Fulbright U.S. Student Program

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a cultural exchange program that provides grants to enable recent graduates and graduate students the opportunity to spend an academic year teaching or carrying out research, independent study, creative projects, or graduate study worldwide. Fulbright students will meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. Through engagement in the community, the individual will interact with their hosts on a one-to-one basis in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity, and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

This award requires university evaluation. You must contact NCA in order to apply.

Mandatory Fulbright Meeting for All 2021 Applicants
NCA is hosting a mandatory meeting via Webex on Wednesday, August 4 at 12-1:30 PM. If you are applying for a Fulbright grant this year through UC, you are expected to attend. We will be going over final steps for submitting by the campus deadline (August 20), including what all we need to have by that date. We will also be talking everyone through the campus review process (what to expect, how to prepare, etc.). This meeting helps ensure that everyone is on the same page, so please make it a priority to attend. Pllease email nca@uc.edu to obtain the WebEx link.

Please note that August 4 is also our Intent-to-Apply deadline: this is the latest date by which you can notify us that you are applying and still expect to be accommodated by the campus review process. 


Application Opens: March 31, 2021
Intent to Apply Deadline: August 4, 2021
Campus Deadline: August 20, 2021
National Deadline: October 12, 2021

Fulbright Week Recordings

NCA hosted an entire week of information sessions to get you started. Click here to access the recording of the most recent Fulbright Week sessions.

There are several types of Fulbright awards, though you may apply for only one during an application cycle. Award types include:

Study/Research: Academic & Arts

  • Applicants for Study/Research awards design their own research, study, or creative/performing arts projects and will typically work with advisers at foreign universities or other institutes of higher education. The study/research awards are available in approximately 140 countries. Program requirements vary by country, so the applicants’ first step is to familiarize themselves with the program summary for the host country.
  • Creative and performing arts applicants are required to submit supplementary materials based on their disciplines.
  • In addition to the open study/research awards, there are a number of field-specific award opportunities in business, journalism, the arts, and STEM/public health, as well as graduate degree grants for specific universities.

English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program

  • The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbrighters in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level. Applicants for ETA Programs can apply to only one country. Applicants do not need to be education majors or aspire to be teachers in the future, but they should have relevant experience that prepares them to be in a classroom (tutoring, TAing, coaching, etc.).

Critical Language Enhancement Award

  • Provides an opportunity for some Fulbright U.S. Student grantees to receive typically from three to six months of intensive language study as an enhancement to their Fulbright grants. Application for a Critical Language Enhancement Award is made in conjunction with the Fulbright U.S. Student application and requires an additional essay.

Fulbright-Fogarty Awards in Public Health (graduate and medical school students only)

  • The Fulbright-Fogarty Awards are offered through a partnership between the Fulbright Program and the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. These awards were established to promote the expansion of research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. 

Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship

  • The Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellowship, a component of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, provides opportunities for selected Fulbright US Student grantees to participate in an academic year of storytelling on a globally significant theme.  Prospective applicants should carefully review all award details and eligibility criteria before contacting NCA.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Rising seniors, graduate students, or recent alumni may apply (bachelor’s degree must be conferred prior to departure; for doctoral candidates, the degree must still be in progress at time of application)
  • U.S. citizens or nationals
  • Certain countries have language requirements (see country page)
  • There may be additional country-specific criteria (see country page) or requirements for special programs grants
  • No age limit, field of study restrictions, or GPA requirement

Please refer to the Fulbright website for a detailed list of the eligibility criteria, including additional preferred requirements beyond those listed here.

Selection Criteria

  • Quality and feasibility of the proposal as described in the Statement of Grant Purpose
  • Strong academic or professional record
  • Extent to which the candidate and the project will help to advance the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding among nations through engagement in the host community, among other activities.

Please refer to the Fulbright website for a detailed list of the selection criteria.

The Fulbright website offers a very detailed account of the various application components for each of the award types, which include:

  • Background Information
  • Personal Statement
  • Statement of Grant Purpose
  • Transcripts
  • 3 Recommendations (Letters for Study/Research applicants—share this page with recommenders; Recommendation forms for ETA applicants—share this page with recommenders)
  • Affiliation Letter (Open Study/Research only)
  • Foreign Language Form (requirement varies by country)
  • Supplementary materials for Creative & Performing Arts applicants

If you have a question about any of these items (What goes into a Statement of Grant Purpose? Do I need official or unofficial transcripts? How do I select my recommenders?), start by reviewing the thorough descriptions on the website. If you still have questions, ask NCA.

  • Carefully review NCA’s Fulbright Application Checklist.
  • Attend an NCA Learning Series session on the Fulbright awards in the spring. This year, Fulbright week is April 5-9, 2021. See our flyer for in-depth information. Click here to register for the session(s) that interest you. 
  • Schedule an advising appointment with Dr. Jenny Hyest through Starfish. In advance of that appointment, please:
  • Launch your online application (applications become available on March 31, 2021)
  • Confirm your intent to apply with NCA by no later than August 4, 2021 (earlier is better).
  • Complete and submit online application by the Campus Deadline: August 20, 2021.
  • Campus interviews take place the week of September 6, 2021.
  • Endorsed applicants submit revised application by National Deadline: October 12, 2021.
  • Fulbright offers some excellent webinars every application season. We suggest that you attend one that is relevant to your award type.
  • NCA hosts a Fellowships Learning Series as well as writing workshops throughout the spring and fall. Watch for the Fulbright sessions in the spring and attend those. Access the recordings of the most recent Fulbright Week sessions.
  • Create a writing schedule for yourself. Structure and organization are key to writing a strong application. We recommend you allow yourself time to go through four drafts of your essays. And don’t forget about the short answer essays! NCA suggests a baseline writing schedule in its Fulbright Application Checklist, which you should review carefully.
  • After you begin your essays, you may wish to review samples of Fulbright essays written by past grantees. Remember that the essay prompts may have changed over the years, but these examples should still help you think about the essay genres. Anyone at UC can access the sample essays.
  • Study/Research applicants should identify a specialist reader for the Statement of Grant Purpose. NCA is happy to provide feedback on all essays, but NCA is your generalist reader; we are not experts in all research areas. Your specialist reader will likely be one of your recommenders.
  • Information on this page is intended to supplement, not supplant, your own careful review of the official Fulbright website. If you find any discrepancy between the two, the Fulbright website takes precedence.
  • Though you should seek out others’ advice and feedback on your application, the essays should be your original work (no one should be writing your essays for you). UC’s Student Code of Conduct applies.