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).

INTENDED PROGRAMS
APPLICATION PERIOD

September 15 till December 1 (at noon CET)  

IMPORTANT

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

BENEFITS

ELIGIBILITY

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS

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.

HOW TO APPLY

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 in English 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.

APPLICATION TIMELINE

HEAR FROM OUR GRANTEES

“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
FULBRIGHT GRANTEE TO YALE UNIVERSITY (2017-2018)
“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)

FAQ

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 do not have Belgian/Luxembourgish citizenship, but am currently living/studying/working there. Am I eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program?

No. Eligibility for the Fulbright Program is based on nationality, not residence.

 

When is the deadline to submit an application?

Every applicant needs to complete an online application by December 1 at 12 PM (Central European Time) including the required documents. Incomplete applications will not be considered for an award. 

When do I need to apply for a Fulbright grant?

Applicants can apply for a Fulbright award between September 15 and December 1 with the intention to carry out a program in the next academic year. All departures must take place between August and March of the academic year you are applying for.

 

Does the Fulbright Program fund short-term exchange semesters as part of a master's program?


No. The Fulbright Program does not offer grants for short-term exchange semesters as part of a master’s program in Belgium or Luxembourg.

Can I combine multiple scholarships?

Yes. You may be able to combine other scholarships (e.g. BAEF, tuition waiver from university) offered by other institutions with a Fulbright grant providing that there is no conflict from their side. You are able to disclose any other scholarship applications in your Fulbright application.

 

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

No. 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 Fulbrighters are J-1 Exchange Visitors subject to a two-year home residency requirement also known as the foreign residence requirement under U.S. law, Immigration and Nationality Act, section 212(e). A two-year pe­riod of home residency is required before you may apply for a non-immigrant (H, L and M) visa as a temporary worker or for permanent residency in the United States. This requirement does not prevent you from reentry into the United States within the two-year period to attend conferences, tourism, or further study. 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.

 

Does the Fulbright Program fund part-time programs?

No. Grants are awarded for the purpose of full-time study, research or lecturing. Flexibility around practical arrangements and specific schedule of the program should be confirmed with the host institution.

What is an Americanized resume?

While many examples of an ‘American’ style resume can be found online, there are some general guidelines that are different from a typical ‘European’ style resume. An American resume begins with your name and contact information (address, phone number, email address) at the top of the page. Most resumes will include sections about education, work experience and skills. Do not include personal information like a photo, date/place of birth, nationality, or marital status. In most cases, it is recommended to have a resume or CV that is no longer than one or two pages, however, we understand that this can be more challenging in an academic context.

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 (https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/#/home)

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. We generally recommend to limit each essay to one or two pages.

How do I add the required letters of recommendation to my application?

Letters of recommendation need to be submitted online by your chosen recommenders. In the online application you will find a section called ‘Recommendations’ where you can register your chosen recommenders. Once registered they will receive an automatic email with the request to upload their letter of recommendation which we will be added to your application. After registering, you are able to track the status of these letters and send reminders. These letters need to be submitted in your application by the December 1 deadline. 

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Although it is technically possible to register more than three recommenders in the online application, we only require three letters and only the first three letters will be taken into consideration.

What is a writing sample?

A writing sample is only required for doctoral students and can be any research essay, paper, or article that you have written during your studies. There is no preferred length for this document and most applicants submit an article or paper of a completed research project. 

Do I need to apply in the student or scholar category as a researcher?

If you are currently a doctoral student who will graduate after the intended research stay in the U.S., you need to apply in the student category. If you already completed your PhD degree or you will complete your PhD before or by the intended time of departure to the U.S., you will need to apply in the scholar category. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about your specific situation.

Does the Fulbright Program offer grants for internships?

No. The Fulbright Commission does not offer grants for internships. Academic Training opportunities during graduate studies or immediately following graduate studies may be possible although approval is not guaranteed. The primary purpose of a Fulbright grant is to undertake the approved academic program.

Do I need to include any standardized test scores in my application?

No. We do not require exam scores (e.g. GRE, TOEFL) for the grant application. However, it is optional to include these test results in the appropriate application fields. 

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 April). 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 Fulbright offer health insurance to spouses or dependents on a J-2 visa?

No. All Fulbright grantees benefit from sickness and accident insurance offered by the U.S. Department of State. Dependents who are accompanied by the grantee during the program are required to arrange health insurance separately. 

Is the entire application in English?

Yes. The online application needs to be completed in English including the required documents. Exceptionally, you may include transcripts and the diploma of your most recent degree in either Dutch, French or German, however it is recommended to submit an English version of these documents. Any documents in other languages should be submitted along with a certified English translation.

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 a Report on Proficiency in English or a Letter of Reference Form. 

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.

Does the Fulbright Commission cover the cost of tuition/fees at my host institution?

No. The Fulbright Commission provides a scholarship (including a travel stipend) and other benefits, as detailed above. However, no additional funds are available for tuition/fees at the host institution.

Is the amount of the awarded grant calculated based on location in the U.S.?

No. The Fulbright Commission offers standardized monthly stipends regardless of the candidate’s residence in the U.S. Please note that study and living costs vary in the U.S.

© 1948-2020. Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States, Belgium, and Luxembourg.

info[at]fulbright.be / +32 (0)2 519 57 72