Fulbright Program

Congress created the Fulbright Program in 1946 at the end of World War II to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries, through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills. Senator J. William Fulbright, the sponsor of the legislation, saw it as a step toward building an alternative to armed conflict. Fulbrighters serve as "cultural ambassadors" sharing intellectual knowledge and daily experiences with the people of their host country.

Fulbright grants provide for the international exchange of scholars in over 140 countries. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is supported by annual appropriations from Congress to the U.S. State Department and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York, NY. 

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards approximately 1,000 grants annually, which are tenable in over 140 countries. The grants are generally used to conduct a research project or study at a university, and last for one academic year (8-12 months). The host country typically provides input into the selection process, as one of the goals of the grant is to benefit the host country.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Hold an undergraduate degree before the beginning day of the grant, but not have been awarded a doctoral degree at the time of application
  • Have sufficient proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country to communicate with people and to carry out the proposed course of study
  • Preference will usually be given to candidates who have not resided or studied in the country to which they are applying for more than six months. Study abroad programs are not considered disqualifying.

Selection Criteria

  • "Ambassadorial" personal attributes of friendliness, cultural openness and sensitivity, curiosity
  • Feasability and validity of proposal, and its potential to promote mutual understanding and collaboration between US and host country
  • Scholastic achievement, especially in the major field of study. MIT's median GPA of 4.2 could be competitive, depending on the proposal.
  • Ability in language of the proposed host country


(See Fulbright site for details.) 

Upload materials to the Fulbright EMBARK site by the MIT internal deadline. You will be assigned to meet with members of the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships. Applicants who miss the internal deadline can still receive assistance from the Fellowships office in meeting the official Fulbright deadline. The Fulbright application includes:

  • Official application form with biographical data
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Invitation letter from host affiliate
  • Foreign language evaluation, if applicable
  • Transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions
  • Campus Committee Evaluation form (provided by MIT)



  • Send email to scholarships@mit.edu to be added to the mailing list for information about upcoming workshops and fellowship deadlines.
  • Attend a workshop on distinguished fellowships.
  • Schedule a meeting with the Fulbright Program Advisor. Email scholarships@mit.edu or by visiting E17-294 to make an appointment.


  • Think about where you'd like to go and your area of research.
  • Reach out to potential host affiliates and recommendation writers.
  • Write drafts for your Statement of Grant Purpose and Personal Statement
  • Contact the Fulbright Program Advisor for essay critiques and answers to your questions.


  • Open an application in the Fulbright EMBARK system.
  • Register your recommenders and language evaluator and send them instructions.
  • Review and revise your application. Your Fulbright Program Advisor is available review and critique your essays.
  • Submit completed application in EMBARK by the MIT internal deadline
  • MIT Internal Deadline September 8, 2016.


  • Each applicant will be interviewed by two members of the MIT Committee on Distinguished Fellowships who will give guidance and feedback on essays.
  • You can continue to revise and refine your application materials until the official national deadline.
  • Mid-October: Fulbright national deadline (October 11, 2016)


  • National screening committees meet in US cities to evaluate Fulbright applications and select semi-finalists.


  • Semi-finalists announced and applications forwarded to host countries for evaluation and selection.


  • Final results from individual countries announced.

Contact Information

Julia Mongo, Fulbright Program Advisor

GECD, E17-294

Tel: 617-253-6057


Institute of International Education

U.S. Student Programs Division

809 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

Tel: 212-984-5330

Fulbright U.S. Student Program website