The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government's flagship program for international educational exchange. It was proposed to the U.S. Congress in 1945 by then freshman Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. In the aftermath of World War II, Senator Fulbright viewed the proposed program as a much-needed vehicle for promoting "mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world." His vision was approved by Congress and the program signed into law by President Truman in 1946.

The program is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 310,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright Grant Categories for Scholars

The term "Fulbright Program" encompasses a variety of exchange programs, including both individual and institutional grants. For further information, please visit

U.S. citizens with PhD's, or other terminal degrees, may apply for the following grant-funded programs:

  • The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends approximately 1,200 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.
  • The Fulbright Specialist Program, a short-term complement to the core Fulbright Scholar Program, sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, institutional planning and related subjects at overseas academic institutions for a period of 2 to 6 weeks.
  • The Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program provides grants to approximately 800 foreign scholars from over 155 countries to lecture and/or conduct postdoctoral research at U.S. institutions for an academic semester to a full academic year.
  • The Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (SIR) Program enables U.S. colleges and universities to host foreign academics to lecture on a wide range of subject fields for a semester or academic year. Preference is given to institutions developing an international agenda and/or serving a minority audience, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges, small liberal arts colleges and community colleges. Approximately 50 grants are awarded annually.

Updates on the Fulbright program for the 2016-2017 competition and beyond:

  • To register your interest in the program, join the My Fulbright online community for updates and to access helpful resources for applicants:
  • With the launch of the Core Fulbright Scholar Program competition, restrictions regarding previous Fulbright experiences will no longer be a prohibitive factor in applying for a Fulbright Scholar grant.  Lifetime limit restrictions that were implemented beginning in June of 2006 have now been lifted.  However, as stipulated in section 624.2 of the Fulbright Program Policies, general preference for Fulbright Scholar opportunities will continue to be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright Scholar grant.
  • The Fulbright Program now includes dependent supplements for same-sex domestic partners.  According to section 641.2 of the Fulbright Program Policies concerning dependent supplements, the definition of a dependent is either (1) a spouse, or (2) a qualified same-sex domestic partner, or (3) a relative (child, grandchild, parent, or sibling) who is financially dependent on the grantee.  Accompany dependents are those who spend at least 80% of the grant period with the grantee abroad.