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.

Review Criteria

As reviewers take into account the basic objectives of the Fulbright Scholar Program, they apply the following criteria:

Professional Qualifications

  • Credentials, training and professional standing.
  • Professional excellence, as evidenced through the quality of publications, grants, fellowships, honors, awards, conference papers, exhibitions, compositions, and performances.
  • Record of service to the field and the home institution.

Teaching Awards

  • Match of academic, professional or artistic expertise to the award.
  • Teaching ability and requisite experience at the postsecondary level, as evidenced by the applicant’s C.V., teaching awards, the quality of submitted syllabi, innovative and effective pedagogical approaches, and/or curriculum projects, and attested to by one of the three letters of reference.
  • Quality and feasibility of the proposed teaching project: appropriateness of proposed courses to host institution, including demonstrated flexibility in course design to adapt it to the needs of the host student audience; currency in proposed teaching topics; evidence of host institution interest and affiliation, if indicated in the award description.
  • Outcomes, potential impact and benefits: ability to address the needs and interests of the host institution and host country, and to contribute to curriculum and program development at the host institution, if desired in the award description; benefits to students at home and host institutions; potential for outreach to the public in host and home country, and to establish lasting connections and ties with students, colleagues, and/or institutions in the host country.

Research Awards

  • Intellectual merits of the proposal: rigor of research design and methodology; originality and conceptual sophistication; project’s significance.
  • Suitability: relevant and appropriate research experience and expertise to complete the proposed research activity successfully.
  • Feasibility in terms of resources available and time allocated to the project.
  • Need for residence in host country to accomplish the project.
  • Evidence of host institution interest and affiliation, if indicated in the award description.
  • Outcomes, potential impact and benefits: quality of research output and plans to disseminate research results in the U.S. and abroad; potential to advance knowledge; significance of research to applicant's field and professional development, as well as to the interests and needs of the host country; potential for outreach to the public in host and home country, and to establish lasting connections and ties with collaborators, the wider research community, and/or institutions abroad.

Foreign Language Proficiency

  • Foreign language proficiency as specified in the award description, or commensurate with the requirements of the proposed project. (Note: in many world areas, English is sufficient for lecturing.)

Previous Fulbright Awards

  • Compelling justification for a repeat Fulbright grant: evidence of outcomes and sustained professional, institutional, and/or personal ties resulting from previous Fulbright grant; explanation of how subsequent Fulbright grant will build on the previous one.
  • Where there is competition for grants, preference will be given to candidates who have not had previous Fulbright grants, especially within the past ten years. View the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board’s policies on previous Fulbright Scholar grants here.

Previous Experience Abroad

  • Preference is generally given to candidates who have not had substantial recent experience abroad in the country to which they are applying (see eligibility). A candidate who has resided abroad for five or more consecutive years in the six-year period preceding the date of application is ineligible for a grant. For the purpose of this section, a candidate who has lived outside the United States for nine months or more during a calendar year is deemed to have resided abroad for that year.
  • In-country residence at the time of application or a recent extended stay may reduce chances for an award to that country. Duty abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces, however, is not considered disqualifying within the meaning of this section.

Personal Qualities

  • Ability to serve as a cultural ambassador for the United States, including, but not limited to personal attributes of collegiality, cultural adaptability and sensitivity.

Geographic Distribution

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

Veterans of Military Service

  • Preference is given to veterans when other factors are equivalent.

Please note, only complete applications, including three letters of reference, will be accepted for consideration. For information on components of the application, refer to the Application Guidelines and Step-by-Step Instructions.