Peer Review Process

About the Peer Review Process

The Fulbright Specialist Program accepts applications on a rolling basis, and complete applications are reviewed in cycles scheduled throughout the year according to the calendar below. A complete application includes the submitted online application and both references. Applications that are submitted but are not complete will be deferred for review in a later cycle. Submitted but incomplete applications remain active in the CIES system for one year after they are submitted.

Applicants will be notified via e-mail when their applications have been submitted and when their referees have submitted their references. Please contact us at if you believe that your application has been submitted but you have not received a confirmation e-mail. All applicants to the Roster will be notified of their final status via e-mail, according to the schedule below.

A prospective host institution abroad may contact an individual regarding his/her interest in participating in a particular grant opportunity. If this individual is not already on the Fulbright Specialist Roster, he/she must be admitted to it before being considered for the grant opportunity. No applicant is eligible for final consideration for a grant until his/her application has been reviewed and approved for entry to the Specialist Roster.

When conducting the peer review of applicants to the Fulbright Specialist Roster, CIES operates in conformity with the policies of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB). According to FFSB policy, CIES cannot give applicants the specific reasons for selection or non-selection.


Peer Review Stages

Review by peer review committees in applicant's discipline to screen applicants and recommend candidates for placement on the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

  • Review and official selection of CIES-recommended candidates for the Fulbright Specialist Roster by the FFSB.
  • Following appointment to Roster: Review of Fulbright Specialist Candidates by Fulbright commissions or public affairs sections of U.S. embassies, together with prospective host institutions, for final consideration in matching pre-approved candidates with specific project requests.


Review Criteria

The Fulbright Specialist discipline peer review committees evaluate applications based on basic objectives of the Specialist Program, specific discipline criteria, and the following guidelines:
Professional Qualifications

  • Education, training, professional standing, and position
  • International, national, and/or regional reputation as a scholar, artist, or professional
  • Quality of professional accomplishments, as evidenced through publications, research grants, awards, work experience, exhibition records, and papers delivered at conferences, seminars, and workshops
  • Teaching ability, as evidenced by references, teaching awards, courses taught, pedagogical approach, participation in innovative teaching, professional training, or curriculum projects
  • Demonstrated currency in the selected field of expertise
  • Administrative/leadership experience

Suitability for Specialist Grant Activity

  • Match of academic, professional, or artistic expertise to the Specialist program
  • Quality of the motivational statement
  • Feasibility to successfully engage in eligible grant activities, at post-secondary, degree granting institutions overseas, based on credentials presented

Previous International/Intercultural experience

  • The short-term nature of the Specialist activities internationally requires demonstrated cultural sensitivity and adaptability.  Evidence of strong international experience and cultural adaptability is, therefore, preferred. In the absence of international experience, consideration may be given to applicants who demonstrate significant evidence of cultural adaptability through their regional and national experiences.

Expected benefit to scholarly and professional networks

  • Applicant's potential to contribute to a host institution abroad
  • Applicant's potential to contribute to the home institution, or to other U.S. scholarly and professional networks, upon return

Personal Qualities

  • Collegiality, adaptability, cultural sensitivity and ability to serve as a cultural ambassador

Geographic Distribution

  • Other factors being equal, and to the extent possible, applicants are chosen to represent a broad U.S. geographic distribution, by both home state and type of institution