(Pre) Doctoral Research

The Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange offers approximately 35 scholarships annually for study, teaching and research in the United States at the post-doctoral level. The awards vary from round-trip travel to grants covering all expenses for an academic year. Fulbright Schuman grants are open to citizens of all 28 EU Member States.

ELIGIBILITY

Requirements to apply include:

  • Citizenship in an EU Member State
  • Proficiency in English
  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree
  • Academic/professional experience of 3+ months in two or more EU Member States
  • Academic excellence generally defined as a distinction in each year of study or in the final year of study; please note that candidates without these grades are still encouraged to apply if they have outstanding personal or professional backgrounds

Factors that may make an applicant ineligible for the Fulbright-Schuman Program include: current employment/traineeship at the European Commission, strong professional ties to European institutions, current or former residence in the United States, and lack of experience outside of home country. For answers to frequently asked questions about eligibility, please see below.

The most competitive applicants for Fulbright awards demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and a genuine interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time in the United States and to explain why right now is the right time to pursue this plan and how their grant will ultimately help them achieve their personal and professional goals in the future. The Commission is looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S. and European communities and who wish to ultimately return to the European Union to share their newfound knowledge and experience after their grant has ended.

HOW TO APPLY

Interested applicants must complete an online application. The application opens on 15 September and closes at noon on 1 December. As of 15 September, the link to the online application will be available below; we do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application.

When filling out the initial fields of the online application, applicants MUST put “European Union” as the Program Country (country of citizenship/home country). By selecting “European Union” under Program Country inside the application, you’ve indicated that you’re applying for a Fulbright-Schuman award. Please be advised you must follow the online application instructions correctly in order to make sure your application is sent to our office and not to the Fulbright Commission in Germany (or Bangladesh). Receiving the automated confirmation email will only confirm that you have submitted a Fulbright application and will not specify the country/specific grant to which you submitted the application. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to send us an email after submitting your application to make sure that our office has received your application for the Fulbright Schuman Program.

As part of the online application, candidates will be asked to provide the following:

  • Biographical information
  • Americanized CV
  • Study/Research Objectives Essay
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcripts and diplomas from most recent degree
  • Three letters of recommendation (uploaded directly into the online application)
  • Letter(s) of admission or affiliation from a U.S. host institution; this letter should contain the institution’s letterhead and mention the dates (or academic term) of your stay and may be provided after the application deadline (as late as May)

In addition, candidates are responsible for applying and securing letters of admission or invitation on their own. While these letters are not required at the time of application, they do strengthen an application if they are included and they must ultimately be provided by selected grantees in order to receive the grant. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award.

Please note that we do NOT require supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form or official test results (e.g., TOEFL). You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire. In addition, the application is to be completed entirely online; NO papers should be mailed to our office.

Candidates with strong completed applications submitted by the deadline will be invited to the Commission in February for a mandatory (Skype) interview in English. Interviews are in person, and cannot be rescheduled. The interview will include a discussion of your motivations for going to the U.S., your plans when you arrive, and how you will improve U.S.-EU relations as an alumnus when you return. Successful candidates will demonstrate ambassadorial qualities, English proficiency, and the ability to explain their academic proposal in simple terms. The interview committee is composed of European and American professors, professionals, government officials, and Fulbright alumni from various fields.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the application process, please see below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ELIGIBILITY

  • I am an EU citizen living abroad. Can I apply? As an EU citizen, you may apply for a Fulbright Award if you are living in any country except the United States. If you are resident in the United States, a dual U.S. citizen, or hold a Green Card at the time of application, you are ineligible to apply.
  • I do not have EU citizenship, but am currently living/studying/working there. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? No. Eligibility for the Fulbright Program is based on nationality, not residence.
  • I am an EU citizen currently pursuing my studies in the United States. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program? Candidates already in the United States at the time of application and those who have resided in the U.S. for five or more years in the six-year period preceding the date of application are ineligible to apply. Moreover, please note that preference will be given to who have not had substantial recent experience in the U.S. with “substantial recent experience” being study, research or employment for a period of aggregating more than an academic year (9 months) during the past five years.
  • As a participant in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, will I be subject to the two-year home requirement after my grant? Yes. All Fulbright grantees must travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which requires them to return to their country of permanent legal residency for at least two years at some point after their grant before they are allowed to return to the U.S. to live or work permanently on an H, L, K or LPR visa. More information about the two-year rule can be found here, and a list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Am I responsible for arranging my own affiliation/acceptance to my host institution? Yes. Applying to a host institution in the United States is a separate, simultaneous process. Please note that if you have chosen a university as your host institution, its accreditation should be recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • What is the difference between the Study/Research Objectives essay and the Personal Statement? The Study/Research Objectives essay should provide a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field, but remember that your application will likely be read by a variety of people, including some who are not experts in your field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. The Personal Statement is a narrative statement describing how you have achieved your current goals; it should include information about education, practical experience, special interests, and career plans. You can also use the Personal Statement to describe any significant factors that have influenced your educational or professional development and explain your existing practical experience. You must demonstrate in your essays that your proposed research is relevant to U.S.-EU relations, EU policy, or the EU institutions and that your application is relevant to at least two EU Member States.
  • When do I need to provide proof of affiliation/acceptance to a U.S. university in my application? Student researchers should upload invitation letters from their host institutions before the 1 December deadline if possible. Formal university acceptance letters may be submitted far after this deadline (as late as May).
  • The online application has asked me to do something different to the application instructions on the website. What should I do? The online application system is used by Fulbright Programs around the world, and application procedures differ greatly from country to country. You must follow the guidelines presented by the Fulbright Commission in Brussels.
  • Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require me to contact them before beginning the application? We do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application. Please begin your application without contacting us.
  • Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require supplemental forms? We do NOT require supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form, or official test results (e.g., TOEFL).
  • Can I mail physical documents to the Fulbright Commission? No. The application is completed entirely online.

APPLICATION TIMELINE & NOTIFICATION

  • When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for an interview? Selected applicants will be contacted via email in mid-January.
  • When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for a Fulbright Award? Successful applicants will be contacted via email in late February or early March. Successful applicants must then be approved by the Foreign Fulbright Scholarship Board and should receive confirmation of their grant in mid-March.
  • I submitted an application but never heard from the Fulbright Commission. What happened? If you have not received any communication from the Fulbright Commission by late January, it is very likely that we did not receive your application. Usually, this is because you did not select “European Union” as the Program Country when initially filling out your application and, as a result, your application was sent to another Fulbright Program office.
  • What happens if I am offered a Fulbright Award, but not a place at university? If you are not accepted to a U.S. university, the offer of a Fulbright Award will be withdrawn.
  • Can I apply to more than one Fulbright Program? No. Applicants are only allowed to apply for one Fulbright grant per year. Applicants may therefore not simultaneously submit applications for a Fulbright-Schuman award and a Fulbright award administered by their local commission.

GRANT BENEFITS

  • Does the Fulbright Commission cover the cost of tuition/fees at my host institution? No. The Fulbright Commission provides a scholarship (including a travel stipend) and other benefits, as detailed above. However, no additional funds are available for tuition/fees at the host institution.
  • Does the Fulbright Commission provide additional support for dependents? No. Although grantees may choose to bring their spouse and/or young children with them on a J-2 visa, the Fulbright Commission does not provide additional financial support for grantees with dependents.