Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowships

2018-2019 Competition Opens: April 3, 2017

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State inaugurated the J. William Fulbright - Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Policy Fellowship in academic year 2012-13.

The Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship provides opportunities for U.S. citizens to serve in professional placements in a foreign government ministry or institution in partner governments. Fulbright-Clinton Fellows build mutual understanding and contribute to strengthening the public sector while gaining hands-on public sector experience. The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship also includes an independent academic study/research component.

Fulbright-Clinton Fellows function in a “special assistant” role for a senior level official. The goal of the professional placements is to build the Fellows’ knowledge and skills, provide support to partner country institutions, and promote long-term ties between the U.S. and the partner country. The U.S. Embassy, with the Fulbright Commission (where applicable), will identify host ministries and provide administrative support and oversight during the Fellow’s program.

Fulbright-Clinton Fellowships are available to:
African Union Guatemala Peru
Burma (Myanmar) Kosovo Samoa
Chile Malawi Timor-Leste
Cote d’Ivoire Nepal Ukraine

Embassies, Fulbright Commissions (where applicable), and host country governments will coordinate appropriate professional placements for candidates in all public policy areas including, but not limited to, public health, education, agriculture, justice, energy, the environment, public finance, economic development, information technology, and communications. While all public policy fields are eligible for placement, for some countries, there is a special interest in hosting Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellows with experience in certain fields. Please check the "Candidate Profile" section of the relevant country summary(ies) for detailed information on these opportunities.

Successful applicants must be young professionals who have a strong service orientation, flexibility and resourcefulness, outstanding organizational skills, a wide range of competencies including strong writing, communication and IT skills, and the ability to work behind the scenes in a supportive role. Fellows may be responsible for activities such as policy and budget development and analysis; program monitoring and evaluation; drafting speeches, talking points, and correspondence; record keeping and note taking; and general project management. Fellows will have the opportunity to use their subject area expertise, language fluency, and other skills, such as IT proficiency, during the program to support the achievement of host institution goals. Responsibilities will be finalized after the placement is made. Participants will also be expected to carry out an academic component, such as an independent research project or related coursework. Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellows will spend 32 hours per week in their professional assignments and 8 hours per week pursuing related academic projects.


Candidate Profile and Qualifications

To learn more about past Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellows, you may access their profiles here.

In addition to specific instructions for the application essays and Language Self-Evaluation which will be delineated in the application for 2018-2019, this program has the following qualifications and preferences:

Candidates must:
  • Be U.S. citizens by October 6, 2017.
  • Have a Master’s level degree (MA, JD, MBA, MPA, MPH, MSW, MSc, or other) with an area of focus that is applicable to public policy prior to September 1, 2017, OR be currently enrolled in a doctoral program prior to the grant period which will commence in September 2017.
    • Candidates who hold a Ph.D. at the time of application or who will hold a Ph.D. at any time during the grant period are not eligible.
    • Candidates with Medical Degrees are eligible with some stipulations, please see the FAQs below for details
  • Have at least two years of full-time, professional work experience in policy-related fields.
Factors in selection of Fellows will include:
  • Academic and professional record
  • Proficiency in the local working language of the host country (additional information will be available when countries are announced). Proficiency will be determined by the application and also will be verified during the application process, which will require an interview in the host country language
  • Knowledge of the host country/region (history, culture, etc.)
  • Personal and professional qualifications
  • Preference factors as indicated below
Preference in selection will be given to candidates with:
  • Fluency in the local working language(s)
  • Deep knowledge of the host country/region (history, culture, etc.)
  • A strong service orientation and a high degree of versatility, resourcefulness, and creativity
  • Applicable professional experience
  • Advanced communication skills


Application Process

Note: Please review the below instructions thoroughly before beginning the Embark online application as the application components are distinct from the general application.

To apply for the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship application, select ‘Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship’ from the Special Opportunity drop-down list in the Embark application (Step B, Question 4).

Please note that applicants must select one country in the online application, but may rank 1-2 alternate participating countries. Candidates who list more than one country should provide evidence of their qualifications for each country indicated. However, applicants may be considered for all participating countries based on individual country requirements, consultations with participating U.S. Embassies, the qualifications of the individual applicant, and other factors.

For more information about the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship and advice from successful applicants, click here to browse our recorded tutorials and webinars.

Sign up for an upcoming live webinar and Q&A with Fulbright staff.

Application FAQs

Can I apply for the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship if I apply in the traditional competition?

Applicants are not eligible to apply for both programs.

How is the application process for the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship different from the traditional Fulbright Program?
Applicants must select one country in the Online Application, but may also rank  up to two alternate participating countries.

Instead of a Statement of Grant Purpose Essay, Fulbright-Clinton applicants must prepare a two-page "Policy Fellowship Statement" and a one-page "Skills Self-Assessment."

Unlike the traditional Fulbright program, candidates should NOT seek affiliation with an in-country host institution during the application process.

Unlike the traditional Fulbright program, finalists will be interviewed and expected to conduct part of the interview in the language required by the host country.

Can I apply if I have already had a Fulbright Study/Research Grant or a Department of Education-funded Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Grant?
Yes. However, you should be aware that very strong preference is for those who have not previously held a Fulbright study/research award.
How many grants will be available?

This will be determined by the qualifications of candidates, opportunity for making appropriate placements, and funding availability. View the statistics for more information.

What is the duration of the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship?
10 months, from approximately September/October to approximately July/August.
What are the benefits provided to Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship recipients?

The Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship benefits are comparable to the traditional U.S. Student Fulbright Program, and are based on the cost of living in the host country. Determination of the exact value of the grant is determined following placements due to a number of factors (approved housing options, location of ministry, security requirements, transportation/commute costs, etc.). Grant benefits for all Fulbright U.S. Student grants include:

  • Round-trip transportation to the host country
  • Funding to cover room, board, and incidental costs, based on the cost of living in the host country. An additional settling-in allowance is also provided
  • In-country assistance in setting-up housing, transportation needs, and safety/security planning
  • Additional professional stipend that can be used for language study, ministry-related travel, or other approved professional expenses.
  • Accident & Sickness Health Benefits

For more information please review the U.S. Student Fulbright award benefits.

What does the requirement of “two years of work experience in public-policy related fields” mean?

Work experience may take many forms. Professional internships, other fellowships, various positions in a number of fields that inform public policy, as well as direct work experience in the public policy arena can count toward the two year requirement. However, a minimum of one year full-time work experience is strongly recommended.

Applicants are not required to have prior experience in the field of public policy or to have worked for an organization that is involved directly in public policy. Applicants should illustrate how their unique work experience, in an appropriate field, will benefit the host government in creating, analyzing, or carrying out policies of the host government.

The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that Fellows are able to navigate professional office culture and thrive in assignments that are challenging positions in foreign bureaucracies.

Can internship experience count toward the 2-year work experience requirement?

Yes, professional internships should be counted towards the fulfillment of this requirement. However, a minimum of one year full-time work experience is still strongly recommended. Feel free to contact Jermaine Jones if you have questions about specific types of experience or internships.

What professional placements are available?

Professional placements are created for finalists. There are no pre-determined placements for which applicants apply. If you would like more information, about the types of placements fellows have received in the past, click here to view current and previous Fellows’ bios.

Should I seek a host country affiliation or placement?

Unlike the traditional Fulbright program, candidates for the Fulbright-Clinton Fellowship should not affiliate with an in-country host institution, such as a ministry or university, during the application process. Candidates should not seek their own placements and should not submit any letters regarding placements/affiliations with their applications. The placement process through high level negotiations between the U.S. Embassy (with the support of the Fulbright Commission, if applicable) and the Host Government and must be carried out in its entirety by representatives of the two governments. Candidates who do not follow these guidelines may be deemed ineligible.

Can you elaborate on language requirements?

Host governments have consulted with U.S. Embassies to determine the language requirements for Fellows. Please check the individual country pages for countries that you are considering to determine the requirements. Fulbright-Clinton Fellows will be required to carry out a position in a foreign government ministry effectively and seamlessly. Meeting the language requirements is critical for completing the daily requirements of the professional placement. Applicants should also keep in mind that they will be living in and need to function in the local economy. Applicants should be cognizant of this especially in cases in which the official or working language of government differs from the language used in daily life by the local population. Proficiency will be determined by the application and also will be verified at various times in the application process, including an interview meant, in part, to assess language capabilities.

For applicants to countries without language requirements: Applicants should take into consideration that, even if their supervisor speaks English fluently, any limits in their own ability to speak the language of their supervisor, colleagues, or local citizens will affect their professional and personal experience during their grant time. It is strongly encouraged for applicants to disclose information about their current language study and/or plans to study the host country language, if applicable.

How do I balance deep country knowledge with the two country choices?

Focusing your application on one country to demonstrate deep country knowledge is strongly recommended. It may not be possible to demonstrate this level of knowledge for two countries, given language and knowledge requirements. Your second choice should be seen as an alternate and addressed with much less detail. Framing your application for one specific country would be the best use of the space allowed for defining your aims.

What is the balance between the work commitment with a government ministry and an academic/research project?

Eight hours per week are to be scheduled for an academic/research project and 32 hours per week will be spent in a professional placement at the Ministry. The schedule should be determined in consultation with the host ministry to determine how to best accommodate the academic requirement. This program is not intended for Ph.D. candidates who wish to focus on research for their dissertations.

Does prior experience in the proposed host country affect an applicant in the same way it does in the standard U.S. Student Program? Does the six-month residence guideline apply for the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship?

No. Experience in the host country can be a plus, particularly if it has promoted language acquisition. However, the five year rule still applies - anyone who has resided abroad for five or more consecutive years in the six-year period preceding the date of application is ineligible to apply.

Is Medicine an acceptable field?
M.D. or medical students or the equivalent (e.g., D.D.S, O.D.) who are pursuing or hold a policy-related degree are eligible to apply. Their research projects, however, cannot be for an activity for which a license to practice medicine or nursing is required.
Are you able to you provide contact information for current or former Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellows?

No, we do not provide this information to applicants. However, you may click here to locate their bios online. We will highlight Fellows during webinars throughout the application process.

Am I eligible to apply for a Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship in a country that is not listed as a participating country?

No, we accept applications for participating countries only. Applications to other countries will not be reviewed.

My field is not listed as a preference for the country I’d like to apply for, will I still be considered?

Absolutely! While some host governments have indicated field-specific preferences, these are only preferences. We accept applications in any public policy related fields, and encourage applicants to avoid feeling limited by these preferences. We have successfully placed many Fellows who applied for placements in field areas that were not highlighted. Some countries also have confirmed that they cannot place Fellows in certain ministries or fields, such as law enforcement, intelligence, etc. These will be noted on the country pages as well.


Additional Resources

Visit the Videos & Tutorials page.



Contact: Jermaine Jones – [email protected] or +1.212.984.5341


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.


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.

Creative & Performing Arts projects fall under the Study/Research grant category and are available in all countries where Study/Research grants are offered. 



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.