Program Information

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP) promotes linkages between U.S. scholars and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas.  The program awards grants to qualified U.S. faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative two- to six-week projects at eligible institutions in over 140 countries worldwide.  Shorter grant lengths give Specialists greater flexibility to pursue projects that work best with their current academic or professional commitments.  International travel costs and a per day grant payment are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating host institutions cover grantee in-country expenses or provide in-kind services.

Project requests are submitted by non-U.S. institutions and focus on strengthening and supporting institutions’ development needs.  Eligible activities include short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, teacher training, assessments and evaluations, special conferences or workshops, as well as collaborating on faculty development and curriculum or institutional planning.  

How the Program Works (Prezi Presentation)


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Program Administration

Two separate program steps must successfully occur prior to the administration of an actual Fulbright Specialist grant:


  1. The application and merit peer review process for U.S. Roster Candidacy Admission:

    U.S. faculty and professionals apply to join a Roster of Specialists for a five-year term. Roster candidates are reviewed by peers in their discipline and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB).

    U.S. Citizens - Find out more about applying to the Fulbright Specialist Roster

  2. The Specialist Project Request Submission and Approval Process:

    Eligible non-U.S. institutions wanting to host a Fulbright Specialist submit Specialist Project Request forms through the Fulbright commissions or U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Sections in their home countries.  Projects must be reviewed and approved by the Fulbright office in their home country and the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    Non-U.S. Institutions - Find out more about hosting a Fulbright Specialist

    CIES completes matchmaking of a Roster candidate with an approved project and administers Specialist grants on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.

Program Goals

The goals of the Fulbright Specialist Program are:


  • To increase the participation of leading U.S. scholars and professionals in Fulbright academic exchanges
  • To encourage new activities that go beyond the core Fulbright activities of lecturing and research
  • To promote increased connections between U.S. and non-U.S. institutions

Sample Fulbright Specialist Activities

Fulbright Specialist projects are designed to provide U.S. faculty and professionals with opportunities to collaborate with professional counterparts at non-U.S. institutions on curriculum and faculty development, institutional planning and a variety of other activities. For example, grantees may:


  • Conduct needs assessments, surveys, institutional or programmatic research at non-U.S. post-secondary, degree granting academic institutions
  • Take part in specialized academic programs and conferences in conjunction with other scheduled activities
  • Consult with administrators and instructors of non-U.S. post-secondary, degree granting institutions on faculty development
  • Present lectures at graduate and undergraduate levels
  • Participate in or lead seminars or workshops at non-U.S. post-secondary, degree granting academic institutions
  • Develop and/or assess academic curricula or educational materials at non-U.S. post-secondary, degree granting academic institutions
  • Conduct teacher-training programs at the degree granting level

Note: Personal and clinical medical research as well as related projects involving patient contact are not allowed.

Worldwide Coverage

The Fulbright Specialist Program is active in all world regions. Countries eligible to participate in the program include those where there is a U.S. embassy or a Fulbright commission. If a country has not participated in the Fulbright Specialist Program and wishes to inquire about their eligibility, they should contact CIES. Lists of these countries can be found through Public Affairs Sections of U.S. Embassies and Fulbright commissions.


Grant Duration

The program will award grants ranging from two- to six-weeks and will make use of serial grants if deemed necessary. The grant period for a project is determined by the host institution and includes travel days to and from the host institution as well as weekends.


Grant Terms and Conditions

Grant benefits include compliant international economy fare travel, paid prior to the start of the grant, approved related expenses, plus a $200 per day grant payment. The grant payments are payable upon completion of the grant and submission of an online final report and travel expense report. Host institutions typically cover in-country costs for lodging, meals, and transportation, which can be provided in the form of in-kind services.


Eligible Disciplines

Specialist projects fall within select eligible disciplines, with each discipline including designated specializations.  CIES uses the primary disciplines and specializations to assign applicants during the peer review process and in matching Roster candidates with projects.


Program Impact

Fulbright Specialists have engaged with colleagues at host institutions in over 140 countries world-wide.  Their collaborative projects in diverse settings of higher education have spanned the range of eligible disciplines and fields.  Please visit the Specialist Stories page for examples of Specialist impact.


If you would like to share your own Fulbright Specialist story, submit pictures or other media from your time abroad, a blog-style entry about your grant experience, or a comment about the program, please contact