The Fulbright Specialist Program sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curricula, faculty development, institutional planning, and related subjects at academic institutions abroad for a period of 2 to 6 weeks.

The recruitment will be active from March 5, 2018 to April 4, 2018.

Goal of the grant

The Fulbright Specialist Program (FSP), part of the larger Fulbright Program, was established in 2001 by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The program is a field-driven initiative in which foreign host institutions conceptualize and design projects of interest within an eligible discipline that represent a priority for their respective organizations. These projects are then paired with a highly qualified U.S. academic or professional who shares his or her expertise and assists with strengthening linkages between U.S. and foreign host institutions. Participating foreign host institutions benefit by:

  • Gaining global perspectives from experienced U.S. academics and professionals;
  • Executing projects that require a rapid response or flexible timeline through short-term, year-round exchanges; and
  • Building sustained relationships with individuals and institutions in the U.S.

Grant offer

The Fulbright Specialist Program offers year-round project opportunities of two to six weeks in length. The shorter duration of Specialist projects is beneficial for both the U.S. academic or professional who may not be available to leave their position for an extended period of time and the host institution which needs an experienced partner on a short-term basis.

Through the Fulbright Specialist Program, U.S. academics and professionals can apply their knowledge and expertise to a diverse array of activities including, but not limited to:

  • Delivering a seminar or workshop
  • Consulting regarding faculty and/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

The Fulbright Specialist Program also distinguishes itself through the diversity of its participants. Both university faculty members and highly experienced non-academics (including legal experts, business professionals, artists, scientists, and journalists) are encouraged to apply and use their unique expertise in support of host institutions abroad.

Grant duration

  • All exchanges must range from 14 to 42 days in length, including weekends, holidays and travel days.
  • Projects are restricted to one country. All project activities must take place in the country requesting the project.
  • Each project is limited to only one Fulbright Specialist grantee.

Serial Projects

  • If a host institution would benefit by having the Fulbright Specialist visit the host institution more than once, host institutions may apply for their project to be Multi-Visit. Please note that the majority of approved projects are not Multi-Visit and host institutions will need to provide a strong justification for why this approach would strengthen project outcomes. Below are some general program parameters for Multi-Visit projects:0
    •  Multi-Visit projects cannot include more than a total of three trips.
    • All trips must be completed within a one-year period by the same Fulbright Specialist. The one-year period is calculated by adding 12 months from the initial start date of the first visit through the end date of the final visit.
    • Each visit must be a minimum of 14 days, and the total number of days across all visits cannot exceed six weeks (42 days).

Benefits for Specialists

The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), along with host institutions abroad, provide U.S.-based Specialists with full funding to participate in Fulbright Specialist projects. Benefits include:

  • Round-trip, economy class airfare between the U.S. and host country
  • Daily honorarium
  • Enrollment in a limited health benefits program
  • Lodging
  • Meals
  • In-country transportation

Upon returning to the U.S., program participants are able to contribute their newly gained knowledge and intercultural experience to their home institution or organization. Program participants will also become part of a network of thousands of accomplished Fulbright alumni, opening the door to additional grant possibilities, enhanced career development, and alumni networking and leadership opportunities.

General rules and formal criteria

  • All applicants for the Fulbright Specialist Roster must be U.S. citizens. Non-U.S. citizens who have legal permanent residency status in the United States are not eligible for Fulbright grants.
  • Applicants must have significant experience in their respective field, as demonstrated by professional, academic, or artistic achievements.
  • Applicant must be able to travel overseas for a duration of 14 to 42 days (length varies depending on project).
  • While applicants who have previously participated in a Fulbright exchange are eligible to participate in the Fulbright Specialist Program, 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).
  • Applicants are required to disclose any prior convictions of a felony or a misdemeanor including Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) but excluding minor traffic violations.
  • Applicant must not have resided abroad for five or more consecutive years in the last six years at the time of application. For the purposes of this program, a period of nine months or more during a calendar year is considered to constitute a full year abroad.
  • During the past 12 months, the applicant cannot have been an employee of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or a public or private organization under contract with the U.S. Department of State to administer the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ exchange programs. Immediate families (i.e. spouses and dependent children) of these individuals are also ineligible for the program.
  • Applicants who have participated in another Fulbright Program, such as the Fulbright Scholar Program, must wait two years after the end date of their program before they are eligible to apply to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster.
  • Previous Fulbright Specialist Roster candidates whose tenure on the Roster has expired must wait two years from the date of their tenure expiration before they are eligible to apply to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster for another tenure.
  • Religious workers, lay or ordained, are not eligible for consideration if their projects involve engaging in pastoral, missionary, or other professional religious activities.

Eligible disciplines

  • Agriculture
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Archeology
  • Biology Education
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry Education
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Science and Information Technology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering Education
  • Environmental Science
  • Law
  • Library Science
  • Math Education
  • Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
  • Physics Education
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Public/Global Health
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Urban Planning

Grant application

Step One: Host Institution Develops Project Proposal and Seeks Approval

The Fulbright Specialist Program is a field-driven initiative in which host institutions abroad conceptualize and design projects of interest that represent a priority for their respective organizations. Once a host institution has developed their initial project design, they submit a project proposal to the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission.

If the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission approves a project proposal, that proposal is forwarded to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), for further review and approval. A project is only officially approved after the review by ECA.

Step Two: Interested Individuals Apply to Join the Fulbright Specialist Roster

After completing the Fulbright Specialist application, all prospective Fulbright Specialists complete a rigorous application process prior to being eligible to serve on a host institution’s project abroad.  For more detailed information on the full application process, see Online Application Instructions for Specialists.

If an applicant meets all basic eligibility requirements, their application is then reviewed by a peer review panel. If the panel approves of the applicant, they are placed on the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a three-year tenure as a Fulbright Specialist Candidate, during which time they are eligible to be matched with host institution projects abroad. Please note that there is no guarantee that the individual will be matched with a project during their tenure. If an applicant is deemed ineligible during the application review process or is not approved by the peer review panel, they can reapply for consideration. For more detailed information on peer review deadlines and evaluation criteria, please see The Peer Review Process.

Step Three: Eligible Individuals on the Fulbright Specialist Roster are Matched to Host Institution Projects

When a prospective host institution completes a project proposal that is reviewed by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, they can identify their project as either an “open project” or “named project.”

Open Projects: If it is an open project, the host institution does not name a specific individual to serve as the Specialist. Rather, after the project is approved by all parties, World Learning assists in reviewing the Fulbright Specialist Roster for candidates whose professional experience, academic credentials, and foreign language abilities best match the knowledge and skills required for the successful implementation of the host institution’s project. World Learning then presents the options to the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission, who communicates directly with the host institution. Ultimately, the host institution reviews and selects from the identified candidates. If the host institution does not believe that any of the candidates has the knowledge and skills to conduct the project successfully, then additional candidates from the Fulbright Specialist Roster are identified.

Named Projects: If it is a named project, the host institution identifies in its project proposal the individual they would like to serve as the Fulbright Specialist in its project proposal. This person may or may not currently be on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. If the host institution identifies an individual who is not on the Fulbright Specialist Roster, that individual must first complete the full process (application, peer review) to join the Fulbright Specialist Roster before they can be formally matched and approved to the project. Please note that a project proposal from a host institution can be reviewed concurrently by the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission and ECA while the individual named in the host institution application completes the full application process. If a host institution’s project is ultimately approved by all parties and an individual is approved as a Fulbright Specialist Candidate, then the individual and the project may be matched. Please note that the host institution must provide a strong justification of why that individual is best suited to serve in the role of the Fulbright Specialist. Ultimately, the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission must approve of the Specialist and project match.

Step Four: Final Approval by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board

The final step is for the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB) to approve the individual who is matched to the host institution’s specific project. Only after this step are the project and proposed Fulbright Specialist fully approved.

Step Five: Fulbright Specialist Implements Project Abroad with Host Institution

After an individual receives final approval from the FFSB to serve as the Fulbright Specialist for a host institution’s project abroad, World Learning will provide all pre-program support and will monitor the completion of the Fulbright Specialist project.


Learn more

Program Officer

Frequently Asked Questions

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 regarding faculty and/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.

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

Please see Specialist Application for complete application instructions and list of required information.

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.

All prospective Specialists must complete the full online application and have two letters of reference submitted before their application to join the Specialist Roster will 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.

No. Each year, you may apply to only one Fulbright program. Additionally, if you participate in any Fulbright program (such as Fulbright Specialist or Fulbright Scholar), you must wait two years from the completion of your exchange before you are eligible to participate in any other Fulbright program.