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Fulbright Scholarships for International Students in the USA

Written by Ben Taylor

The Fulbright Program is one of the largest international student exchange schemes in the world, allowing postgraduates from over 150 countries to study in the USA. Fulbright Scholarships provide successful applicants with funding for a Masters (or PhD) at an American university, as well as visa sponsorship, health insurance and in some cases a living stipend.

This page will focus on how the Fulbright Program operates for students from a selection of countries with the closest ties to the USA, with information on eligibility, applications and more.

What is the Fulbright Program?

The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 via legislation promoted by Senator J. William Fulbright, with the goal of fostering greater international understanding through cultural and education exchange.

Fulbright offers funding for American students to complete their studies in selected countries, as well as nationals from those countries to study in the United States.

The scheme isn’t just for postgraduate students, either – there are also funding opportunities for early career academics, teachers and artists.

Since its creation, the Fulbright Program has expanded to many countries across the world and over 400,000 people have now taken part in it. Impressively, there are more than 60 Nobel laureates among the Fulbright alumni. Around 8,000 grants are awarded every year.

Fulbright Scholarships for UK students

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is one of the longest running arms of the Fulbright Program. Its Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships comprise a range of university- and subject-specific awards, as well as the Fulbright All Disciplines Award, which can be used to study at any accredited American university.

These are the university- and subject-specific Fulbright awards:

The exact benefits vary from scheme to scheme, but you can expect to receive a generous contribution to your tuition fees and living costs along with help with your visa and health insurance.

The Fulbright All Disciplines Award is the most competitive of the scholarships available for UK students to study in the USA, providing a grant of up to $45,000. They encompass postgraduate study in any subject at any accredited American university. The following qualifications and circumstances are eligible for an All Discipline Award:

  • Masters degrees
  • PhD degrees
  • Research projects
  • Postgraduate certificate programme (and other Masters-level, non-degree study)

In order to satisfy the eligibility criteria for one of these Fulbright scholarships, you’ll usually need to be a UK national. However, in some circumstances non-UK nationals who have lived in the UK for a while and are committed to life there may also be able to apply for a Fulbright scholarship.

You’ll also need to have achieved at least a 2.1 in your undergraduate degree (or be expected to do so). If you’re applying with a 2.2, you’ll need to complete a separate form during the application process.

How to apply for a US-UK Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarship

It’s important to bear in mind that you’ll usually need to make separate applications for the Fulbright Program and your chosen American university.

After applications open in March, the first stage is to complete an online application, which includes:

  • Academic transcripts
  • Admission letter from your American university
  • Contact details for three referees
  • CV
  • Personal statement
  • Scanned passport photo
  • US-UK Fulbright Commission Supplemental Form (this is separate to the main online application)
  • Your bio and accomplishments

Although academic excellence is key element of a successful Fulbright scholarship application, there are plenty of other factors to consider. For example, evidence of your ambassadorial qualities and leadership skills will help you stand out from the crowd, as well as a demonstrable passion for American culture.

Applications usually open in March, with a deadline in late May.

If you’re shortlisted after the online application, you’ll be invited in August to an interview in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. You’ll find if you’ve been successful in early September.

Find out more about the Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships for UK students.

Fulbright-Nehru Masters Fellowships for Indian students

The Indian branch of the Fulbright scheme is administered by the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF). Over the years, the USIEF has awarded around 20,000 Fulbright fellowships across many disciplines and academic levels.

The most significant award for prospective Masters students is the Fulbright-Nehru Masters Fellowship, granting Indian students the opportunity to study a one- or two-year Masters at selected American universities.

Find out more in our guide to the Fulbright-Nehru Masters Fellowships.

Fulbright Canada Student Awards

It’s unsurprising that there are such strong educational links between USA and its northerly neighbour, with many Canadian and American students making the short trip across the border to study.

The main scheme for Canadian postgraduates wishing to study a Masters in the USA is the Traditional Fulbright Canada Award. This award comes in three different formats:

  • Formal enrolment awards – These are for Canadian students who are applying for a Masters (or grad program) at an American university and will support them for nine months of study.
  • Research awards – These are for Canadian students who are already studying a Masters in Canada and want to do research in the United States, supporting a nine-month placement or project.
  • Independent research awards – These are for Canadian researchers who have already completed a Bachelors degree or Masters in Canada, and want to undertake a year of independent academic research.

If successful, you’ll receive the following benefits for one academic year:

  • USD $20,000 towards your tuition fees, living costs and other expenses
  • Basic health insurance
  • Help with your visa

These are the main eligibility requirements for a Traditional Fulbright Canada Award – applicants must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen (permanent residents are ineligible)
  • Have a Bachelors degree
  • Have English proficiency
  • Not be applying for a medical programme
  • Not have lived abroad for five or more consecutive years in the six years before the start of their application

Please note that these awards aren’t open to people who already have a PhD. Applicants with a PhD should apply instead to the Canadian Fulbright Scholar Program.

How to apply for a Traditional Fulbright Canada Award

Applications for Traditional Fulbright Canada Awards usually open in mid-May, with a deadline of mid-November.

The process happens online through a portal maintained by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The documents and information you’ll need to submit include:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement – This should introduce yourself and your ambitions, providing extra detail on your background and how this relates to Fulbright
  • CV
  • Study/research objectives – This part of the application should cover why you’ve chosen a particular Masters programme and explain how you’ll meet the aims of Fulbright to improve intercultural understanding
  • Academic transcripts

You’ll need to make a separate application to the university whose Masters programme you’re interested in joining. You don’t need to have received an offer by the time you apply for Fulbright, but you will need to prove that you’ve made an application.

Candidates will find out if they’ve been successful the following April.

Find out more about Canadian Traditional Fulbright Student Awards.

Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships for Australian students

Established in 1949, Fulbright Australia is one of the oldest branches of the exchange programme.

Fulbright Australian Postgraduate Scholarships are available for Australian students who want to study a Masters in the USA. The benefits offered by this scholarship scheme include:

  • AUD $20,000 tuition fee allowance
  • Monthly living stipend
  • Travel expenses
  • Establishment allowance
  • Dependent allowance
  • Health insurance

The main eligibility requirement is that you must be an Australian citizen (dual Australian-US citizens and permanent residents aren’t eligible).

How can I apply for a Fulbright Australian Postgraduate Scholarship?

The application process is online and administered by the Institute of International Education.

Applications are open between January and July. These are some of the documents and details you’ll usually have to provide:

  • A personal statement introducing yourself and your motivations
  • Study objective that explains why you’ve chosen a particular Masters programme
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic transcripts
  • CV
  • GRE/GMAT test results (if your university requires them)

After applications close in July, shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview between August and September. Applicants will find out if they’ve been successful in December.

Find out more about Fulbright Australian Postgraduate Scholarships.

Other Fulbright Scholarships

We’ve covered some of the most prominent branches of the Fulbright Program on this page, but it would be impossible to detail all the funding opportunities available to students from the 150+ countries who take part in Fulbright.

With that in mind, the list below features several more Fulbright scholarship schemes, linking to the official pages:

You can find a full list of Fulbright countries on the Fulbright Foreign Student Program website.

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Last Updated: 24 March 2022