Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Tips for Study/Research in Academic Fields

Biographical Data
  • Complete all required fields: You should take care to accurately complete all of the required fields in this section.
  • Use proper capitalization and punctuation: This is a formal grant application and you are advised to follow the English language rules on capitalization and punctuation.
  • Provide an informative project title and abstract: These sections are a quick reference for screening committees and other reviewers. They should be able to determine the basic who, what, when, where, why and how of your project by reading this abstract. The project title should be informative, as well.

Statement of Grant Purpose

Develop an intellectually-compelling and feasible project or justification for pursuing a graduate degree program: This is the most important factor in presenting a successful application. The first step is to familiarize yourself with the country summary for the program to which you are applying. You should ensure that your Statement of Grant Purpose fits the program guidelines for the host country.

For applicants proposing independent study/research projects, address the following points:
  • With whom do you propose to work?
  • What do you propose to do?
  • What is innovative about the research?
  • What are the specific research goals and methodologies?
  • What is important or significant about the project?
  • What contribution will the project make toward the Fulbright goal of promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding?
  • When will you carry out the project? Include a rough timeline.
  • Where do you propose to conduct your study or research? Why was this location(s) chosen?
  • Why do you want to undertake this project?
  • Why does the project have to be conducted in the country of application?
  • How will your project help further your academic or professional development?
  • How will you engage with the host country community? Give specific ideas for civic engagement.
  • What are your qualifications for carrying out this project?
For applicants proposing to enroll in graduate degree programs, address the following points:

While acquiring a graduate degree abroad is generally not an objective for most U.S. Student grantees, some countries have specific arrangements for awards for graduate degree study. For applicants who are proposing to complete a graduate degree program, the Statement of Grant Purpose should address the following points.

  • Why do you want to pursue the proposed program in the country to which you are applying?
  • What are your reasons for selecting a particular institution?
  • Do you have the requisite academic/field-specific background to undertake the proposed program?
  • Why do you want to gain a better understanding of the peoples and cultures of your host country? Please demonstrate a commitment to the community through volunteer and extra-curricular activity.
  • Do you have sufficient language skills to successfully complete the program?
  • Do you have the flexibility and dynamism necessary for active involvement in the host country?

Design a feasible project: You must demonstrate that your research strategy is viable, including its content, methodology, and time frame.

Address the following points:

  • How will the culture and politics of the host country impact the work?
  • Will the resources of the host country support the project?
  • Have you developed a connection with a potential adviser in the host country who has knowledge of the research topic and access to other appropriate contacts in the field?
  • Do you have the requisite academic/field-specific background to undertake the proposed research?
  • Do you have sufficient language skills for the project being proposed and to serve the basic purposes of the Fulbright Program? If not, how will you accomplish these goals? You should consider that, even if a country indicates that English will be sufficient for carrying out the proposed project, for purposes of Community Engagement, at least a basic level of language skill should be obtained prior to leaving the United States for the host country.
  • What are your plans for improving your language skills, if they are not adequate at the time of application?
  • Are there any possible feasibility concerns that the project could provoke?

Candidates applying through U.S. institutions are urged to consult professors in their major fields or faculty members with experience in the host country, as well as their Fulbright Program Advisers, about the feasibility of their proposed projects. At-Large applicants should consult qualified persons in their fields.

  • Be clear and concise.
  • The individuals reading the proposal want applicants to get to the point about the 'who, what, when, where, why and how' of the project. Avoid discipline-specific jargon.
  • Organize the statement carefully.
  • Don't make reviewers search for information. We urge you to have several people read and critique the Statement of Grant Purpose, including a faculty adviser, a faculty member outside your discipline, a fellow student, and/or a colleague.

Adhere to the proper format:

  • Length is limited to a maximum of two single-spaced pages. Longer statements will not be presented to the screening committee.
  • Do not include any bibliographies, publications, citations, etc., except those that will fit in the two-page limit.
  • Use 1-inch margins and Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • At the top of the first page include:
    • On line 1: Statement of Grant Purpose
    • On line 2: Your Name, Country of Application, and Field of Study
    • On line 3: Your Project Title as it appears in the Biographical Data section of the application
  • On the second page of the Statement, enter the same information or just Grant Purpose, Page
Affiliation Letter

Understand the affiliation requirements for the country to which you are applying: Affiliation arrangements vary by country, so you should carefully review the affiliation information provided in the country summary. All academic grantees must have an affiliation in the host country.

Countries differ in the kinds of host affiliations that are acceptable. Examples of affiliations include universities, laboratories, libraries, non-governmental organizations, and so on. Pay special attention to the requirement in some countries to attend classes and/or affiliate with academic institutions.

Identify an appropriate affiliation for your project: The affiliation is your proposed host in the country to which you are applying. Fulbrighters have used a number of methods to contact potential hosts and solicit support for their projects. One primary method is to use the contacts and advisers that you already have. Ask current or former professors to put you into contact with appropriate people in the host country. If the proposal contains a strong research component, you must have host country contacts that can support the research, provide access to required resources, and/or advise you during the grant period. It is your responsibility to identify, contact, and secure an affiliation from a potential adviser.

Potential avenues to identify an appropriate affiliation/host country adviser include:

  • Faculty at your home campus.
  • International students.
  • Visiting Fulbright Professors in the U.S. or U.S. Fulbright Scholars who had grants to your host country. Directories are available here.
  • Internet searches of faculty at potential host institutions with your interests, or organizations in the host country that work with issues related to your topic.
  • Other U.S. academics with expertise in the location/subject matter of the proposed project.
  • Contacts from previous experience abroad.
  • Educational Advising sections of Embassies or Consulates of your potential host country.

Start early: Obtaining an affiliation letter from overseas can be a time-consuming process and sufficient lead time must be given to receive signed affiliation letters before the application deadline.

Request the Affiliation Letter: After identifying the appropriate host institution and the individual at that institution best suited to serve as an adviser for the proposed project, make contact with the potential adviser to determine if he/she is willing to write an affiliation letter. Before requesting the letter, you should provide the author with a copy of the Statement of Grant Purpose. The affiliation letter should indicate the author’s willingness to work with you on the intended project and it should speak to the feasibility and validity of what is being proposed. The letter should also indicate any additional resources or contacts that the adviser can provide to support the work.

  • Scanned versions of the original hard-copy letters with hand-written signatures should be uploaded into the application, and the letter writers can either send the original hard-copy letters or electronic copies to the applicants.
  • IIE will not accept any affiliation letters via email or fax.
  • Since affiliation letters are not confidential, you will upload the letter yourself into the online application system. Affiliation letters written in a foreign language must be translated into English and both the original letters and the English-language translations must be uploaded into the application.
  • Instructions on uploading letters of affiliation are available in the online application system.

Adhere to the proper format:

  • The affiliation letter must be printed on institutional letterhead and must be signed by the author.
  • Copies of email correspondence will not be accepted.
Personal Statement

Make it Personal: This statement provides you with an opportunity to introduce yourself to the screening committee members on a personal level. The style is up to you, but the content should convey your background and your motivation for applying to the specific Fulbright Program in question and how this background relates to the proposed project and your future goals.

Do not repeat information from other parts of the application.

Adhere to the proper format:

  • Length is limited to a maximum of one single-spaced pages. Longer statements will not be presented to the screening committee.
  • Use 1-inch margins and Times New Roman 12-point font.
  • At the top of each page include:
    • On line 1: Personal Statement
    • On line 2: Your Name, Country of Application, and Field of Study
    • On line 3: Project Title as it appears in the Biographical Data section of the application
Foreign Language Evaluation

For Commonly-Taught Languages: The Foreign Language Evaluation should be completed by a professional language teacher, preferably a university professor. The language evaluator cannot be related to the applicant.

For Less-Commonly-Taught Languages: If a professional language teacher is not readily available, a college-educated native-speaker of the language can be used. The language evaluator cannot be related to the applicant.

Provide your language evaluator with the Instructions for Foreign Language Evaluators. You can print these out and discuss them with the person completing the form.

Please note that an email address can only be used for one type of online reference, that is, either a reference or a Foreign Language Evaluation. If you wish to have the same person complete both a reference and a Foreign Language Evaluation, the person must use two different email addresses. You will register the person once for the reference and once for the Foreign Language Evaluation.

In order to register your language evaluator and to have access to the Language Self-Evaluation, you must respond appropriately to the Embark Online Application Preliminary Question 3. If you did not initially request these forms, click on the link in the upper right hand corner of the online application - Update My Answers to Preliminary Questions.

References
  • When choosing reference writers, select the three individuals who can best speak to your ability to carry out the proposed project.
  • Do not submit character references.
  • Provide reference writers with copies of the Statement of Grant Purpose and the Personal Statement so that they can write well-informed reference letters.
  • Give reference writers at least 3-4 weeks to complete the reference letters.
  • You must register the reference writers in the online application system so that they can upload their reference letters directly into the application.
  • References must remain confidential, so you cannot upload reference letters.
  • Reference letters should be printed on institutional letterhead, signed by the authors, and then uploaded into the online application system.
  • Provide your recommenders with the Instructions for Fulbright Reference Writers.

After the reference is submitted, it cannot be edited. However, if there is a significant error and the reference writer agrees to submit a revised reference, the following process must be followed:

  • The reference writer sends an email from the registered email account to Embark Support to request that the reference be un-submitted (from the login page of the Embark Online Reference System, the same used to submit the reference/evaluation).
  • The email to Embark support must include the applicant’s full name and country of application.
  • The reference writer will need to allow at least 48 hours for the request to be implemented.
  • Once the reference is un-submitted, the reference writer can edit the reference and resubmit.
  • All references must be submitted by the application deadline.

Note: Applicants and Fulbright Program Advisers cannot request that a reference be un-submitted.

Applicants can follow the status of the reference (not initiated, in progress, submitted) from the References/Evaluation page of the application. Additional details on the online submission of references are available in the Embark application system.

Transcripts
  • You must upload one unofficial academic transcript from each post-secondary institution from which you received a degree. Additional transcripts should be uploaded for coursework and grades not reflected on degree-granting transcripts.
  • Failure to provide a complete academic history of higher education will result in your being declared ineligible.
  • Graduate-level students who do not include undergraduate transcripts will be considered ineligible.
  • Candidates recommended for final consideration will be required to submit official copies of all college transcripts in January.
  • Consult the Transcript and Upload Instructions page for more detailed information.
Ethical Requirements
Applicants proposing research involving human beings or animals as research subjects who plan to formally publish the results or to use the results in a graduate program should have their projects vetted by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at their home institutions. At-Large applicants should conduct an individual ethics review ensuring that their proposed projects are consistent with ethical standards for research involving humans as research participants as outlined in the National Guidelines for Human Subjects Research (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Extramural Research, National Institutes of Health), and in the National Guidelines for Animal Welfare at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare or other applicable internationally recognized ethics guidance documents.

Human subjects research includes: clinical investigations (any experiment or study on one or more persons which involves a test product/article, whether a drug, treatment, procedure or device); social-behavioral studies which entail interaction with or observation of people, especially vulnerable populations (i.e., as minors, pregnant women, inmates, drug-users, the mentally impaired, displaced/refugee populations); and, basic scientific research to study the biology of animals, persons or organs and specimens thereof. The most fundamental issues in studies involving human research subjects include: valid scientific questions and approaches; potential social value; favorable risk-benefit ratio; fair selection of study participants and an adequately administered informed consent process.
I am a....

Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.  All applicants enrolled in U.S institutions must apply through their home campuses.  Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

If you are an undergraduate student you would be eligible to apply in your senior year.  If you are a graduate student you are eligible to apply to most countries as long as you will not have a PhD degree on the application deadline.

Non-U.S. Student

If you are a non-U.S. citizen looking to applying for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States you will apply to the Fulbright Program for Foreign Students in your home country.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, hold a bachelor’s degree, and do not have a PhD degree then you could be eligible for certain awards within the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.  Please review the program summary for the country where you would like to apply.

Artist

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program welcomes applications in the creative and performing arts.  Arts candidates for the U.S. Student Program should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 5 years or less) in which they are applying.  Artists with more experience should consider applying for Fulbright Scholar Program.

FPA

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U.S. Professor

If you are a U.S. citizen and a professor at a U.S. institution and are interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award you will need to apply through CIES.

Non U.S. Professor

If you are a non-U.S. citizen and a professor interested in applying for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the United States you would need to apply through the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in your home country.  Find out more information on the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program.