If your question is not answered below, please email FulbrightSpecialist@worldlearning.org for assistance.

About the program

  • What is the difference between a Fulbright Specialist and a Fulbright Scholar or Fulbright Student?

    • These designations differentiate between participants in separate Fulbright programs and initiatives. A Fulbright Specialist is someone who has been approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster, been matched with an approved host institution project and is currently participating in or has completed an exchange through the Fulbright Specialist Program. You can learn more about the variety of opportunities available under the Fulbright Program by visiting the Fulbright Program website.

  • What types of projects do Specialists complete?

    • Spanning a wide range of professional and academic fields, Fulbright Specialist projects have an educational or training focus, address institutional priorities, and promote beneficial linkages between American and foreign host institutions. Specialists may conduct activities including, but not limited to:
      • Delivering a seminar or workshop
      • Consulting on faculty or workforce development
      • Developing academic or training curricula and materials
      • Lecturing at the graduate or undergraduate level
      • Conducting needs assessments or evaluations for a program or institution
    • Note: Personal and clinical medical research, as well as related projects involving patient contact, are not eligible for funding under the Fulbright Specialist Program. For examples of activities conducted by recent Specialists, see Making an Impact.

  • Where would I go as a Specialist? Can I choose the country I travel to?

    • Specialist projects are currently conducted in more than 150 countries. Visit Participating Countries for a list of eligible countries and intergovernmental organizations.
    • Applicants with an interest in a particular world region or country may indicate their preferences, along with any relevant foreign language proficiency, at the time of application. However, this will not guarantee placement in the desired country or region.

  • What disciplines are eligible for a Fulbright Specialist project?

      Fulbright Specialist activities fall within select eligible disciplines, each with designated specializations.

  • What types of institutions would I be working with?

    Project proposals come from a wide variety of foreign institutions seeking to collaborate with academics and professionals from the United States to achieve institutional objectives. These include:

    • Institutions of Higher Education
    • Government Institutions (ministries or agencies, courts, parliamentary or congressional bodies)
    • Cultural Institutions (conservatories, museums, etc.)
    • Medical Institutions (public health organizations, teaching hospitals, etc.)
    • Non-Governmental Organizations including non-partisan, issue-centered institutions and think tanks

  • Am I allowed to develop a project proposal for or with a potential host institution?

    • The Fulbright Specialist Program is unique among programs in the Fulbright portfolio in that host institutions lead the project development process. This ensures that any outside expertise requested through the Fulbright Specialist Program meets a need that the institution has self-identified as a critical area for its growth and development. While you are permitted to explore collaborations with potential host institutions, host institutions are under no obligation to consider your request. Host institutions who ultimately elect to name a particular Specialist candidate on their project proposal must include a strong justification for the need to work with this candidate and for all proposed activities.

  • When would I participate in a Specialist project?

    • Once a candidate has been approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster, they remain eligible to be matched with a project at any time during their three-year tenure. As Specialists are matched with projects based upon the needs of host institutions, there is no way to predict when that match may occur. If you are selected as a final candidate for consideration on a project, you will be contacted to verify your availability and interest. Depending on the host institution’s project timeline, there may be flexibility as to when the exchange would take place to accommodate your schedule. Please note that individuals who are approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster are not guaranteed to be matched with a project during their tenure.

  • What costs are included under the program?

    • All Fulbright Specialists receive roundtrip, economy-class airfare, a transit allowance, enrollment in a health benefits program, and a daily honorarium. In addition, the program covers lodging, meals, and in-country travel expenses.


Application

  • How do I access the application?

    • Interested candidates can access the application portal by clicking on the Apply button in the top right hand corner of the Fulbright Specialist Program website or by clicking here.

  • What information do I need to complete the application?

  • How are Fulbright Specialists selected?

    • There is a multi-step selection process for individuals seeking to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster and participate in projects abroad. Please view the Program Timeline for more information on the application and selection process.

  • Am I qualified to join the Fulbright Specialist Program? What qualities make for a successful applicant?

    Fulbright Specialists come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Applicants who are selected to join the Specialist Roster and go on to successfully participate in exchanges generally meet the following criteria:

    • A history of professional and academic excellence. Depending on your field, this could mean completing a terminal degree such as a PhD or JD, having published or exhibited your work, holding a leadership role in a professional organization related to your field, or being named the recipient of an award that recognizes your achievements, among other potential accomplishments. It is recommended that all applicants demonstrate at least five years of experience in their respective field.
    • A desire to engage in cross-cultural exchange. Successful applicants demonstrate a desire to work in diverse settings, and can explain how cross-cultural exchange will benefit themselves, their work, their home institutions, and the foreign host institutions they partner with.
    • Demonstrate expertise in a specific task or subject area. Host institutions seek expertise in specific areas and on concrete tasks, and are looking for Specialists who can meet these needs and effectively collaborate with their staff or faculty members. Applicants who are able to demonstrate both mastery of a subject area and have experience sharing their knowledge with others, whether as an educator, trainer or coach, are well suited to the role of a Fulbright Specialist.

    • For more information on what constitutes a strong Specialist application, please see The Peer Review Process.

  • How long does the selection process take?

    • All prospective Specialists must complete the full online application and have two letters of reference submitted before their application to join the Specialist Roster wiil be considered by a peer review panel. Peer review panels meet every eight weeks. Thus, the timeline for selection to the Fulbright Specialist Roster can vary based upon when a candidate’s application is deemed complete and when it is submitted during the peer review cycle.

  • How does the Peer Review process work?

  • How long do I need to wait to reapply if I was deemed ineligible or if I was not approved by the peer review panel?

    • If you were deemed ineligible, you may reapply as soon as you meet all eligibility requirements. If you were not approved by the peer review panel, you may reapply to be reviewed as soon as the next peer review panel cycle. It is suggested that all candidates who will be resubmitting their applications consider the peer review evaluation criteria in order to ensure that their background and motivation to participate meets the standards set by the panel.

  • Can I apply to the Fulbright Specialist Program and another Fulbright program (e.g. Fulbright Scholar) at the same time?

    • Yes, you are eligible to apply to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster and another Fulbright program at the same time. In addition, individuals are eligible to receive a Fulbright Specialist grant and another Fulbright grant (e.g. Scholar) in the same year.


Fulbright Specialist Roster and Project Matching

  • If I am accepted to the Specialist Roster, am I guaranteed to be matched with a project?

    • No, being approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster is not a guarantee that you will be selected for a project during your three-year tenure, as it is host institutions that design projects in priority areas and ultimately select which Specialist best meets their needs.

  • As a potential Specialist, am I permitted to contact host institutions independently to plan a project?

    • The Fulbright Specialist Program is unique among programs in the Fulbright portfolio in that host institutions lead the project development process. This ensures that any outside expertise requested through the Fulbright Specialist Program meets a need that the institution has self-identified as a critical area for its growth and development. While you are permitted to explore collaborations with potential host institutions, host institutions are under no obligation to consider your request. Host institutions who ultimately elect to name a particular Specialist candidate on their project proposal must include a strong justification for the need to work with this candidate and for all proposed activities.

  • A host institution named me on their project proposal. Does this mean I have been approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster?

    • No, regardless of whether you were specifically named in a project proposal, all individuals must first be approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster by completing the full online application and the peer review process before they are eligible to be considered for an exchange. If an individual is approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster, they must still be approved to be matched with that specific project. Furthermore, please note that the submission of a project proposal by a host institution that includes a named Specialist does not have an impact on whether that named candidate will be approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster nor does it impact whether the project will ultimately be approved by the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country, or by the U.S. Department of State.

  • A host institution named me on their project proposal. How can I learn the status of this project?

    • Your potential host institution can provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding the status of a project, as they are notified when the project proposal is accepted or not accepted. World Learning is unable to provide status updates on host institution project applications to Specialists. Further, please note that being named in a project proposal by a prospective host institution does not guarantee that you will be approved to serve as the Fulbright Specialist for that project nor does it mean that you will be approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster.

  • How long do I remain eligible to be matched to a project once I have been elected to the Specialist Roster?

    • Individuals are approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a three-year tenure. You are eligible to be matched to any project that will begin before your Roster tenure end date. The dates of your Fulbright Specialist Roster eligibility are listed on your acceptance letter and can be verified by World Learning. Candidates who were approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster prior to 2017 will remain eligible for the duration of their original five-year tenure.

  • I was matched to a project but my tenure on the Specialist Roster expired before I could leave for my exchange. Am I still eligible to participate in my project?

    • We understand that a variety of delays could occur which will require a postponement of project dates. Therefore, so long as a Specialist’s tenure on the Roster would have been active for the original start date of a project as submitted in the project proposal, the Specialist will be considered eligible to participate even if their tenure has expired before the exchange ultimately takes place. However, please note that all project delays must be approved the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy in the host country, as well as the U.S. Department of State.

  • How can I extend my time on the Fulbright Specialist Roster?

    • Unfortunately, candidates are unable to extend their tenure. If your tenure on the Fulbright Specialist Roster has expired, you must wait two years before you are eligible to apply to join the Roster again.


Eligibility

  • I previously participated in the Fulbright Specialist Program and am still active on the Roster. Can I participate in another project?

    • Yes. Roster candidates are eligible to participate in up to two projects during their tenure on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. However, Fulbright Specialist candidates who completed a previous Fulbright Specialist grant must wait two years before they are eligible to complete another Fulbright Specialist grant. (For multi-visit grants, the two-year period begins at the end of the final visit.)
      • Note: An exception to this rule is made for Specialists who participate in an exchange in Pakistan. Specialists may participate in another Fulbright Specialist grant without a waiting period either before or after their exchange in Pakistan.
    • To allow participation from as wide a range of Roster candidates as possible, it is highly unlikely that Specialists will be approved to return to the same host country or a host institution they visited for a previous Fulbright Specialist grant.

  • I was previously on the Fulbright Specialist Roster but my tenure expired. Can I reapply to join the Roster?

    • Candidates who were on the Fulbright Specialist Roster must wait two years from the end date of their Roster tenure before applying to rejoin the Roster. If an individual completes a Fulbright Specialist grant after the end date of their Roster tenure, they must wait two years from the end date of their last project before applying to rejoin the Roster.

  • I was added to the Fulbright Specialist Roster prior to 2017. Am I still eligible to be matched with projects for a five-year tenure?

    • Yes, any candidate who was approved to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster prior to 2017 retains their five-year tenure. The three-year tenure only applies to candidates added to the Fulbright Specialist Roster beginning January 1, 2017.

  • If I complete the Fulbright Specialist Program, can I apply to become a Fulbright Scholar?

    • Yes, you are eligible to apply to the Fulbright Scholar Program (or any other Fulbright program) during or after your tenure on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. In addition, individuals are eligible to receive both a Fulbright Specialist grant and another Fulbright grant (e.g. Scholar) at any time without a waiting period between the grants. Preference will be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright grant or had significant overseas experience (See FFSB Policies Section 624.1 and 624.2).
  • I previously participated in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Am I eligible for the Fulbright Specialist Program?

    • Yes. Previous participants of other Fulbright programs, such as the Fulbright Scholar Program, are eligible for the Fulbright Specialist Program. You may apply to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster at any time. Preference will be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright grant or had significant overseas experience (See FFSB Policies Section 624.1 and 624.2).
  • I am currently or was previously an employee of the U.S. Government. Am I eligible to participate in the Fulbright Specialist Program?

    • U.S. Government employees are generally welcome to participate in the Fulbright Specialist Program as long as they have not been an employee of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development during the past 12 months. This provision includes all employees, paid or unpaid (including part-time or temporary employees, consultants, externs, fellows and contract employees). Immediate families (i.e. spouses and dependent children) of these individuals are also ineligible for the program.
    • For employees of other U.S. Government agencies, prior to being awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant, you will need to confirm with your respective agency’s ethics/human resources office that you are eligible to participate. After you have consulted with this office, World Learning staff will independently verify the agreed upon arrangements.

      In addition, the below J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) policies (644.5) apply to all eligible U.S. Government employees:

      • A grantee on leave without pay from U.S. government employment may receive all benefits normally provided to grantees.
      • If the grantee continues to receive compensation from the employer agency, allowances and benefits under the Fulbright grant may be adjusted accordingly.

      Thus, U.S. Government employees that participate under “Leave without Pay” will receive full benefits, including the daily honorarium. Conversely, U.S. Government employees that participate under “Annual Leave” will not be eligible to receive the daily honorarium. All FFSB policies must be adhered to in addition to any further internal policies set by each U.S. Government agency.

    • Please note that U.S. Government employees must travel on personal passports and not official U.S. Government passports.


Pre-departure Logistics

  • I have been matched to an approved project, and I have received approval from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. What are the next steps that I should take to plan for my exchange?

    1. A representative of World Learning will be in touch with you to confirm your project dates and to prepare for your exchange. You will receive the Fulbright Specialist Program Handbook via email with information regarding program benefits and payment, travel policies, health and safety tips, and a timeline of steps to complete before, during, and following your exchange.
    2. If you do not currently have a valid U.S. Passport, please go here for instructions on how to apply. You should start this process as soon as possible. Please note that the Fulbright Specialist Program does not cover any costs associated with obtaining a valid U.S. passport.
    3. If you do hold a valid U.S. passport, please check the expiration date to ensure that you will have at least six months validity remaining following your anticipated return date to the U.S. after your exchange.
    4. Through the Fulbright Specialist Program, you will be provided with a roundtrip economy class ticket between your hometown in the U.S. and your host institution abroad. Please note that all international travel must be arranged by World Learning and grantees are not permitted to purchase their flights independently. All travel must abide by all U.S. Government rules and regulations, including the Fly America Act. Thus, not all flights available on search engines or travel sites will be compliant and eligible for purchase.
    5. World Learning will inform you if a visa is required for travel to your host country as a Fulbright Specialist. If it is required, the program will cover the cost of your visa application, and World Learning will assist you with the visa process to ensure that you obtain the correct visa type. Thus, Specialists should not begin the visa application process without first consulting World Learning. Please note that the Fulbright Specialist Program cannot coordinate or sponsor a different visa type or visa extension in your grant country to accommodate personal travel.