Clark Barwick
at University of Glasgow

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Shani Small
at University of Sheffield

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Meet Our Fulbrighters »

US Awards - Selection Criteria FAQs

Q: What is the Selection Committee looking for?

A: Consider these rough guidelines and not hard and fast rules:

Please review the bios of the Current Fulbrighters.


Q: I left university some years ago.  May I still apply?

A: We do not have any preference for those who have recently graduated or for those who have spent several years in the work force. If you have spent time working or travelling, you may wish to elaborate on the experiences and skills gained from this. We would like to know what you have been doing and how it relates to your plans for the future. Include extra-curricular activities from your university years too, as it can help us understand your interests and commitments.


Q:  I have heard it's difficult to get a Fulbright Award – how competitive is it really?

A:  We receive approximately 900-1000 applications for our awards each year, making this the most competitive Fulbright award in the world. However, if you want to study in the UK, and you think you meet our criteria, we encourage you to apply. We are only as good as the applications we receive.


Q:  Does it matter where I plan to study in the UK?

A:  We want you to find the course which best suits you and your future plans, which will vary depending on the person. Applications that demonstrate a thorough search of courses throughout the whole of the UK will be favourably received.  You must make sure that any institutions are accredited universities. For information on universities and courses in the UK, we suggest that you contact the Council for International Education (UKCISA) or the British Council. They have a great deal of information specifically for international students wishing to study in the UK. You may also wish to have a look at our University Partners.


Q: Do I apply to a university separately?

A: Yes. Responsibility for the application to your chosen university/ies rests entirely with you. Fulbright programmes in other countries arrange affiliations for their students but, as there is no language barrier in the UK, we feel this is best left up to you, as you better know your own academic needs.


Q: Can I apply for a Fulbright Award in more than one country?

A: No, candidates may apply to only one country in any given academic year. The only exception to this rule is for candidates proposing to do multi-country grants where their projects require them to study in up to 3 different countries to complete the project during one academic year. These do not apply to the UK.


Q: Do I have to know a lot about the UK to get an award?

A: We do want people to have a general knowledge of the UK and a genuine interest in its cultures and peoples, as the awards are intended to promote greater cultural understanding and awareness and build long-standing peace between nations. We are looking for an intelligent interest in any and all aspects of life in Britain, including government and politics, public health, legal matters, film, popular music, literature, history and even the weather! The interests scholars have, we hope, are as varied as the subjects they wish to study.


Q: I am married and want to apply.  Can I do so? What would my spouse do while in the UK?  What if we are an unmarried couple?

A: For most award categories, there are no restrictions for married applicants. We do not offer any additional funding for accompanying dependants, however, so we ask that you ensure that you have enough on which to live while in the UK. Your spouse can apply for a work visa while in the UK, but this is beyond the Fulbright Commission's control. If you are unmarried, it is more difficult to get permission to bring a partner but not impossible. If you are concerned about either of these issues, we suggest that you contact your regional UK Embassy or Consulate to find out about your options.


Q: I’ve never travelled outside of the US.  Will this make a difference?

A: Given the nature of the Fulbright awards, we encourage anyone who has not travelled outside of the US to utilize this opportunity and apply.


Q: I'm a US citizen, but have lived / have been living abroad (outside of the US). Am I eligible?

A: Candidates who have resided abroad for five consecutive years of the past six, are ineligible, where a year is considered 9 months or more.


Q: I spent one year during my undergraduate studies abroad in the UK.  Will this hurt my chances? 

A: A year abroad, short tourist trips, or time spent in the UK when young will not count against an applicant, though we may expect greater familiarity with UK culture. However, the awards are offered essentially to those for whom living in the UK will be a new experience.


Q: My family is from a financially disadvantaged background.  Will this impact my application?

A: The Fulbright awards are not based on financial need and your financial background will play no part in the selection process. This award is based purely on merit.


Q: My family is from a financially privileged background.  Will this impact my application?

A: The Fulbright awards are not based on financial need and your financial background will play no part in the selection process. This award is based purely on merit.


Q: Does it matter what I want to study?

A: We value the diversity of our Fulbright grantees, both in their personalities and their fields of interest, and welcome any subject, with the exception of any medical courses or projects that involve direct patient interaction.