Fulbright is the US government flagship program oriented to supporting academic and scholarly communities both in and outside the US. The program successfully fulfills its mission since the establishment in 1945, having and continuing to expand the alumni of 390,000 students and professionals.
Among many opportunities the program provides, ARMACAD has already discussed the US Student Program, one of the largest US exchange programs that open studying opportunities for US students in more than 160 countries.
The article you are reading now will guide you through a more advanced opportunity: Fulbright Scholar for US citizens, which distributes 800 fellowships in more than 135 countries every year.
What opportunities does the program offer?
As the Fulbright team states, you can find international opportunities fitting your needs and goals regardless of your specialty or occupation. Awards match the intents of education faculty members, artists, journalists, scientists, or independent scholars.
The mentioned wide range of opportunities is grouped in the below-given awards along with the grant durations.
Global Scholar Award | 3-6 months total, min. one month stay in each country
Global Scholar Award sponsors US academics' and professionals' participation in multi-country, trans-regional projects covering research or combined teaching/research activities. US scholars can apply to up to three country projects simultaneously, the trips of which will then be distributed over one or two years, with flexible schedules.
There is no limit to what disciplines' scholars can apply for the award or what career level they should have. Early career, professor emeriti, and independent scholars are all welcomed to apply.
The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship | 4-9 months
Through the Fellowship, US early and mid-career professionals and practitioners travel to serve in other countries' ministries and government institutions. The program aims to construct the long-term relationship between the US and partner countries through the US professionals' support to the hosting country's institutional operations.
In some cases, fellows can participate in the program's independent research component focusing on the welcoming country's issues.
Arctic Initiative | over 18 months
Arctic Initiative is about discussions over creating a secure and sustainable Arctic. For this purpose, the program grantees from the US gathered with their peer scholars, professionals, and applied researchers from 7 Arctic Council member states Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
The mentioned Council members meet at the three seminar meetings and a Fulbright Experience to discuss key research areas and policy questions concerning the Arctic nations' shared challenges and opportunities.
Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Awards | Up to 10 months
Distinguished Scholar Awards is among the most prestigious award types because of high standards for the eligible candidates. Scholars should have above seven years of experience in their discipline or specialization area to receive the grant. Grantees are expected to involve host institutions in the process of knowledge sharing and promote mutual understanding.
Note that unlike other presented awards, Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award is not a single program. It includes around 50 different awards, with different durations and varying eligibility requirements. So, you may still appear ineligible for some awards, even if you correspond to the basic requirement of having at least 7 years of experience.
Fulbright Postdoctoral Awards | Up to two academic years
Around 18 awards of this category are designed to support recently graduated scholars for conducting research and receiving professional training outside the US. Posts are granted to scholars who will have received Ph.D., JD, MD, EdD, or similar degrees within 5 years after the fellowship start date.
There is no requirement for degree conferment of institutional affiliation in the US for the candidates.
Fulbright International Education Administrator Awards | Two weeks
Education Administrator Awards provide the least quantity awards, with narrower specialization and scope of the offered projects. In the link below, you will find the four available opportunities.
The awards are exclusively for education professionals or senior higher education officials, who can participate in two-week intensive seminars organized in a foreign country. Through the seminars, grantees explore the host country's education system and expand their network to their international peers.
For the numerous opportunities, the Fulbright US Scholar program provides, you should consider five main eligibility criteria before applying.
- US citizenship: at the time of application, one should have US citizenship. US residency is not enough.
- Residency abroad: applicants should have resided abroad for nine or more months in the six-year period preceding the application.
- Degree and/or experience: graduate or doctoral students, who are in the middle of their studies, and recent college graduates with little working experience are ineligible. The applicable degrees are mentioned for specific awards.
- Prior Fulbright Scholar Awards: between completing one Fulbright program and applying to another one, there should be at least two years difference. However, note that the preference is given to candidates who haven't received any Fulbright award before.
- Department of State Employees and their immediate family: Employees and immediate families of the US Department of State, public or private organizations contracted with the US Department of State, and US Agency for International Development are not eligible for the program.
Requirements may vary among the certain awards you apply for, so consider additionally checking the eligibility criteria for the specific program.
Timeline and Application Procedures
The deadline for submitting the applications is in September, and the whole application/selection process lasts from February to June. Read below what and when you need to submit for the program if your personal and professional characteristics correspond to the above eligibility criteria.
The Fulbright US Scholar program's application procedures follow four basic steps: Review Eligibility, Find Award, Download and Review Resources, Begin Application.
Before reaching this part of the article, you have already seen the details and links for the first two application steps. For the third step, you may download the program's eligibility and application checklist here. By filling in the checklist, you summarize and confirm your readiness for the actual application. If all those steps are successfully completed, you should finalize your efforts and apply for the program. To do so, you should register a new account or log in to your existing Fulbright account.
In the checklist, you will meet the deadlines for certain documents necessary for the selection committee to review your candidacy. The full list of such documents that you will need to submit include:
- Up to five pages of the project statement
- Up to six pages of CV/Resume, max 8 for Distinguished Scholar Awards
- Two letters of recommendation
- Up to three pages of bibliographic data
- Up to ten pages of syllabi/course outlines
- If required by the specific award, a letter of invitation from the host institute
- If required by the specific award, language proficiency
- The creative portfolio of up to 10 images, 15 pages in length, and 30 minutes audiovisual files for creative project applicants
Fulbright has a dedicated page explaining each of the above application components in detail, which you may access here.
Many people will probably complete the above steps to favor the selection committee and utilize their academic or research advancement opportunity by Fulbright.
To increase the chances of standing out among numerous applicants, this section guides you through the program's main selection criteria.
Before you pass to the criteria, keep in mind that the best correspondence to the projects' requirements matches its mission and goals. Fulbright aims to promote the US goodwill in the world through exchange programs, support intercultural relationships, and mutual understanding.
So, whatever content you present to the committee, keep in mind that it should fit Fulbright's core ideas. Having this as a key style for the application, review the other criteria your application will be evaluated to.
- Applicant background and experience
- Project quality
- Teaching experience
- Research skills
- The potential income and benefits of the presented project
- Cultural preparation
- Previously received Fulbright Scholar Awards
- Veteran status
- Diversity and geographic distribution
If you're not sure about any of the mentioned criteria, read the detailed explanation for each point here.
ARMACAD wrote this article to provide maximum informational support for the readers to apply and succeed in the Fulbright US Scholar program. All the data is presented according to the Fulbright official sources.