The Fulbright Fellowship
A project-based scholarship for one academic year of specialized study, independent research, or creative arts project abroad. Scholarships are available in 140 countries. The award was established by Congress after World War II to promote international understanding.
Awards are also available to teach English overseas. English Teaching Assistantships (ETAs) exist in approximately 70 countries, in all world regions. Here is a complete list of countries where ETAs are available and statistics on the success rates of applications to these countries.
A small number of countries offer binational business internships, journalism & communications grants, science and public-health specific grants, or graduate degree awards through Fulbright as well. See the field-specific awards list on the Fulbright U.S. Student Program website for details.
Who is Eligible
Junior and senior undergraduates or recent alumni who are U.S. citizens. Begin the process during the spring before your final year on campus by submitting a Pre-Application. See SELECTION PROCEDURE section of page for more information.
If you apply as a junior and win the scholarship, you will travel shortly after having graduated. (Fulbright states candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree by the time of travel. However, you do NOT need to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time you apply).
Please note that external scholarship agencies will consider all of your credit-bearing coursework from any college or institution as part of the review process (including CSU, community colleges, private colleges or other UC campuses/Extension programs, and including units earned while in high school). Grades from other colleges will be included in calculation of your overall GPA for eligibility purposes.
Applicants who apply to use Fulbright funds for study/research in a country where English is not used should have enough proficiency in the written and spoken language of the host country to carry out their proposed study.
Preference is given to applicants who have received most of their high school and college education in the U.S.
UCI graduate students: contact the Graduate Resource Center for advising.
The first step in applying is to complete a Pre-Application, accessible each year throughout March. In April and May, SOP staff review Pre-Applications and meet with students to discuss their candidacy and subsequent steps. For detailed information about each stage of the application process — including the roles of campus endorsement and evaluation — please view the Application Process Overview.
After completing the Pre-App and meeting with SOP staff to discuss your candidacy, you will work on the formal application. Your supporting documents, including three faculty letters of recommendation, will be due this summer.
Letters should be written to the attention of the “Fulbright Scholarship Selection Committee” and be specifically tailored toward your application as a Fulbright Scholar. Students may hand deliver the letters in signed, sealed envelopes or referees may submit them to the SOP directly. The Fulbright Program will NOT accept research grant-formatted reference letters for ETA applicants; writers must submit the ETA-designated reference form. Fulbright also requires that these ETA reference forms be submitted in hard copy, after the recommender has filled them out online, to the SOP office for inclusion in official, campus-sanctioned application packages. Once your recommenders have completed the reference form, they can print the PDF form and provide a copy to the applicant in a sealed envelope.
The UCI Fulbright committee will interview candidates to determine whether their applications have earned campus endorsement. The University will endorse those candidates the Committee feels have the potential to be Fulbright Scholars and will offer feedback for refining the application.
SOP staff and the office of the Dean of the Division of Undergraduate Education will write comprehensive nomination letters for each endorsed candidate and will send your complete application materials (including reference letters) and the nomination letter to the Institute of International Education, which administers the awards.
Finalists will be notified in early Winter Quarter, and winners are announced in Spring Quarter on a country-by-country basis.
Winning seniors have strong academic records, good language preparation for the country intended, and a feasible study project. They make a persuasive case for why they would benefit from study in a particular country and/or at a particular university. To make that case, talk to a professor who has been there, and read catalogues of appropriate universities (available in the library and the Center for International Education). Odds are improved by applying to countries with comparatively low ratios of applicants to slots; in particular, consider destinations other than the United Kingdom. Individuals who have spent a year abroad in a university program are considered to be desirable candidates.
Of the 9,437 undergraduate and graduate students who applied for Fulbright Fellowships throughout the world during the 2012-2013 competition, approximately 1,851 received funding.
In 2010, UCI’s Andrea Bishop, Jason Molina, Mark Sueyoshi, and Michelle Tsai received Fulbrights. Long-Co Nguyen was an alternate while Elaine Chou and Shea Horgan were finalists.
In 2011, Curtis Brown, Jenna Otter, Emily Tsay, Liane Grant, Kristine Fuangtharnthip, and Boris Wong were finalists for Fulbrights.
In 2012, Kristal Lee and Loren Salkin received Fulbrights and Mahalia Knight was a finalist.
In 2013, Felipe Hernandez, Soraya Azzawi, Armaan Rowther, Christine Thrasher, and John Naviaux received Fulbrights.
In 2014, Sarah Amarragy, Jacqueline Rodriguez, and Jennifer Mogi were selected as Finalists. Kenneth Lai and Eliza Collison received Fulbrights.
In 2015, Christopher Galeano, Jenna Hamza, Sanaa Khan, and Fahiya Rashid were selected as Finalists.
In 2016, Christopher Galeano, Rosemary Gomez, Brennan Lagman, Ricardo Light, Paul Lowood, and Nayiri Partamian were selected as Semi-Finalists. Medha Asthana was selected as an Alternate. Sara Arellano, Emma Austin, Sunny Liu, Stella Liu, and Tala Pirouzian received Fulbrights.
In 2017, Tala Piriouzian and Tiffany Thompson were selected as Semi-Finalists; Joshua Cook was selected as an Alternate; and Alexander Alvara, Daniela Estrada, and Amy He received Fulbrights.
These awards vary by country; they reflect both the cost of living and the length of the academic year in the country. Grants generally provide round-trip transportation, language or orientation courses (where appropriate), tuition, books, maintenance for the academic year based on living costs in the host country, and health and accident insurance. Specific information concerning finances for each country is included in the annual Fulbright booklet, available for review in the Undergraduate and Graduate Studies offices.
Fulbrights are prestigious, career-enhancing awards. They also confer special status on winners during their year of foreign study, as outstanding, officially recognized representatives of their country. Famous Fulbright recipients include Thomas Pickering, John Lithgow, and Renee Fleming. Most grantees plan their own programs. Projects may include university coursework, independent library or field research, classes in a music conservatory or art school, special projects in the social or life sciences, or a combination of such plans.
World Wide Web
Further information and applications are available at the Fulbright website.
Access the Big 10 Pre-Application by April 9, 2018 at 12 NOON to begin the Fulbright application process.
For applications and more information, contact the Scholarship Opportunities Program at 824-0189. We are located within the Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication, on the first floor of Ayala Science Library (Building 520).
SOP is able to advise competitive undergraduate candidates at UC Irvine only.