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65 Open Study/Research Awards

Accepted Degree Levels
Grant Period
10 Months
No Pre-Departure Orientation
Grant Period

10 Months

8 - 10 months for Bachelor's and Master's Degree Levels - Grants begin in mid-September, usually with an orientation meeting in Germany.

6 – 10 months for Doctoral Research candidates* - * The Fulbright Commission's selection committee will reserve the right to offer shorter grant periods of between 6 and 10 months, if appropriate. If applying for a grant of less than 8 months, please include the grant length in your Project Title within the application, indicating the number of months inside parentheses.  For example, “Fulbright Research Proposal Title (6).”

Grants should begin in mid-September 2019; a later start may be considered if before April 2020.

Pre-Departure Orientation

No Pre-Departure Orientation

Candidate Profile

Applicants may come from any recognized academic field and be at any academic level; however, they must have completed at least a bachelor's degree at the start of the grant. Applicants should have an excellent academic record and strong reference letters. As Fulbright grantees are representing their country in all aspects, applicants should have strong cultural and leadership skills. Proposed projects should be innovative, feasible in Germany, fit in the candidate's previous academic training and future objectives, and be based on the candidate's overall academic background and profile.

Accepted Degree Levels




Foreign Language Proficiency

Recommended - Novice

1 year of college-level study, or the equivalent, prior to commencing the grant.

Additional Information: Many German universities offer master's programs taught in English, and the international research teams at German universities or research institutions use English as the common language. However, in dealing with German administration and authorities, and to cope with everyday life in their host community, candidates should have at least a basic knowledge of German. Therefore, applicants should consider refreshing their German language skills during the summer months before they arrive in Germany, and they should check the offerings of language courses at their potential German host institutions. The Fulbright Commission may contribute modestly towards the costs of such courses.

Fulbright Proposal Types

Independent Study/Research: Yes

Graduate Degree Enrollment: Yes


  1. Applicants who wish to study at a German university may pursue two options:
  1. Enrollment as a visiting/non-degree student with practically all routine benefits of matriculated students, such as a transportation pass. All applicants are strongly encouraged to solicit a meaningful letter of invitation/support from a professor at their intended host institution and include it in their Fulbright application [see University Matriculation - Invitation Letter]. Many German study programs have undergone structural reforms ("Bologna process") with the result that quite a few German universities no longer admit visiting/non-degree students.
  2. Seek admission as a degree student in a one- or two-year master's program. The Fulbright-Commission welcomes such applications even though the funding can be offered only for the first year and does not cover any tuition fees.

Because the study options vary greatly at German universities, the Fulbright Commission recommends that applicants check with the international offices of their intended host institutions regarding matriculation requirements for Fulbright grantees. Applicants should bear in mind that the matriculation and enrollment at German universities are the sole responsibility of the university administration and that individual professors cannot make such decisions.

2. Applicants seeking research opportunities at established German universities or research institutions, such as Max-Planck or Leibniz institutes, may matriculate with their host institutions as research fellows. While they are closely integrated in their research departments, they are not formally enrolled in a study program but are encouraged to attend regular university courses so as to enhance their academic experiences in Germany. When selecting their preferred research institution, applicants should note that close proximity from research institution to university is imperative for the successful enrollment in university courses. 

Affiliation Fees/Tuition

German Higher Education System: Information Update

With a new university regulation, the public higher education institutions in the German federal state of Baden Wuerttemberg have introduced tuition fees in the amount of Euro 1,500 per academic semester for international students coming from countries outside the European Union. 

This regulation also affects U.S. students who wish to pursue study and research at a university in Baden-Wuerttemberg – if the study and research activities take place outside an official partnership program between the student's U.S. home university and the host university in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Although we have worked hard to ensure that our scholarship holders are exempt from this new university regulation, we just learned that U.S. Fulbright students will be subject to the tuition fees after all.

Unfortunately, Fulbright students cannot avoid this regulation by not enrolling in the host university. Applicants interested in studying and/or performing research at a university in Baden-Wuerttemberg (or any other German university) must enroll in the intended host university in order to qualify for the required student residence permit. In the case of Baden-Wuerttemberg, they will then be charged tuition of Euro 1,500 per academic semester. The Fulbright Commission will not be able to cover these fees.

The universities in Baden-Wuerttemberg can grant exceptions of this new regulation only for those students who can prove to them that their enrollment in the U.S. home university continues throughout the Fulbright scholarship period, in which case students must submit such proof in writing, issued from their U.S. home university.


American citizens/passport holders who also have German citizenship cannot be considered.

Applicants already enrolled in master's programs in Germany, or who have already begun their academic program in Germany, are not eligible for Fulbright grants.

Special Application Instructions

Only Doctoral Research candidates may request a grant period shorter than 10 months, but no less than 6 months. If applying for a grant of less than 8 months in duration, please include the grant length in your Project Title within the application, indicating the number of months inside parentheses. For example, "Fulbright Research Proposal Title (6)." In addition, applicants should indicate the shorter grant length in the application Abstract, as well as justification for the shorter grant length in the application Statement of Grant Purpose.

University Matriculation

The Fulbright Commission requires all grantees (including research fellows) to be fully matriculated at their host institution, be it a research institute (Max-Planck, Leibniz, etc.) or one of the 400 accredited German academic institutions. The Fulbright Commission will not accept "guest" status. Matriculation at a research institute usually provides the candidates with office and lab space, computer facilities, internet connection, library access, and may help to furnish them with a residency permit.

The matriculation at a university facilitates access to university resources, public transportation passes, residence permits, health insurance, etc.  In addition to matriculation, applicants who wish to study [see Affiliation 1a) and 1b)] are expected to fulfill the enrollment requirements of their respective study programs.  Research fellows are encouraged to enroll in university classes to expand their academic background and to enhance their education experiences in Germany.

The Fulbright Commission will exempt research fellows from the requirement of university matriculation if their host institutions are located far from any university. However, the research institutions must provide documentation of affiliated researcher/guest status in order for the grantee to apply and receive the required residence permit for Germany.

Master's Programs: Applicants who wish to enroll in a German master's program should research the admission requirements of their preferred programs carefully and check if they are eligible for admission. They should bear in mind that most of these programs build on comprehensive subject knowledge acquired in bachelor's programs in the same or a similar discipline. In Germany, bachelor's programs take three years, and the curriculum is subject-specific from the beginning (no general education). Applicants should check how much subject knowledge they require to qualify for admission to their preferred German study programs. They are also responsible for fulfilling all other application requirements at their preferred host institutions and must submit their complete applications by the specified application deadline. The application deadlines for individual German study programs vary and may close early, in which case applicants may need to submit their application before knowing the final decision about their Fulbright application. If applicants cannot confirm an official admission by the start of the grant, they risk losing the Fulbright grant, unless an alternative option can be authorized by the Fulbright Commission. This, however, cannot be guaranteed.

In selecting suitable programs, applicants should make sure that their host university offers courses related to their study project and that their project matches the faculty interests.

Invitation Letter: All applicants are strongly encouraged to solicit a meaningful letter of invitation/support from a professor at their intended host institution and include it in their Fulbright application. The letter should make clear reference to the applicant´s project, explain the institution´s motivation for hosting the applicant, confirm the feasibility of the project, and outline the cooperation and support which the host institution will offer to help achieve the applicant´s goals. This invitation letter is a prerequisite for the matriculation as a visting/non-degree-seeking student at a German university.

Music and Fine Arts Affiliations

Universities of music and fine arts restrict admission in relation to age, number of students, and compatibility of the grant project with curricula. School admission, as well as assignment to classes and instructors, is usually determined only after personal auditions. The Fulbright Commission may thus require (and co-sponsor) candidates to travel to Germany for auditions which take place as early as June. To increase their chances for admission, applicants are strongly encouraged to establish contact with German music and art professors before applying for a grant, and to solicit a meaningful invitation letter to study with them (please see the Additional Comments section).

The Commission does not accept music and art students who wish to study with private teachers or in private schools, or in programs that charge tuition beyond the authorized limits.

Music and Arts Supplemental Materials Requirements

Final selection of grantees in music and art is made by special screening committees in Germany.

Applicants in the Arts to Germany are required to submit two separate sets of materials:

  1. For the Fulbright National Screening Committee review, follow the guidelines list in the Required Supplementary Materials for Arts Applicants and submit required work to the Supplementary Materials Upload Portal by the October 2018 Fulbright application deadline.
  2. For further review in Germany, follow Additional Materials for Music and Arts for Germany and mail hard copy sound recordings or art documentation (prints, slides, etc.)​ postmarked by the October 2018 Fulbright application deadline, to:  Fulbright-KommissionAttn: American ProgramsLuetzowufer 2610787  BerlinGermany*Please retain any important tracking information for your records.

For questions specifically regarding these additional materials and requirements, please contact the Fulbright Commission at 

Special Opportunities

The Fulbright Commission will support self-initiated internships, usually at or after the end of the regular grant period, when relevant to the project and background of the grantee.

Germanistic Society of America (GSA) Funding:

Each year, one to two Fulbright Grants to Germany are funded by the Germanistic Society of America (GSA) in New York City. Founded in 1908, this organization is devoted to educational exchange between the United States and Germany, and has been raising scholarship funds for the past 54 years through the annual Quadrille Ball in New York City.  Recipients of GSA awards, which cover the grantee's living expenses in Germany, are chosen from the pool of candidates selected for Fulbright grants and will be notified by IIE. The GSA awardees receive a Fulbright Travel Grant.


Dependent support is available

Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Website