitted applications are reviewed initially for program eligibility and technical completeness.

All complete, eligible applications are then reviewed by a peer review committee to determine whether they are recommended for further consideration by the host country (review criteria). Peer review committees are organized by discipline and are comprised of U.S. academics and professionals with relevant expertise. For IEA applications: committees are comprised of U.S. international education administrators with relevant country experience (review criteria).

Applications recommended for further consideration in peer review are then forwarded to Fulbright Commissions and U.S. Embassies abroad, as well as to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the Department of State (Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs) for final decisions and confirmation.

How will I be notified?
All notifications are sent via email. If your email address has changed since you submitted your application, please update your application with your new address.

When will I be notified?
Following the conclusion of the peer review, applicants are notified of the status of their application, recommended or not recommended.

For recommended applications: Each host country has their own in-country review timeline. At the same time, the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) and the Department of State also review the applications. Approvals are needed from all three (host country/countries, FFSB, Department of State) before candidates can be notified. Most U.S. Scholar applicants are informed of the decisions in the spring.

While IIE cannot predict when a country’s outcomes will be available, applicants will be notified of the final outcome as soon as possible.

Please see the notification timeline for more details. For IEA applications: please consult the individual country timeline.

I’ve submitted my application. When should I be in touch with my proposed host institution?
The Program appreciates the enthusiasm shared by applicants and host institutions to engage and collaborate on your proposed project. Please note that applications must first go through the peer review process. Those that are recommended for further consideration are then forwarded to the host country, U.S. Department of State, and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for review and selection. Some host countries work with host institutions in this process (typically awards where the host institution is specified in the award title). You are welcome to let your proposed host know if your application was recommended following peer review. But, to help maintain the integrity of the review process, if your application was recommended for further consideration after peer review, you are advised to not contact the host country or proposed host for updates on the status of your application.

Can I receive feedback from the review process?  
IIE, which administers the program, operates in conformity with the policies of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). According to FFSB policy, IIE cannot give applicants the specific reasons for selection or non-selection. If you are interested in reapplying, you are encouraged to contact the relevant Fulbright regional program officer, who can provide general guidance on reapplying.

How can I make my application more successful?
There is no single "formula" for a successful proposal. An application should be about the candidate, how the award period will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant. The responsible program officer is a good point of contact for discussions of how to shape a competitive application. Also, see our application guidelines for tips on making your application more competitive.

For IEA awards, desired professional profiles and specific qualifications vary across the awards, so you are encouraged to apply to the award that best fits your background and experience. Please see our application guidelines for information on the application components. Also, you can discuss your application and fit for the program with the staff contact listed in the award description.

Can I reapply?
Yes. Applications are reviewed individually, on their own merit each year. While IIE cannot disclose specific reasons as to why applicants are (not) recommended or not selected, we can connect with you to help you identify an appropriate Fulbright award and to strengthen your application, including walking through the review criteria and the application guidelines. Some applicants choose to revise and strengthen their prior proposal; others opt to propose an entirely new project and/or change countries.

Please see the Application Requirements for instructions on how to reapply.

Teaching/Research

What type of teaching and/or research can I propose?
Award descriptions indicate which type of project is acceptable. Some awards accept only teaching only research, a combination of teaching and/or research. Each activity has unique submission requirements.

Do I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to apply to an award?
IRB approval is not required at the time of application; however, applicants must abide by all ethical requirements before commencing their research on human and/or animal subjects through a Fulbright award.

Are there opportunities to conduct a project during the summer?
The timeframe is indicated in each award description, and while most awards follow the academic calendar in the host country, some awards may allow projects in the summer months, especially if no teaching is involved.

Can I apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program to fund MA/PhD research?
The Fulbright Scholar Program does not support research activities for obtaining an MA/PhD, however you may wish to review the opportunities provided by the Fulbright Student Program.

I am a retired academic or professional. Can I still receive a Fulbright award?
Yes, the Fulbright Scholar Program welcomes scholars and professionals at all stages of their careers. As is required of all applicants, the project statement should address the expected benefits of the Fulbright award to you (professionally and personally), to the United States (how will you share your experience when you return?), and to your host institution.

Do I have to know a foreign language?
Most award recipients teach in English in the host country, with some exceptions in Latin America and Africa. If you are applying for a research award, your foreign language ability must meet the needs of the project. Be certain to indicate in your methodology discussion how you will need to use the language, since activities vary, and reviewers should not have to make assumptions.

Do I need to have an invitation letter?
This depends on the award. Some countries require an invitation letter, especially for “All Disciplines” awards. Other countries encourage but do not require a letter of invitation, while others still specifically request that you do not contact potential host institutions. The preference is clearly spelled out in the award description. If you have questions, please contact the program officer responsible for that country.

I need an invitation letter. How do I get one?
If you do not have a contact, your goal is to determine the name of an appropriate faculty member for a specific discipline or subfield within the discipline. Once you have determined possible hosts, write that faculty member a description of who you are (an attached C.V. can be helpful) and what you propose to do while in that country. Note that you plan to apply for a Fulbright award and that the application requires a letter of invitation. There may be several communications before a letter is forthcoming, but this method often works. It may also be helpful to contact past Fulbright alumni to your country of interest by searching the Fulbright Scholar Directory

International Education Administrator Seminars

Do I have to know a foreign language?
No. The seminars are conducted in English.

Can I propose a project of my own design for the seminar? Can separate briefings be arranged for me?
No. Each country arranges an itinerary of meetings, briefings, and campus visits. There is little time available for individual projects or appointments.

Where do I upload the institutional statement, and do I need a bibliography or syllabi?
Please upload the institutional statement to the online application form. A bibliography and syllabus should not be submitted.

Are there new IEA seminars offered every year?
Currently, we have agreements with France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Taiwan, and the Catalog of Awards shows what awards are currently offered along with their application deadlines.