Fulbright Study/Research Award

Is it for you?

Fulbright Study/Research grants are available to ~140 countries in all academic disciplines and most artistic disciplines. By supporting an immersive, focused international experience for recent graduates, master’s candidates, doctoral students, and young professionals, the Fulbright aims to facilitate cultural exchange and promote mutual understanding. Most grantees plan their own study and/or research projects; some examples include university coursework, a degree program, independent library or field research in the humanities and social sciences, classes in a music conservatory or art school, creative writing or film projects, and laboratory projects in the life and physical sciences. Alongside their projects, applicants are expected to pursue additional community engagement plans.

While grant lengths and dates vary by country, they tend to be one academic year in length (between 8-10 months) and correspond to the academic calendars abroad. Please consult the country summaries on the Fulbright website for specifics.

What are the key dates?

Intent Form Deadline: May 12, 2019
Please note: To apply for a Fulbright through JHU this cycle, current students/alumni on all campuses except East Baltimore* must have submitted an intent form by the May deadline. Prospective applicants who missed this deadline may need to apply for the Fulbright “at large” rather than through JHU.
*For the E. Baltimore timeline, please see our Fulbright Study/Research Award for the E. Baltimore campus page. 

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Fulbright Study/Research Grant must:

  • be U.S. citizens at the time of application; permanent residents are not eligible.
  • hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent before the start of the grant. In the creative and performing arts, four years of professional study and/or experience meets the basic eligibility requirement. Applicants may hold a J.D. at the time of application, but not a Ph.D.
  • have language skills commensurate with the proposed project and required by the host country. This is especially important for projects in the social sciences and humanities.
  • be in good health. Grantees are required to submit a satisfactory medical certificate of health from a physician.
  • meet all eligibility criteria specific to the host country. 

Please note: Applicants who have extensive previous experience in the host country of application are at a disadvantage, but are not necessarily disqualified for that reason.

Students intending to apply for medical school or other programs requiring you to return to the US for interviews during the Fulbright year: Per the Fulbright guidelines, grantees may leave the country for a grand total of 14 days during the entire grant period, without deduction in grant benefits. Such leave must be approved in advance by the Fulbright Commission or US Embassy in the host country and the grantee’s host institution. Returning to the U.S. for med school or other interviews, therefore, could pose a logistical problem. Please consult with Dr. Miller if you have any questions. Pre-med students, check out this PDF Document: set of FAQs about the Fulbright and applying to medical school.

How do you work with the NFP?

To apply through JHU, Fulbright candidates must work with us for the duration of the process according to the steps outlined below. We closely advise candidates on all parts of the application including facilitating an individual feedback session with faculty.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process. Your first steps are to attend a live info session or watch a recorded info session and then send your JHED ID (ex: jhopkin9) in an email with the subject line “Fulbright intent” to nfp@jhu.edu to be added to the Study/Research Blackboard site or the PhD student Study/Research Blackboard site, which include more information about the application process and is required to apply through Johns Hopkins. In preparation, have a closer look below for more resources to learn about the Fulbright Study/Research Grant.

April Attend or watch an info session
April – May Join applicants’ Blackboard site & complete intent form
late May Attend a live or webinar essay workshop
mid-June Meet first essay draft deadline
June – August Meet ongoing draft deadlines
late August Complete application for campus deadline
September Receive feedback from campus committee
early October Meet official Fulbright deadline

Are you competitive?

The number of awards given varies per host country (see Fulbright country profiles and statistics for each country). Selection for the Fulbright Study/Research Grant is based on the following criteria:

  • Strength of Project: In the Statement of Grant Purpose, you must outline a research, study, research/study, or creative/performing arts project that is feasible, intellectually compelling, builds on your past experiences, and is clearly linked to your future plans and goals. Key elements your project will be judged on include: the need to be in this particular country to carry it out, the program choice/affiliation, a well-thought out plan to achieve your project goals, and the importance of the project to your career development. Research projects will also be assessed on the methodology and the significance of the proposed work in your field. All projects must be tailored to any country-specific requirements or preferences as well.
  • Your Academic/Professional Qualifications: Selection committees will want to know if you have the requisite qualifications—coursework, research training, work experience, language skills, etc.—to carry out your project. If additional language skills, coursework, or specific research training will be needed, do you have a reasonable plan for acquiring those qualifications before the grant period begins? Applicants who propose independent research projects must have experience with research of that kind already. You will not be competitive if the research or study project you propose does not build directly on your academic record and, if relevant, research experience. Your project should also fit seamlessly with your future plans, so the proposed research or graduate training is clearly a vital next step in your career path (and not a fun “gap year” without relevance to your longer-term goals).
  • Your Personal Attributes and Ambassadorial Potential: the core of the Fulbright’s mission is cultural exchange and your competitiveness will depend also on your potential as an ambassador of the US and the Fulbright program. Selection committees look for evidence of adaptability and resilience in your experiences and activities, so they can be confident you can handle the challenges and setbacks that will likely come with living abroad. Open-mindedness is an important quality as well for serving as a cultural ambassador. Candidates with significant outward-facing activities, who have stretched themselves to engage new contexts and communities, will have an advantage over those who have been more limited or insular in their extracurriculars.
  • Your Eagerness to Live in the Host Country: Are you ready and excited to engage with colleagues, students, neighbors, shopkeepers, and others in your host community, beyond your immediate project context? What about your host country’s culture intrigues you most? Being a competitive candidate means expressing strong motivation for wanting to live in your chosen host country apart from the fact that a certain academic program, lab, or conservatory is there. Proposing a thoughtful, active community engagement plan in your Statement of Grant Purpose is critical to demonstrating your desire to learn about your host country while proactively representing American culture. Proposing ways to sustain the connections you will make during a Fulbright project can also help convey your commitment to the Fulbright ideal of promoting mutual understanding.
  • Fitting the Requirements and Preferences of the Fulbright Board and Country Fulbright Commissions/Foundations: the US Fulbright organization has general preferences about time in country and diversity. (1) Preference is usually given to applicants who have not resided in the country they are applying for more than six months. Exceptions are: duty abroad in the U.S. Armed Forces and standard periods of undergraduate study abroad. (2) An overall preference for as diverse a pool of applicants as possible means those from underrepresented groups (in terms of socio-economic status and ability) are especially encouraged to apply. Additionally, individual countries may have any number of particular qualifications or attributes they prefer or require, which candidates must fulfill to be competitive. These may include degree levels, academic fields, and project areas. Spain, for example, prefers advanced graduate students with independent research projects on contemporary issues of mutual US/Spanish interest. Canada, for another example, favors projects of contemporary relevance to both the US and Canada and also refers applicants in a specific list of academic fields.
  • Language Preparation: Your host country’s profile will indicate what language(s) is/are required or recommended and at what level (or if none are needed). In addition to meeting that standard, your language skills and goals will be assessed in terms of project feasibility—can you actually carry out your project?—and community engagement—will you be able to interact meaningfully with others in your host community? Unless you already have native or near-native fluency, your application will be more competitive if you indicate how you plan to boost your language skills before and during the grant period. Even if your country of choice does not require language skills, selection committees will favor those who seem most eager to learn.
  • Strength of Recommendations: Your letters of recommendation provide independent corroboration of your qualifications and attributes. You should choose your referees carefully, seeking those who can best speak to your ability to carry out the project being proposed, your intellectual and professional preparation, and your ability to represent the U.S. abroad.
  • For Arts Grants, Artistic/Technical Skill: Arts applicants will be evaluated first and foremost on technical skill within their disciplines, so the Supplementary Materials need to be compiled in a professional manner. All candidates applying in the creative and performing arts must submit examples of their artistic work that will be evaluated along with the written portions of the application. See the Fulbright website for details on the submission requirements for each artistic field.

For greater detail about the application components cited above and the JHU Fulbright application process, visit our Additional Guidelines for the Study/Research Award.

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program

Fulbright Student Program Blog

Explore JHU and NFP Resources

Just getting started on the Fulbright? See our “What is the Fulbright?” presentation and check out our Fulbright Advice Videos featuring previous JHU applicants.

Additional Guidelines for the Study/Research Award — These guidelines include preliminary application considerations and an in-depth description of the application components.

All interested applicants are enrolled in JHU’s Fulbright Study/Research Blackboard site, which contains a wealth of information and resources about the application process. Contact us at nfp@jhu.edu to be added to this Blackboard page.

PDF Document: SR Applicant’s Timeline & Checklist — Review this timeline and download a fillable PDF form to keep yourself on track throughout the application process.

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB feature on selected 2018 Fulbright Grant Recipients’ experiences abroad

HUB article about 2019 Fulbright Grant Recipients

HUB article about 2018 Fulbright Grant Recipients

HUB article about 2017 Fulbright Grant Recipients

HUB article about 2016 Fulbright Grant Recipients

HUB article about 2015 Fulbright Grant Recipients

Peer Testimonial from Ashley Ezema (Canada, 2017-2018)

Peer Testimonial from Jeremy McGale (Germany, 2017-2018)

Peer Testimonial from Rocio Oliva (Peru, 2017-2018)

Peer Testimonial from Savannah Karmen-Tuohy (Malawi, 2017-2018)

For more testimonials, see our peer testimonials page.

Read Sample Essays

A portfolio of previous Fulbright essays is available after the first info session of each application cycle (typically early April). To view it, inquire at the Study Abroad Office in Levering Hall 04B, during regular walk-in hours (2:00-3:30pm, M-F). You must remain in the Study Abroad Office while viewing the portfolio and may not digitally reproduce any included materials.

Start Your Application

Fulbright Application Portal