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6 Open Study/Research Award for Graduating Seniors

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

This grant introduces recent American graduates to various regions of Japan to pursue language study and independent research at local universities. The main purpose of the research project is to serve as a vehicle for immersion and engagement with the local community. Successful applicants will be chosen who demonstrate maturity, flexibility, and independence.

Grant Period

10 Months

Grantees must arrive in Japan in September 2019 to participate in the orientation program. They must also participate in a mid-year conference.

Pre-Departure Orientation

No Pre-Departure Orientation

Candidate Profile

Applications will only be considered from graduating seniors who will receive Bachelor’s degrees between December 2018 and August 2019. Future career and academic objectives are important considerations and should be addressed in the Personal Statement of the application.

Applications from At-Large candidates will not be accepted.

Accepted Degree Levels


Foreign Language Proficiency

Required - Intermediate

Additional Information: At least 2 years of college-level study is required prior to commencing the grant. Higher level proficiency may be necessary depending on the requirements of the proposed project. 

Fulbright Proposal Types

Independent Study/Research: Yes

Graduate Degree Enrollment: No


In most cases, the Fulbright Commission arranges affiliations with academic institutions throughout Japan, taking the candidate's background and previous experience in Japan into consideration.

However, candidates in the hard sciences and creative arts must arrange affiliations with Japanese academic institutions, and should include invitation letters from those institutions with their Fulbright applications. Candidates in other fields whose research projects require specific placements, i.e. a certain academic advisor or institution, should also provide invitation letters. Other than those two instances, preliminary contact with institutions is strongly discouraged.

Grantees do not enroll as degree students at Japanese universities. They structure their own programs, combining language study, selected course study according to their Japanese proficiency, and individual research under the guidance of an assigned professor. Fellows with prior experience in Japan will be strongly discouraged from returning to the locales of their prior studies or residence.

Fields of Study

Though applications in all disciplines will be considered, preference will be given to social science and humanities applications in the following five 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. 

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.

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