Fulbright U.S. Student Program


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13 Open Study/Research Award for Graduate Students

Accepted Degree Levels
Grant Period
12 Months
No Pre-Departure Orientation
Award Profile

PhD dissertation research candidates, graduate students enrolled in professional schools such as law, business, journalism, international relations, public administration, and fine arts or graduates from the above-mentioned professional schools within 3 years of the time of application, are eligible to apply. Non-Japanese studies specialists or first-timers to Japan must show the feasibility of their proposals and indicate how a Japanese experience will relate to their career plans.

Grant Period

12 Months

Grants may begin at any date from July 2018 through March 2019. Awards for PhD dissertation grantees may be extended for a maximum of six months in two three-month iterations, depending on availability of funds and subject to satisfactory justification and progress. Applicants who think their work will require more than one year should include justification in their research proposals.

Pre-Departure Orientation

No Pre-Departure Orientation

Accepted Degree Levels



Foreign Language Proficiency

Required - Intermediate

Additional Information: At least 2 years of college-level study, or equivalent, is required prior to commencing the grant.  Higher level proficiency may be necessary depending on the requirements of the proposed project. Japanese Studies specialists who plan to conduct advanced research must have the necessary language skills.

Fulbright Proposal Types

Independent Study/Research: Yes

Graduate Degree Enrollment: No


Applicants should identify appropriate host institutions for their projects and include affiliation letters with their Fulbright applications. The Fulbright Commission will confirm final affiliations for candidates awarded Fulbright Grants.


Candidates living in Japan may apply only if they are studying Japanese language full-time, and have not otherwise been studying or conducting research or been employed in the immediate past in Japan. Applicants with completed doctorates at the time of the start of the award are not eligible.

Fields of Study

Social science and humanities applications will be considered in the following six areas:

1) Japan Studies: Projects on Japan’s society and culture in the social sciences or humanities

2) Pacific Rim Relations: Studies of the political and economic relations between Japan, the U.S., and a third country or region such as Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific island nations, North America, Australia, or New Zealand. Grantees may spend up to two months, typically toward the end of their grants, in a third country if the research justifies it and the Fulbright Commission in Japan approves.

3) Critical Issues of Contemporary Society: The study of contemporary social issues in Japan and the U.S. Subjects of particular interest include the impact of rapid technological development, risk or crisis management, ethical and other issues related to the exploding information technology, environmental issues, urbanization, the family, issues relating to an aging society, public law, criminology and journalism.

4) Issues of Global Society: Subjects of particular interest include public health and health policy, security, international trade, labor and mobility, migration, environmental policy, energy and demographic issues.

5) Education: Studies related to educational systems of Japan and the United States with particular focus on contemporary issues. A comparative perspective is strongly encouraged.

6) Applications will also be accepted in the fields of architecture, creative writing, design, painting, and sculpture.

Japanese Language Proposal

Applicants must submit a 1-page Statement of Grant Purpose in Japanese in addition to the 2-page English language version. When preparing these statements offline, the Japanese language version should be appended after the English version, so that there will be up to three pages for the two statements.  The statements should be uploaded into the Embark application system as a single PDF document.

Institutional Review Board Clearance

For all levels and types of projects, if the proposed research project entails "human subject" issues, candidates should be aware that gaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval after arrival in Japan will be virtually impossible. Candidates should explore obtaining IRB approval from their current universities if at all possible, as this process is not as common or thoroughly developed in Japan.


Persons holding dual Japan-U.S. citizenship or permanent Japanese residency must give up their Japanese citizenship or permanent resident status if they are selected for and accept a Fulbright Grant to Japan.


Dependent support is available

Fulbright Commission/U.S. Embassy Website


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.