Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program

Fulbright Scholar
John Stifler

The core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program provides approximately 800 teaching and/or research grants to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Grants are available in over 125 countries worldwide.

Grant Duration:

Grant lengths vary in duration: applicants can propose projects for a period of two to 12 months, as specified in the award description.  In addition, flexible options may be available.

Friday, August 1, 2014 (All day)

Only U.S. citizens are eligible to apply for a grant through the core U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program. If you live abroad and are not a citizen of the United States, and would like to apply for a grant to visit the U.S., please visit the Visiting Fulbright Scholar Program.

  • Application Guidelines

    To insure that your application is reviewed in a timely manner, it is essential that all required parts be submitted by the deadline.  The following checklist provides a general guide, but it is important to read the description of the specific award for which you are applying to determine which of the following materials must be submitted and to learn any award-specific requirements not listed below.

  • Review Criteria

    The Fulbright Core Scholar Program supports activities and projects that recognize and promote the critical relationship between educational exchange and international understanding, in addition to the intellectual merit of the proposals. Applications with broad multiplier effects are particularly welcome, as are projects that are conducive to candidates’ sharing of their experiences and knowledge with colleagues, students and, ideally, with the general public in their host country and, upon return, in the United States.

  • Application Login

    Although the Fulbright Scholar Program is open to both academics and professionals, approximately 80 percent of available awards require a Ph.D. or terminal degree. If you are a recent college graduate, or graduate student or doctoral candidate with limited professional experience, please visit our Fulbright Student Program.

    The application system will allow you to enter, reenter and revise all sections of your application. Remember to periodically save any data you have entered.

Eligibility requirements apply at the time of application. Applicants must meet all of the following requirements—unless specific exemptions apply.  In matching candidates with grant opportunities, preference will be given to candidates with the most relevant professional experience.

  • Eligibility

    Program Policy

    • The Fulbright Program is governed by policy and procedures established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB), the 12-member board appointed by the President of the United States.

Discipline Highlights

There are nearly 600 awards being offered in 46 disciplines, in addition to many All Discipline awards that welcome teaching and/or research proposals in any area of study, including interdisciplinary projects.

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Regional Highlights

The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers teaching and/or research awards to U.S. faculty and experienced professionals in over 125 countries worldwide.

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Project Statement Samples

The Project Statement is the central element of a Fulbright application, whether for teaching or for research. Here, in only five pages, applicants bring together their backgrounds, particular interests, teaching and research philosophies, relevant experience, adaptability, planned activities and anticipated outcomes in a coherent, well-written statement addressed to peer reviewers in the U.S. and abroad. There is no template for a “successful” Project Statement. Like each applicant, everyone is unique and individual.

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In conducting the peer review of applications for Fulbright Scholar awards, CIES conforms with the policies of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the Presidentially appointed body that has statutory authority over Fulbright programs. The policy on selection and nonselection stipulates, "It is the policy of the Board not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or nonselection of applicants for awards under the program." (From the "Policy Statements of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board," Sec. 145.

Core Fulbright Scholar Peer Review Timeline

Recommended candidates will be notified of the final outcome in a letter from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Notification is based on the deadline schedule, as detailed below.

DEADLINE: August 1

August 1st
CIES program staff review applications for technical completeness. Applicants will be notified if any required component  is missing from the application or if page limits are exceeded, and asked to provide additional documentation as needed. Only complete applications will be forwarded to the reviewers.

August - September
Discipline Peer Review Committees read applications and make comments from a discipline-specific perspective, which are then provided to the Regional Peer Review Committees for consideration along with the applications.

October - November
Regional Peer Review Committees meet in Washington, D.C., review applications, and make recommendations.

November - December
CIES notifies applicants whether or not their application has been recommended for further consideration in the host country; this notification is emailed. Please let your CIES Program Officer know if your email address changed since you submitted your application.

December - May
Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies (Posts) or binational Fulbright Commissions overseas review recommended applications and nominate candidates for selection.

January - June
All recommended candidates are forwarded to the J.W. Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for approval.
CIES notifies applicants whether they have been selected to receive a Fulbright award. This notification is also emailed. Please let your CIES Program Officer know if your email address changed since you submitted your application.

June - Onward
Grant details are finalized and grants may begin per start dates listed in the Catalog of Awards. For some countries, an orientation may be scheduled for applicants selected for grants.

FAQs | Core Fulbright Scholar Program

  1. How can I get an application?
  2. Do I have to know a foreign language?
  3. Do I have to have an invitation letter?
  4. I need an invitation letter, how do I get one?
  5. Are there summer awards available?
  6. If I am selected, can I bring my family with me on my grant?
  7. If I already had a Fulbright, can I get another one?
  8. Can I apply to more than one country?
  9. How can I make my application more successful?
  10. Who should write my reference letters?
  11. How is my application reviewed and how am I notified?
  12. What are the financial benefits of Fulbright awards?
  13. Can I apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program to fund MA/PhD research?
  14. I am a retired academic or professional, can I still go on a Fulbright grant?

  1. How can I get an application?
    We only accept online applications. Please read the application guidelines before beginning your application. Begin or return to your application here.
  2. Do I have to know a foreign language?
    Most lecturers teach in English, with some exceptions in Latin America and Africa.
    If you are applying for a research award, your foreign language ability must meet the needs of the project. Be certain to indicate in your methodology discussion how you will need to use the language, since activities vary and reviewers should not have to make assumptions.
  3. Do I need to have an invitation letter?
    This depends on the award. Some countries require an invitation letter, especially for open “All Disciplines” awards. Other countries encourage but do not require a letter of invitation, while others still specifically request that you do not contact potential host institutions. The preference is clearly spelled out in the award description. If it is not clear, contact the program officer responsible for that country.
  4. I need an invitation letter. How do I get one?
    If you do not have a contact, your goal is to determine the name of an appropriate faculty member for a specific discipline or subfield within the discipline. Once you have determined possible hosts, write that faculty member a description of who you are (an attached C.V. can be helpful) and what you want to do while in that country. Note that you plan to apply for a Fulbright grant and that the application requires a letter of invitation. There may be several communications before a letter is forthcoming, but this method often works.
  5. Are there summer awards available?
    Each country establishes the time period for its grants, so you should check the timeframe indicated for each program as well as for particular awards. For the most part, grant periods follow the academic calendar in the host country for lecturing awards. So, if universities are in session from May to August, then an award in the summer may be possible. For research awards, there is a fair amount of latitude on the starting date, but the proposed schedule must fit within the parameters established by the country.
  6. If I am selected, can I take my family with me on my grant?
    This depends on the award and host country. Most awards have no restrictions on accompanying dependents; however, some awards do have restrictions. Check the award description and/or consult the program staff responsible for that award. Many grantees bring their families and report that the time abroad benefited all family members. Most awards offer additional dependent financial benefits.
  7. If I already had a Fulbright, can I get another one?.
    With the launch of the 2014-15 Core Fulbright Scholar Program competition, restrictions regarding previous Fulbright experiences have been lifted by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.  The board reiterated its strong preference for Fulbright Scholar opportunities to be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright Scholar grant, as stipulated in section 624.2 of the Fulbright Program Policies.
  8. Can I apply to more than one country?
    No, applicants apply for only one country or regional program at a time. However, the application form does provide a place where individuals can express interest in as many as three additional country/regional programs or other awards within the same country. If a scholar is not recommended for further consideration to the first choice country, the application may be reviewed by other program officers for possible transfer to another country. In such a circumstance, the applicant will be notified by CIES program staff that another option is available and that possibility can then be discussed.
  9. How can I make my application more successful?
    There is no "formula" for a successful grant. Each individual's application should be about the candidate, how the grant time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant. The responsible program officer is a good point of contact for discussions of how to shape a competitive application. Also, see our application guidelines for tips on making your application more competitive.
  10. Who should write my reference letters?
    While it is useful to have someone with a known reputation in the field, the best criteria for recommendations is someone who knows your work and character extensively. We also advise mixing internal and external letters to demonstrate the breadth of your contacts. You may also contact a professional reference who knows you well. For teaching or teaching/research awards, one letter should be written by the head of your department or dean of your school. Please see our application guidelines and developing contacts abroad for additional information.
  11. How is my application reviewed and how am I notified?
    Your application will be reviewed in a two-tiered process, first by discipline then by country/region. Comments from U.S. scholars in your discipline will be shared with a panel of U.S. academics and professionals who have experience in the world area to which you applied.  All candidates will be notified after the country/region review meeting is held in Washington, D.C., sometime in the fall. More specific guidelines are found in our review criteria.

    Recommended candidates are simultaneously forwarded to our counterparts abroad, as well as to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and the Department of State (Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs) for final decisions and confirmation. Grantees are informed of the decisions sometime in the spring. Notification Timeline

  12. What are the financial benefits of Fulbright awards?
    Grant benefits vary by country and type of award. Generally speaking, Fulbright grants are budgeted to cover travel and living costs in-country for the grantee and their accompanying dependents. Check the award description in the catalog of awards and/or consult program staff responsible for the particular award you are interested in. For 2015-2016, a salary supplement is available in a number of countries for teaching and eligible teaching/research awards. The supplement will raise the grant amount to the level of the individual's salary for a comparable period, capped at a maximum of $10,000 for each full grant month.
  13. Can I apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program to fund MA/PhD research?
    The Fulbright Scholar Program does not support research activities for obtaining an MA/PhD, however you may wish to review the opportunities provided by the Fulbright Student Program.
  14. I am a retired academic or professional, can I still go on a Fulbright grant?
    Yes, the Fulbright Scholar Program welcomes scholars and professionals at all stages of their careers. As is required of all applicants, the project statement should address the expected benefits of the Fulbright grant to you (professionally and personally), to the United States (how will you share your experience when you return?), and to your host institution.