Fulbright is a program that allows applicants to study and conduct research in the US. It works on the tenet of diversity, which means opportunities are open to all applicants regardless of sex, race, color, ethnicity, religion, or location.

Proposed in 1945 by Senator William Fulbright, the student exchange program previously used surplus war property for its finances. Today, it is funded by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The Fulbright program, which is administered by US Embassies or Fulbright Commissions, offers several programs for foreign students, teachers, artists, visiting scholars, and scholars in residence. In this article, we will be detailing the Fulbright scholarships international students can apply to.

Fulbright Scholarship Awards

Annually, the Fulbright program sponsors about 4,000 grantees from over 160 countries. To date, it has helped fund the schooling and research of more than 400,000 international students.

Recipients are entitled to the many benefits of a Fulbright award, the likes of which vary according to the scholarship program. However, most grants come with the following perks:

  • Partial or full tuition coverage
  • Monthly maintenance award not exceeding $3,000
  • Round-trip travel allowance
  • Fulbright Certificate of Award
  • J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
  • Enrichment programs and other benefits
  • Membership to the International Exchange Alumni

Eligibility Criteria for Fulbright Scholarships

Generally speaking, the basic requirements are established citizenship in a Fulbright-eligible country and a good command of the English language. In most cases, preference is given to students of a certain age bracket. Other requirements will depend on the country and/or type of award.

Types of Fulbright Awards and Scholarships

1. Fulbright Foreign Student Program (for Graduate Students)

Open to bachelor’s degree holders with a good academic record, it requires the applicant to have passed the English proficiency and graduate exams warranted by the university. MBA applicants, on the other hand, need to have at least 2 years of experience to be considered. Preference is given to students aged 28 years old and below.

2. Fulbright Student Program for Visiting Research Students

Open to Ph.D. students enrolled in their home universities, this is available to applicants who wish to conduct research in the US for 4-6 months.

Eligibility of this Fulbright scholarship is founded upon the following requirements: completion of a BA/MA with a high academic distinction, a referral form from the student’s Ph.D. supervisor, and a letter of affiliation from a US institute. Preference is given to applicants aged 35 years old and below.

3. Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program

Open to 850 professors and researchers who have a Ph.D. and four years of experience, this requires applicants to have a current teaching or research position. They also need to have an official letter of invitation or affiliation from an American institute or research center.

The Visiting Scholar Program also comes with specialized awards, such as the scholar-in-residence program, the international education administrators program, the US-ASEAN visiting scholar initiative, and the Fulbright Arctic initiative. Preference is given to applicants aged 55 and below.

4. Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program for International Teachers

Early or mid-career applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree to qualify. They should also be employed in the public school system – and have work experience of at least 5 years.

5. Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTA)

Open to 400 applicants a year, the FLTA program is made for teachers who wish to live, study, and teach in the US. The work included spans about 20 hours a week.

6. Fulbright Student Program for Artists

Given to professional artists who wish to seek advancement opportunities, this grant is open to non-US citizens – aged 28 to 45 – who have graduated from a reputable institution.

7. Fulbright Student Program for Artist Residency

Available to all creative professionals, this residency program is granted to applicants aged 28-45 with at least 5 years of related work experience.

Check Also: Available Programs for International Students

Application Process for a Fulbright Program

Regardless of the program, Fulbright hopefuls need to follow these steps to apply.

Step 1. Register at the Fulbright office/US Embassy

First, they need to register with the Fulbright office/US Embassy (deadline subject to the program). This will help the local committee establish eligibility according to the requirements stated above.

Step 2. Apply Online via the SLATE platform and Submit Documents

Once this initial registration for the Fulbright scholarship is confirmed, the student may proceed to apply online through the SLATE platform. The general documents needed for this step are as follows:

  • Accomplished application form with consent
  • Detailed curriculum vitae
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Personal statement
  • Project statement or study/research objectives
  • Scanned passport copy
  • Official letter of invitation/affiliation from a US institute

Additional documents for the following applicants:

Applicants of the graduate student program will need to submit degrees and transcripts of all university grades, a letter of admission, the TOEFL or IELTS results, and the GRE or GMAT scores. A digital portfolio is required for Architecture or Art students as well.

Artists, meanwhile, need to provide copies of degrees and certificates, a digital portfolio, and a letter of invitation or affiliation

Visiting researchers, on the other hand, need to upload a project statement. It should include background, research methodology, and objectives.

It is important for students to finish their online applications according to the program’s set deadline. This will give the committee enough time to review and evaluate the project proposals.

Step 3. Prepare for Interview

The board may require the applicant to attend a personal meeting or interview as needed. It is best to be well-prepared so it is advisable to review all the documents you have submitted and practice several Q&As.

Step 4. Await for the Results

Results will be announced according to the program’s calendar. Once selected, scholarship recipients will need to attend followed by a pre-departure orientation program and an awards night.

The scholarship award will cover up until the end of studies (graduate students) or the duration of the proposal (researchers). Some Fulbrighters will be required to submit an interim grant report and final grant report as required by the committee.

Scholarship Recipient of Fulbright Program

One success story of an international student who applied for the Fulbright Program is Hadiqa Maqsood from Pakistan. She applied for the scholarship even if she knew it had a low success rate of only 3-5% in her country. For Hadiqa, winning the scholarship meant opening a significant chapter and opportunities in her academic journey. Learn more about Hadiqa’s success story and her advice for those looking for a similar scholarship.


The Fulbright Programs offer vast study and research opportunities in the US for qualified foreign applicants. However, these scholarship opportunities aren’t only for international students. American citizens and resident students planning to study abroad can also apply for several Fulbright scholarship opportunities. Try your luck and apply for this prestigious award. Strive to be part of this elite club of students who have made leaps and bounds in their respective disciplines.


We hope that this article on Fulbright Scholarships was helpful. If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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