Graduate Studies

Benefits
Requirements
Timeline
Application Materials
Award Partners/Donors

Benefits

Approximately 15-20 grants-in-aid will be available for candidates in any academic field who wish to study and/or conduct research in an American university or think tank. Candidates are responsible for applying and securing letters of admission or invitation 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.

Benefits include:

  • $1,000 to $30,000 based on merit and financial need. The money may be used to cover flights, tuition, living costs, etc. The average award for graduate students in 2014-2015 was 14,000 USD (and 10,000 USD if combining with a BAEF grant)
  • Sickness and accident insurance for grantees
  • J-visa sponsorship for grantees and any accompanying dependents
  • Pre-departure orientation and reception at the U.S. Embassy to Belgium
  • Gateway orientations in the U.S.
  • Fulbright Enrichment Seminars in the U.S.
  • Active Fulbright networks to welcome them in the United States and as an alumnus in Belgium when they return
  • Location-conditional discount on a Brussels Airlines ticket

For more information about the Fulbright experience, interested candidates should read alumni and current grantee stories on our blog.

Requirements to apply include:

  • Belgian or Luxembourgish citizenship
  • English Proficiency
  • A Bachelor’s degree
  • Academic excellence, generally defined as distinction/onderscheiding each year of study or a grand distinction/grote onderscheiding in the most recent year of study. *Note: Candidates without these grades are still encouraged to apply if they have outstanding personal or professional backgrounds.
  • Certain restrictions apply if you have held aJ-1 visa within the past two years, please contact us for more info

The most competitive applicants for Fulbright graduate studies awards demonstrate ambassadorial qualities and an interest in cultural exchange. It is important for candidates to be able to articulate a clear, creative, and feasible plan for their time in the United States, why right now is the right time to pursue this plan, and how it 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. and Belgian communities and who wish to ultimately return to Belgium to share their newfound knowledge and experience after their grant has ended.

In this regard, it is also important to note that 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 2-year rule can be found here, and a list of documents that fulfill the proof of legal residency requirement for each EU country can be found here. If you are able to provide proof of legal residency for a country other than Belgium, you will need to include a scan of this document in the final online application.

Candidates already in the United States at the time of application or 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. Preference will be given to 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.

Timeline for academic year 2018-2019

Deadline: noon on December 1 (Brussels time)

APPLICATION TIMELINE FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS:

September 15, 2017: Final online application starts on the Fulbright website. We do not require applicants to contact us before beginning the application.
December 1, 2017: Final online application deadline at NOON (12pm), consisting of an application form with CV, test scores, three recommendation letters, transcripts, etc
December 2017 – January 2018: Technical review of the application files
January-February 2018: Panel reviews and interviews

For Belgian applicants in the GENERAL category – January (Date TBC) 2018: 10 minute interview in English (in person only) at the Commission for Educational Exchange in Brussels with a selection panel made up of alumni, professors, board members, etc
For Belgian applicants in the LEGAL category – January (Date TBC) 2018: 10 minute interview in English (in person only) at the Commission for Educational Exchange in Brussels with a selection panel made up of alumni, professors, board members, etc.

February 2018  (Date TBC): interviews in Luxembourg for applicants from Luxembourg.

During the  interview, the panel will continue to determine the candidates’ fulfillment of the following criteria:

  • Project/Study Objectives (well defined, necessary to carry out in U.S.)
  • Project/Study Feasibility (and relation to future plans)
  • Suitability (previous experience abroad, openness)
  • Social Engagement (community service, extracurricular activities)
  • Academic Excellence
  • English Skills
  • Does the project make sense in terms of the goals and priorities of Fulbright Belgium, and would the candidate become a productive and effective member of the alumni network?
  • Diversity in gender, ethnic/racial background, socioeconomic status, geographic/linguistic region of origin, proposed host institution, and other factors.

February/March 2018: Applicants notified by e-mail
May or June 2018: Pre-departure meeting at U.S. Embassy and reception with the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium
Between August 2018 and March 2019: Grantees can departures to the U.S. between August 2018 and March 31, 2019

The links to the application system will be added here on September 15.

 

Application Materials:

The Fulbright application process is now entirely online; applications and supplemental materials mailed or e-mailed to the Commission will not be considered. Complete Fulbright graduate award applications consists of:

  • The online application form
  • An “Americanized” Resume/CV (see advice here)
  • Transcripts from your most recent degree
  • Writing sample (for doctoral students only)
  • Test scores from any relevant exams taken (i.e. GRE/GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS)
  • 2 essays: Please note that you will need to address why you are applying for a Fulbright grant in your application. The Fulbright program is about mutual understanding: please explain very clearly in the application how you would carry out this mission.
  1. The Study/Research Objectives Essay, which asks candidates to “write a clear and detailed description of your study/research objectives, and give your reasons for wanting to pursue them. Be specific about your major field and your specialized interests within this 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,” (see example here) and
  2. The Personal Statement, which “should be a narrative statement describing how you have achieved your current goals. It should not be a mere listing of facts. It should include information about your education, practical experience, special interests, and career plans. Describe any significant factors that have influenced your educational or professional development. Comment on the number of years of practical experience already completed in the field in which academic work will be done in the U.S.” (see example here)
  • 3 Recommendation Letters, uploaded by your references directly into the online application by the December 1 deadline

Note: proof of PhD is needed by time of departure to the U.S. for those applying in the research scholar category. 

Please note: We do not require any supplemental forms, the letter of the home institution, the signature form or official test results (TOEFL,…). No papers should be mailed to our office. (You may include test results in the appropriate application fields if you so desire.) 

You will also need to submit a letter of acceptance/affiliation/invitation from an accredited U.S. university or think tank (defined as a non-profit institution whose main activity is research). Research affiliation invitation letters should be uploaded before the application deadline and include exact dates. University acceptance letters may be submitted far after this deadline (as late as May).  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.

Applications without one or more of these materials will not be considered for an award. Candidates with strong completed applications submitted by the deadline will be invited to the Commission in January for a mandatory in-person interview in English.

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.-Belgian relations as an alumni when you return. Successful candidates will demonstrate ambassadorial qualities, English proficiency, and the ability to explain their cultural and academic background in simple terms. The interview committee is composed of Belgian and American professors, professionals, government officials, and Fulbright alumni from various fields.

For tips about the Fulbright application process, candidates should refer to interviews with alumni and selected applicants like the one below on the Commission’s online advising channel:

Selected grantees should be prepared to provide a passport for themselves and any accompanying dependents, admission/invitation letter, completed Fulbright medical form, and proof of additional funds to support themselves in the U.S. during the months following their selection and preceding their departure.

 Fulbright Award Partners and Donors

The Commission administers grants for educational and cultural exchange to Belgian and American citizens looking to study, research, or lecture in the partner country. While most of the funding comes from the Belgian and United States governments for awards whose eligibility is defined autonomously by the Commission, some awards are sponsored by individuals, companies, associations, and accredited Belgian and American universities solely for Fulbright applicants coming to or from their institutions.

Check out this page for partner awards (All Academic Fields, Business Awards, International Relations Awards, Law Awards).

Questions? If you are a student, please contact student@fulbright.be; if you are a scholar, you can contact scholar@fulbright.be. We do not require applicants to contact us before beginning the application.