Graduate Studies and (Pre)Doctoral Research

As part of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, Fulbright awards scholarships to Belgian and Luxembourgish citizens to study or conduct research in any academic field at an accredited U.S. institution for a period between four months and one academic year (9 months).

  • Master's
  • Doctoral research (before or as part of ongoing PhD)
  • PhD

September 15 till December 1 (at noon CET)  


Review eligibility requirements below and include all required documents in your online application.


  • Scholarship of up to $2000 per month
  • J-1 visa sponsorship
  • Pre-Departure Orientation in Brussels
  • Travel stipend of $1000
  • Sickness and accident insurance
  • In-country programming (e.g. Gateway Orientations, Enrichment Seminars)
  • Prestigious title and access to alumni network


  • Belgian or Luxembourgish citizenship
  • Proficiency in English
  • Minimum of a Bachelor's degree
  • Academic excellence, generally defined as distinction in each year of study or a grand distinction in the most recent year of study; please note that candidates without these grades are still encouraged to apply if they have outstanding personal or professional backgrounds


  • Americanized CV
  • Study/Research Objectives Essay
  • Personal Statement Essay
  • Transcripts of completed coursework and diploma from most recent degree
  • Three letters of recommendation (uploaded directly into online application by chosen recommenders)
  • Writing sample (for doctoral students only)
  • Letter of admission or affiliation from a U.S. host institution; this letter should contain the institution’s letterhead, mention the exact dates (or academic term) of your stay and may be provided after the application deadline for graduate students (as late as May)

All these documents must be included in your application by December 1 with exception of the admission letter. Please note that we do NOT require supplemental forms such as a letter from your home institution or official test results (e.g. TOEFL). You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire.


The application period to apply for this grant is between September 15 and December 1 for applicants who intend to start their program in the next academic year.

E.g. if you intend to start a program in the academic year of 2021-2022, you will need to apply for a grant between September 15 and December 1, 2020. 

Every applicant needs to complete an online application by noon (Central European Time) on December 1 including the required documents. No papers should be mailed to our office and it is not required for applicants to contact us before starting their application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award. When creating an online account to start a new application, preferably use a personal email address instead of a temporary work or school address.

Before starting a new application, please review the Application Guidelines on how to complete the online application.

All applications are evaluated by our Selections Committee. The most competitive applicants demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and a genuine interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time in the United States and to explain why this is the right time to pursue their plan and how their grant will ultimately help them achieve their personal and professional goals in the future. The Commission is looking for candidates who will have a multiplier effect within their U.S., Belgian or Luxembourgish communities and who wish to ultimately return to Belgium or Luxembourg to share their knowledge and experiences after their grant has ended.

Candidates are responsible for applying and securing letters of admission or affiliation on their own. While these letters are not required at the time of application, they do strengthen an application if they are included and they must ultimately be provided by selected grantees in order to receive the grant. Candidates with strong completed applications submitted by the deadline will be invited to the Commission in the last week of January for a mandatory interview in English. Interviews are in person, and cannot be rescheduled. The interview will include a discussion of your motivations for going to the U.S., your plans when you arrive, and how you will improve U.S. relations between Belgium or Luxembourg as an alumni when you return. Successful candidates will demonstrate ambassadorial qualities, English proficiency, and the ability to explain their academic proposal in simple terms. The Selections Committee is composed of Belgian, Luxembourgish and American professors, professionals, government officials, and Fulbright alumni from various fields.



“The Fulbright goal is to build human global networks, humanize relations between people all over the world to decrease the prospect of conflict, and infuse those international relations with empathy and mutual understanding. I am grateful to Fulbright for having given me the opportunity to study at Yale University, but also to better understand what kind of leadership and personal character traits are necessary to realize those universal goals.”
Ingmar Samyn
Fulbright grantee to yale law school (2015-2016)
“Being a Fulbright grantee in the USA profoundly affected both my academic and personal growth. Interacting with Yale faculty and graduate students has been intellectually very stimulating, and laid a cornerstone for an invaluable international research network. Beyond academics, the program also changed me as a human being. Building friendships with passionate people from so many countries greatly increased my understanding and appreciation of American and other cultures. Coming back home made me realize how much the Fulbright program and the US have become part of my DNA. I hope to continue sharing my enthusiasm for both in the future!”​
Michaël Rubens
“From intense and rewarding scholarly challenges to forming loving friendships with people from all over the world; my time in Chicago as a Fulbright Grantee had it all. When I imagined my U.S. adventure before I left, I never anticipated learning so much in such a short time. With its essential interdisciplinary character, American academia challenges you not only to become a critical and innovative thinker in your field, but also to be able to communicate your expertise to peers from various other disciplines. The experience and knowledge I gained during workshops, in class discussions, and during conversations with my professors has already proved essential for my future career, and I am sure it will continue to do so for a long time to come. Thank you, Fulbright Belgium!”
Marie-Gabrielle Verbergt
Fulbright Grantee to the University of Chicago (2017-2018)


Most frequent questions and answers

I am a Belgian/Luxembourgish citizen living abroad. Can I apply?

As a Belgian or Luxembourgish citizen, you may apply for a Fulbright grant if you are living in any country except the United States. If you are resident in the United States, a dual U.S.-Belgium or U.S.-Luxembourg citizen, or hold a Green Card at the time of application, you are ineligible to apply.

I am a Belgian/Luxembourgish citizen currently pursuing my studies in the United States. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program?

Candidates already in the United States at the time of application and those who have resided in the U.S. for five or more years in the six-year period preceding the date of application are ineligible to apply. Moreover, please note that preference will be given to those who have not had substantial recent experience in the U.S. with “substantial recent experience” being study, research or employment for a period of aggregating more than an academic year (9 months) during the past five years.


I intend to pursue a medical residency or clinical medical research or training in the U.S.? Can I apply?

The Fulbright Program will not fund applicants seeking to enroll in a medical degree program nor does it offer grants to those who wish to conduct clinical medical research or training involving patient care and/or contact. (both human and animal)


As a participant in the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, will I be subject to the two-year home requirement after my grant?

Yes. All Fulbright grantees must travel to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which requires them to return to Belgium or their country of permanent legal residency for at least two years at some point after their grant before they are allowed to return to the U.S. to live or work permanently on an H, L, K or LPR visa. More information about the two-year rule can be found here. A list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here.


Am I responsible for arranging my own affiliation/acceptance to my host institution?

Yes. Applying to a host institution in the United States is a separate, simultaneous process. Please note that if you have chosen a university as your host institution, its accreditation should be recognized by either the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education. You can verify accreditation here ( Non-typical host institutions for researchers need to have non-profit status and can be research institutions or facilities, think tanks, museums, libraries or post-secondary accredited educational institutions.

What is the difference between the Study/Research Objectives Essay and the Personal Statement Essay?

The Study/Research Objectives Essay should provide a clear and detailed description of your study or research objectives, and your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this field, but remember that your application will likely be read by a variety of people, including some who are not experts in your field. Describe the kind of program you expect to undertake, and explain how your study plan fits in with your previous training and your future objectives. The Personal Statement Essay is a narrative statement describing how you have achieved your current goals; it should include information about education, practical experience, special interests, and career plans. You can also use the Personal Statement to describe any significant factors that have influenced your educational or professional development and explain your existing practical experience. Each essay should ‘ideally’ be no more than one page.

When do I need to provide proof of affiliation/acceptance to a U.S. university in my application?

Student researchers are recommended to upload their letter of affiliation by December 1 if possible. University acceptance letters may be submitted after this deadline (as late as May). An example of a letter of affiliation for research applicants can be found here.


The online application has asked me to do something different to the application instructions on the website. What should I do?

The online application system is used by Fulbright Programs around the world and application procedures differ greatly from country to country. You must follow the guidelines presented by the Fulbright Commission in Brussels.

Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require me to contact them before beginning the application?

We do NOT require applicants to contact us before beginning the application. You can start your online application without contacting us beforehand.


Does the Fulbright Commission in Brussels require supplemental forms?

We do NOT require supplemental forms such as the letter of the home institution or official exam results (e.g., TOEFL). However, it is optional to include these test results in the appropriate application fields. 

Can I mail physical documents to the Fulbright Commission?


No. The application is completed entirely online.

When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for an interview?

Applicants who are selected for an interview will be contacted via email in mid-January. Interviews will take place during the last week of January or in the first week of February.

When will I hear from the Fulbright Commission if I have been selected for a Fulbright Award?


Successful applicants will be contacted via email in late February or early March. Successful applicants must then be officially approved by the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and should receive a confirmation of their grant in mid-March.

What happens if I am offered a Fulbright Award, but not a place at university?

If you are not accepted to a U.S. university, the offer of a Fulbright Award will be withdrawn. Graduate students are encouraged to apply to several universities to increase their chances of being admitted to a U.S. university.

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