types of fulbright scholarships
Grameen Bank, Bangladeshi bank founded by economist Muhammad Yunus as a means of providing small loans to poor individuals. Source: Ben Hider/AFP

It is no overstatement to say the unique types of Fulbright scholarships and grants have had a profound impact on the world. After all, the different types of Fulbright scholarships and programmes boast a prominent list of alumni: Amar Gopal Bose, founder, Bose Corporation. Muhammad Yunus, founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient. Riccardo Giacconi, physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Former President of Croatia — among many others.

Founded in 1946 by US Senator J. William Fulbright, the programme has promoted international goodwill through the exchange of thousands more illustrious students in education, culture and science

It operates in 160 countries, supporting students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals of all backgrounds in various forms. Participants can study, teach, or pursue important research and professional projects.

Below we summarise the different types of Fulbright scholarships and programmes offered to international students and professionals:

Fulbright Foreign Student Programme

If you’re a graduate student, young professional or artist who wants to study, conduct research, and/or teach your native language in the US, this is the programme for you. Programme length ranges between six months to one year.

Khawaja Zain-ul-abdin from Pakistan describes his experience as such, “The Americans I met over my four years all over the United States, barring none, were hard-working, straightforward, simple and honest people.”

“The students worked hard to support their education, sometimes keeping up to three jobs to be able to pay the fees, working and studying almost 16 hours a day, every day. The sheer ethic of hard work and professionalism of most common folk is a sobering reality for those who choose to base their views of the American people on a media narrative alone.”

Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Programme

Early career educators can experience a stint as an assistant teacher at US institutions under this programme. Andrey Tikhonov from Russia, a blind participant, had many resources provided from the get-go.

“The Moscow Fulbright staff provided me with an assistant to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and covered the travel and hotel expenses of a sighted guide during my interview in Moscow,” shares Tikhonov.

The help continued after he touched down in the US. “… The moment my plane landed … I was surrounded by people ready to offer assistance,” says Tikhonov. “I was provided with a laptop, screen reading software and access to high-speed internet, all of which allows me to work and study effectively.”

Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programme

About 900 foreign scholars from over 100 countries are selected for postdoctoral research that spans from an academic semester to a full academic year. You must have a doctoral degree or equivalent professional training or experience at the time of application, as well as sufficient proficiency in the English language.

types of fulbright scholarships

Riccardo Giacconi was an Italian-American Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist who laid down the foundations of X-ray astronomy. Source: Joyce Naltchayan/AFP

Fulbright Arctic Initiative

If you’re from any of these countries — Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the US — you are eligible to apply for this programme. It funds scholars, researchers and professionals to conduct research relevant to the challenges faced by the Arctic region.

You will take part in an individual exchange of a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of three months. This is in addition to in-person seminars and ongoing virtual communication.

Hubert H. Humphrey Programme

Designed for mid-career professionals in developing countries, this programme funds non-degree study and related professional experiences at select American universities.

“When I returned home in 2011, we were able to convince the government to appoint a committee and integrate a coastal zone policy,” shares Rahanna Juman, Deputy Director, Institute of Marine Affairs, Trinidad and Tobago. “I chaired that committee and basically what I learned from the US in terms of how to approach it is what I practised back home.””

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme

Non-US citizens can apply to go abroad for a semester to conduct research, lead master classes or seminars, or pursue individual projects. You will also take part in advanced undergraduate or graduate classes at a US host university, observe classes, design and complete a group inquiry project, and so forth.

Fulbright EUSIR Programme

Scholars and professionals from EU countries can apply to spend a semester at a US college or university. You will consult with faculty, conduct research and give guest lectures, among others, in the field of US-EU relations, EU policy, or EU institutions for interested American and EU citizens.

The US State Department and the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission jointly finance this programme.