Reference Letters

  • All applications require three letters of reference.
  • Applicants are responsible for notifying referees of their request for letters and for ensuring those letters are submitted via the online system by the application deadline.
  • Letters can be submitted before or after you submit the application.
  • Letters must be uploaded by the referee to the Embark application system, and may not be submitted outside the online system.
  • All references must be in English.


  • Provide your referees with a copy of your project statement.
  • Referees should keep an electronic copy of submitted letters.

Who may serve as a referee?

  • References should be from persons able to evaluate your professional work, including teaching effectiveness; the abilities you bring to your project; your ability to adapt; and the merits of the project.
  • At least one letter should be from a colleague in your field who is outside your home institution. Such letters help demonstrate the breadth of your scholarly reputation.
  • If you are applying for a teaching or teaching/research award, one of your referees should include the departmental chair, dean, or other responsible individual for evaluating your teaching at your home institution.
  • If your institution or employer recently changed, one of the letters should be from someone at your previous institution or employer.
  • Anyone who serves as a referee may not also provide the applicant with an invitation letter.
  • References from relatives are not permitted.
  • Representatives of U.S. Embassy posts or Fulbright Commissions in the country of application may not serve as referees.
  • Representatives of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State may not serve as referees.
  • For applicants currently finishing their doctoral (or equivalent) degrees: If you are applying without having completed your final degree requirements, one of your letters must come from your committee chair, addressing your degree progress and expected date of conferral, which must be on or before February 1, 2019 unless otherwise noted in the award description. Additional documentation may be requested later.