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Current U.S. Student

United States citizens who are currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are eligible to apply.If you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at a U.S. college or university, you will apply through that institution, even if you are not currently a resident there. Find the Fulbright Program Adviser on your campus.

U.S. Citizen but not a Student

If you are a U.S. citizen, will hold a bachelor’s degree by the award start date, and do not have a Ph.D. degree, then you are eligible to apply. Non-enrolled applicants should have relatively limited professional experience in the fields (typically 7 years or less) in which they are applying. Candidates with more experience should consider applying for the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Getting Started page will provide information on eligibility and next steps.


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 7 years or less) in which they are applying. Artists with more experience should consider applying for the 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/Administrator

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

To support your students in applying for a U.S. Student Program award, please connect with the Fulbright Program Adviser at your institution.

Non U.S. Citizens

If you are a non-U.S. citizen interested in applying for a Fulbright Award to the United States, you will 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 or Fulbright Foreign Student Program.

South Korea

8 U.S.-Korea Presidential STEM Initiative Award

Accepted Degree Levels
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Doctoral
Grant Period
Fall Start
Grant Length
6-10 Months
Award Type
Special Study/Research
Specialized Grant Types
  • Science/Public Health
Award Profile

In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the United States of America and the Republic of Korea, Presidents Biden and Yoon announced in April 2023 the establishment of a new educational exchange initiative amounting to $60 million, funded jointly, that aims to serve 2,023 Koreans and 2,023 Americans. Per the leaders’ joint statement from April 26, 2023, the initiative includes 200 grantees under the Fulbright scholarship program, making it the largest number of grantees selected for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Fulbright’s history.

Designed to promote academic and cultural exchange, Study/Research Awards, like those under the STEM Initiative, provide the opportunity for enthusiastic and accomplished graduating college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals to pursue independent research projects in Korea on a topic of their choice. Student researchers are sought from all disciplines within STEM (including in emerging technologies) and from all degree levels (Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral). Grants are awarded through an open competition to support exploration of a wide range of academic pursuits. 

South Korea holds a unique position geopolitically as it balances relationships with the U.S., China, North Korea, and other countries in East Asia. It is also in a unique position historically as it becomes increasingly multicultural and addresses issues of demographic change and technological advancement. Additionally, with the spread in popularity of Korean culture, language, and arts worldwide, popularly known as the “Hallyu Wave,” South Korea has taken its place on the world stage as a major influencer of global culture and trends. The vibrancy of Korea’s growing music and film scenes, reflected in the worldwide fame of BTS, Parasite, and Squid Game, are equally matched by a vibrancy and uniqueness of history extending back to the mythical foundation of Korea with the Gojoseon Dynasty in 2333 BC. South Korea boasts 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including monasteries, temples, and tombs; palaces, villages, and fortress complexes. The cultural atmosphere of these sites is reflected in the traditions of dress, dwelling, and daily living still seen in the gracefulness of Hanbok and Hanok, tasted in the savoriness of Kimchi and Korean barbeque, and heard in the strains of Pansori and Samul Nori.

As with the rest of the country, Korea’s higher education system has seen rapid growth since the cessation of the Korean War in 1953 through an armistice agreement. Today, Korea has over 400 higher education institutions. (For more information on higher education in Korea, visit the Korean Ministry of Education's Study in Korea website.) This emphasis on strong academics is matched by a strong interest in research and development (R&D) as, per the OECD, Korea has one of the world’s highest levels of R&D expenditure. 

With its strong focus on growth and development, and its emphasis on maintaining tradition and history, South Korea is an excellent place to study and to research topics spanning a multitude of fields and issues. 

Grant Length
6-10 Months
Grant Period
Fall Start

10 months for Bachelor’s and Master’s Level candidates: The award period will start on August 18, 2025, and end on June 17, 2026 (dates to be confirmed). Alternate start dates will not be considered, except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

6 - 10 months for Doctoral/PhD candidates: The recommended award start is August 18, 2025, to facilitate cohort bonding and networking. A later start date may be considered if before March 2026.

Pre-Departure and In-Country Orientation

A virtual pre-departure orientation session will be offered by the Fulbright Korea Commission during the spring/summer of 2025 prior to grantee arrival in Korea.

Applicants at the bachelor’s and master’s level are required to attend an in-country orientation in the capital of Seoul shortly after their arrival in Korea. While doctoral/PhD candidate applicants are not required to attend the in-country orientation, they are encouraged to do so as a means of expanding their host-country support network and contacts.

Candidate Profile

Applicants at all degree levels will be considered. Ideal applicants should propose a distinctive research project relevant to Korea that can be reasonably accomplished within the grant period. Applicants possessing appropriate language facility and previous cross-cultural experience will find their research more effectively accomplished and their Fulbright experience enhanced. Applicants must clearly articulate their future plans and express a compelling reason for coming to Korea for their research, as opposed to any other country. Applicants must also clearly specify the wider impact of their project and how it will enhance the relationship between the two countries.

Due to the hands-off nature of independent research in Korea, all applicants must have the academic maturity, rigor, and depth of knowledge to work independently without close guidance from their host supervisor. They must exhibit a high level of subject knowledge and personal/academic initiative. Applicants must also articulate a clear plan and outcome for their research. It is still important that grantees have strong project support from their host institution and supervisor.

What is life like for Fulbrighters in the host country?

Since the publication of its first volume in 2008, Fulbright Korea Infusion has showcased the literary, artistic and academic talents of Fulbright Program participants in Korea. While the opinions expressed in Infusion are the contributors' own, and thus may not reflect official program policy or practice, Infusion also serves as Fulbright Korea's annual forum for grantee news, journalism, research, literature, artwork, poetry, photography, and video. The magazine aims to capture the diversity of the Fulbright Korea experience. To learn more about this experience, visit the Infusion website

Residency in host country NOT permitted in year prior to grant
Indicate how many months is considered residency:
3 Months
Dual citizens of this country are NOT eligible
  • Candidates with dual U.S.-Republic of Korea nationality/citizenship will not be considered. (See section on "Visa Requirements/Dual Nationality" below.)
  • Candidates currently residing in Korea (or those who will be residing there during the 2024-2025 academic year) will not be considered. As a tourist visa in Korea is for 90 days, residency is considered to be a cumulative stay of 3 months or more.
  • Candidates who have already received a PhD degree by the grant start date are not eligible for consideration. (They should instead apply for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award.)
Degree Level of Applicant
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Doctoral
Special Application Instructions

As part of the selection process, semi-finalist candidates who are recommended for final review by the Fulbright Korea Commission may be contacted for interviews via video call or phone. An invitation to an interview is a further step in the selection process and not a guarantee that the semi-finalist will be selected for a grant in Korea.

Foreign Language Proficiency
Required - Novice

Additional Information: Korean language proficiency is required, not only for the development of the proposed project, but also in order to settle in easily and communicate on a daily basis. Higher level proficiency may be necessary depending on the requirements of the proposed project. In particular, applicants who intend to conduct interviews as a major component of their research methodology should possess higher level proficiency (at minimum, intermediate proficiency but preferably advanced proficiency.) The use of translators to conduct research under Fulbright is discouraged.

  • Selected candidates who do not meet the minimum (novice) Korean language proficiency requirement at the time of award offer must arrive in Korea in late July/early August 2025 to complete approximately one (1) month of intensive Korean language study prior to commencing their grant in late August/early September 2025. Failure to successfully complete the required language study, which will be arranged by Fulbright Korea, may result in withdrawal of a selected candidate’s Fulbright award offer as only those with the required novice proficiency may undertake Fulbright awards in Korea.
  • Selected candidates who meet the minimum (novice) Korean language proficiency requirement at the time of award offer may choose to further their study using a supplementary Korean language study allowance to be included among their Fulbright award benefits. The allowance supports grantee enrollment in a formal Korean language course, or language tutoring, concurrent with a grantee’s Fulbright award period.

All applicants must show either:

1) Evidence of already possessing the language proficiency needed to conduct their proposed project.

2) Evidence of a reasonable plan for gaining the language proficiency needed to conduct their proposed project.

The matter of project feasibility in relation to language proficiency should be thoroughly addressed in the Statement of Grant Purpose. In the Fulbright online application, applicants must include a Language Self-Evaluation and a Foreign Language Evaluation by a professional language instructor in relation to their language proficiency.

Fulbright Proposal Types
Independent Study/Research:
Graduate Degree Enrollment:
Independent Study/Research:
Letter recommended but not required at deadline

Host interest is a key factor in determining who will receive an award. The role of the affiliation in the U.S. Student Program is to provide ongoing and substantive oversight and support to the grantee's project. Grantees will be required to have an affiliation with an appropriate host institution in Korea, including institutions of higher education and research, authenticated colleges, authenticated universities, libraries, archives, hospitals, public television and radio stations, government agencies, national laboratories, privately sponsored nonprofit institutes, nonprofit organizations, government charted nonprofit research organizations, and foundations.

For information on higher education institutions in Korea, visit the website of the Korean Ministry of Education or its subsidiary website, Study in Korea. Additionally, see example institutions from past alumni here: U.S. Student Program - Fulbright Korea.

While not required at the time of application, applicants must initiate contact with the host institution of preference and obtain a formal letter of affiliation between the applicant and the host institution by December 31, 2024. All semi-finalists will be required to submit a letter of affiliate support/invitation. Failure to submit a letter as requested at the semi-finalist stage will result in dismissal of the candidate’s application by Fulbright Korea.

The letter should state that a host supervisor will be available during the grant period to mentor the applicant and/or supervise the applicant's work on the proposed project. While issuing the letter, the host supervisor must address accurately the following points:

  1. Origin of the collaboration
  2. Role of the host supervisor in the applicant project
  3. Project feasibility
  4. Plans by the host affiliation to involve the applicant in the institution’s activities
  5. Access to facilities, equipment, resources, and or data sets
  6. Collaboration with an ongoing project

Letters must be on official letterhead, with the signature of the host supervisor included.

If the proposed project entails working with human subjects or human subject data, the project proposal and/or letter of affiliation must also detail how the appropriate ethics/IRB approval will be obtained. 

Although not required, if affiliated with a higher education institution, applicants are encouraged to discuss with their affiliation the possibility of auditing courses for the purpose of enhancing their Fulbright experience and research. 

Please be mindful that July and August are the traditional summer vacation months in South Korea and thus responses to inquiries about letters of affiliation may be delayed. Applicants are advised to contact Korean host institutions well ahead of time to solicit an affiliation letter for their application.

Affiliation Fees/Tuition
Affiliation Fees/Tuition not covered in grant benefits

Affiliation fees/tuition are not covered under award benefits. Applicants who are seeking an academic affiliation, and who are interested in attending classes during their grant period, are encouraged to speak with their proposed host supervisor about the possibility of auditing a course(s). 

Award Benefits
  • A stipend broadly based on the cost of living in the host country. These funds may be used by the grantee to support housing, meals, and incidental costs during the grant period.
  • International travel benefits
  • Accident & sickness health benefits
  • 24/7 mental health support line for urgent and non-urgent situations
  • 12 months of non-competitive eligibility (NCE) hiring status within the federal government
Stipend Amount

This is an estimated amount and is subject to change. The financial terms of the grant will be confirmed in the grant document issued after selection.

2,400,000 monthly stipend amount in
₩ [South Korean Won]

Award benefits are distributed on a bimonthly (once every two months) basis in the local currency of Korean Won (KRW). Grantees are required to open a local bank account to receive award benefits. The first two months of the stipend may be transferred in USD to the grantee's American bank account shortly after their arrival in Korea to allow for the processing time of necessary residence paperwork prior to opening a Korean bank account. Subsequent award benefits must be distributed in KRW.

One-Time Allowances

This is an estimated amount and is subject to change. The financial terms of the grant will be confirmed in the grant document issued after selection.

₩ [South Korean Won]
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Language training allowance
  • Research/Materials allowance
  • Settling in allowance

One-time payments are provided to offset costs associated with settling in, excess baggage/shipping fees, and the purchase of study/research materials. Such payments total approximately KRW 1,100,000. 

For those who meet the Korean language proficiency requirements at the time of award offer (see "Foreign Language Proficiency" section), and thus may be studying Korean concurrently with their grant period, a supplementary Korean language study allowance of approximately KRW 1,800,000 will be included among their Fulbright award benefits. The allowance supports grantee enrollment in a formal Korean language course, or language tutoring, concurrent with a grantee’s Fulbright award period.

Estimated Cost of Living

Consider using cost of living comparison websites to gain a better understanding of the potential costs in your host country.

Currency & Banking: The official currency of South Korea is the Korean Won (KRW). Per the Yearly Average Currency Exchange Rate from the IRS for 2022, USD 1 = KRW 1291.729. Cash is still widely used throughout the country, but credit and debit cards are also common payment methods available in most locations. Most foreigners opening bank accounts in Korea receive a debit card as it is difficult to gain access to credit in Korea without a domestic financial history. Checks are not typically used as those with local bank accounts can easily transfer money electronically via either ATMs or online/mobile banking established after obtaining a Korean Residence Card. Most banks require a Residence Card to open an account.  

Wages: The average cost of living in South Korea, even within the capital of Seoul, is lower than in comparable areas of the United States. Accordingly, salaries are also, on average, lower than in the U.S. In 2023, the hourly minimum wage was KRW 9,620 (US $7.45), for a monthly minimum wage (at ~209 hours) of KRW 2,010,580 (US $1,560). (Source: ROK Minimum Wage Commission) Per 2021 survey data collected by The Seoul Institute, among single-person households in Seoul, approximately 65.8% earned 2-3 million KRW or less per month. (Source: Seoul at a Glance 2022) 

Rent: Most of the Korean population lives in apartments. Housing conditions are generally good as many buildings are either new or newly remodeled, but there are older-style apartments still, particularly in less metropolitan areas. Housing is overall smaller in size than in the U.S. as much of the peninsula (about 70%) is mountainous, leading to higher population density in the low-lying coastal and valley areas, including Seoul. South Korea uses a unique “key money” rental system, which typically requires a higher housing deposit but lower monthly rental costs. Rent varies considerably depending on the deposit required, location, sharing arrangement, furnishings, and apartment size/quality. Grant candidates working with universities are particularly encouraged to speak with their hosts about the availability of campus housing.

Transportation: Public transportation is inexpensive, timely, and clean. Subway systems are available in the major metropolitan areas of Seoul, Daejeon, Daegu, Gwangju, and Busan. As of December 2023, the Seoul subway fare for a single trip of less than 10 km (6.2 miles) was KRW 1,400 (US $1.08). Bus fares are generally between KRW 1,200–3,000 (US $1–2.30) depending on the type of bus and distance travelled. During the daytime, the base fare for a regular taxi is about KRW 3,800 (US $3) for the first 2 km (1.2 miles). A rechargeable transportation card (T-money or CashBee) can be purchased at convenience stores for use on public transportation within Korea, as well as for taxi rides. Intercity regular and express buses are available relatively inexpensively, and trains also crisscross much of the country. A one-way economy class ticket for an express bus from Seoul in the northwest of the peninsula to Busan in the southeast costs around KRW 27,000 (US $21) whereas an economy class ticket for a fast train (KTX) costs around KRW 60,000 (US $46.50). 

Food: Food prices are lower in Korea than in the United States. Local dishes such as bibimbap, tofu stew, dumplings, etc. can be purchased for around KRW 8,000-10,000 (US $6.20-7.75). A latte is around KRW 4,500 (US $3.50). A large Big Mac set (burger, fries, soda) from McDonalds is around KRW 8,000 (US $7). Vegetarian and vegan food is becoming more popular but is most readily available around metropolitan areas. Fresh produce is available inexpensively at traditional markets located throughout the country. Korea also has an excellent food delivery culture for both prepared meals and groceries. Tipping is not part of the culture in Korea, so food prices are as listed; no additional tip is expected. While the cost of international foods varies, prices are generally reasonable, and items that cannot be found locally may be available for shipment via Korea’s excellent and affordable postal system.

Dependent financial support is available

The Commission provides limited dependent support to offset the costs of those accompanying dependents who reside in South Korea for 80% of the grant duration. 

Visa sponsorship of dependents is available. However, please note that visas available through the Commission cannot be used by dependents to obtain employment in Korea. Thus, if a dependent wants to work in Korea, they should seek other visa sponsorship. 

Housing Arrangements

Fulbright grantees are responsible for arranging their own housing in South Korea. Korean affiliates are not obligated to find housing for a grantee. However, they may be able to offer some support or advice toward finding a studio apartment or university housing (a dorm room on campus) for rent. If the Korean affiliate is a higher education institution, they may also have an international office that assists foreign students and researchers in identifying housing options.

The Commission will provide selected grantees with a list of resources for finding housing prior to arrival. That being said, grantees should begin considering their housing options very early and allow ample time to secure housing before departing for South Korea. 

Fulbright Program Management Contact
Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Website
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Clearance

For all levels and types of projects, if the proposed research project entails "human subject" issues, applicants should be aware that gaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval after arrival in Korea is difficult, time-consuming, and, in some cases, not possible. As such, applicants should discuss this issue with their host supervisor well in advance of their arrival in Korea and explore obtaining IRB approval from their current university if at all possible. The project proposal and/or letter of affiliation should detail how the appropriate ethics/IRB approval will be obtained. 

Visa Requirements/Dual Nationality

Note: The Korean Government utilizes the words “national/nationality” as opposed to “citizen/citizenship” in most official documentation in English. These words can be viewed as interchangeable for the purposes of this advisory.

All Fulbright U.S. Student awardees to Korea MUST obtain an A-3 visa and enter the country on a U.S. passport.

Candidates who are nationals of Korea will NOT be permitted to undertake Fulbright awards to Korea.

Individuals of Korean heritage may have dual U.S.-ROK nationality unbeknownst to them or their family.

In April 2010, the Republic of Korea passed legislation that allows dual nationality, with differing rules for men and women. If one of an applicant’s parents is or was a Korean national, the applicant may automatically inherit Korean nationality via Korea’s “jus sanguinis” laws. In order to confirm their Korean nationality status, applicants of Korean heritage MUST contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Korean Consulate PRIOR TO submitting a Fulbright application.

Applicants in the following circumstances are considered by the Republic of Korea to be Korean nationals:

  • An individual whose father was still a Korean national at the time of the individual’s birth (if born before or on June 13, 1998)
  • An individual whose father or mother was still a Korean national at the time of the individual’s birth (if born on or after June 14, 1998)
  • An individual whose father was a Korean national and was deceased at the time of the individual’s birth

Applicants who fall under any of the categories listed above must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Korean Consulate immediately to learn more about these regulations and the suggested procedures for filing for renunciation/loss of Korean nationality.

Applicants who were born in Korea and received American citizenship through naturalization should have lost their Korean nationality automatically at the time of their naturalization. However, official renunciation documentation (국적상실신고) must still be submitted to the Korean Government in order to formalize a citizenship status change. Per the Korean Consulate in Houston, “Failure to formally renounce one’s citizenship after being naturalized in another country may cause issues when applying for visas, marriage or birth registry, and legal matters.” As such, those from Korea naturalized as American citizens must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate to ensure that their loss of Korean nationality has been formally recognized.

Applicants who were born in Korea and received American citizenship through adoption should have lost their Korean nationality automatically six months after American citizenship was granted. However, it has come to Fulbright Korea's attention that Korean nationality renunciation has not always been finalized for adoptees. As such, those adopted from Korea also must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate prior to submitting a Fulbright application to confirm their Korean nationality status.

It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine whether they have dual nationality and how it impacts their eligibility for a Fulbright award.

In order to avoid withdrawal of a Fulbright award, Fulbright Korea requires all American applicants of Korean heritage to provide written proof that they do not have Korean nationality before they accept their Fulbright award. From the time a candidate is offered an award, they have approximately two weeks to return a decision and submit written verification that they do not have Korean nationality/citizenship. Failure to provide written verification before the award acceptance deadline is grounds for award withdrawal. Additionally, at the time of or after award acceptance, if any individual is found 1) to have failed to disclose they are of Korean heritage or 2) to have dual nationality with Korea, their award offer will be withdrawn.

To obtain written verification of NOT having Korean nationality/citizenship, those of Korean heritage must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate, or the ROK Ministry of Justice.

Written verification may take the form of:

  • Family records such as a “basic certificate” (기본증명서), “family relations/register certificate” (가족관계증명서), etc.
  • Loss or renunciation of Korean nationality records such as a “loss of nationality notice” (국적상실 허가 통지서), “renunciation of nationality notice” (국적이탈 허가 통지서), etc.

In all instances, documentation must clearly indicate that the applicant does not have Korean nationality in order for it to be accepted as written proof.

As an individual’s Korean nationality status is contingent upon specific personal and family history, all applicants of Korean heritage should contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate as early as possible once they have established their interest in the Fulbright Program in Korea in order to confirm their Korean nationality status and acquire appropriate documentation.

More information about Korean nationality law can be found at:

General questions regarding this requirement may be addressed to the Korean-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Korea) via email. Fulbright Korea is not a U.S. or R.O.K. government or immigration agency and thus cannot answer specific inquiries.

Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Contact
Fulbright Korea U.S. Student Program:
Additional Online Resources