Fulbright Study/Research Award
Is it for you?
Fulbright Study/Research grants are available to ~130 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.
For medical school students and graduate students in health sciences: Fulbright-Fogarty Awards in Public Health are offered through a partnership between the Fulbright Program and the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These awards, meant to promote the expansion of research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings, carry the same benefits as the traditional Fulbright Study/Research grants to a select group of host countries. Fulbright-Fogarty Fellowships for 2023-24 grants are available in: Vietnam; Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Uganda; Nepal; Jamaica and Peru.
What are the key dates?
General Information Sessions:
- Thursday, April 13 at 5 pm ET – register for Zoom link
- Tuesday, April 18 at 5:30 pm ET – register for Zoom link
- Friday, April 21 at noon ET – register for Zoom link
- Wednesday, April 26 at noon ET – register for Zoom link
- Monday, May 1 at 5 pm ET – register for Zoom link
Access our resources for applicants: Our Canvas course for Fulbright study/research applicants will be available in April 2023.
JHU campus deadline: TBD for 2023 (normally mid- to late August)
National/final deadline: TBD for 2023 (normally early October)
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 U.S. 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 serious, if not insurmountable, logistical problems. Attempting to do so would also detract from the first months of your Fulbright experience while making it difficult to give full energy to the interview process. For these reasons and others, we strongly advise either 1) applying to medical schools concurrently with the Fulbright application process (so that you hopefully succeed with both, then defer starting medical school for a year) or 2) following your Fulbright year, when you have your Fulbright experience to enrich your candidacy (i.e. you take two years between finishing your undergraduate degree and starting medical school). Please review this PDF Document: set of FAQs about the Fulbright and applying to medical school, and please consult with an NFP advisor and Pre-Professional Advising if you have any questions.
How do you work with the NFP?
To apply through JHU, Fulbright candidates must work with our office. We closely advise candidates who join our campus process in a timely manner on all parts of the application, including facilitating an individual feedback session with faculty.
The timeline gives an overview of the application process.
|April – May||Attend or view an info session; join applicants’ Blackboard site; complete intent form and meet with NFP adviser to discuss your plans|
|June – August||Draft and revise your application materials; receive feedback from NFP on essay drafts by meeting posted deadlines; solicit letters of recommendation|
|late August||Complete application for campus deadline|
|September||Receive feedback from campus committee; do final revisions on application materials|
|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.
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.
After attending an info session, all interested applicants should join NFP’s Fulbright Study/Research Applicants Canvas course, which contains a wealth of information and resources about the application process. Please email us to request access in the spring.
Hear from JHU Recipients
HUB article about 2022 Fulbright Grant Recipients
HUB article about 2021 Fulbright Grant Recipients
HUB feature on recent Fulbright Grant Recipients’ experiences abroad (April 2021)
HUB article about 2020 Fulbright Grant Recipients
HUB feature on selected 2019 Fulbright Grant Recipients’ experiences abroad
HUB article about 2019 Fulbright Grant Recipients
HUB feature on selected 2018 Fulbright Grant Recipients’ experiences abroad
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.
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