Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Please refer to the application instructions, available via the Australian Applicants page; the link to apply is within the application instructions PDF document. Please ensure you use this PDF each time you access the application portal as different award categories have different online application forms. Watch the below webinar for a step-by-step guide to navigating this site.

How does my application for a Fulbright Scholarship have to be submitted?

All applications must be submitted online through the Embark online application system, per the instructions above.

What are the opening and closing dates for applications?

Applications for all scholarship categories should be submitted between February 1st – July 15th. Under no circumstances will any late applications be accepted. Please note that even though you may still be able to access the Embark system to upload documents, these will not be accepted after the closing date.

Will copies of the required documentation supporting my application be sufficient?

Only certified copies will be accepted. Academic transcripts, birth certificates etc. must be certified by a Justice of the Peace. Please refer to the application instructions.

Who should I ask to provide a Referee Report?

Three referee reports are required. You should ask people who will best support your application and who can objectively assess your ability to successfully undertake a program of research or study in the U.S. and your potential to make a contribution to the U.S. and Australia. Where possible your referees should include your academic supervisor/s, colleagues and key contacts who can provide relevant information on your personal and professional attributes. You are encouraged to use a mix of referees and not all from the same school or faculty. Please refer to the application instructions.

What is the closing date for Referee Reports?

  • All Referees’ Reports must be submitted application close date (July 15 2018). It is the applicant’s responsibility to see that Referee Reports are submitted before the closing date.
  • If only one, or no referee reports are submitted then your application will be considered ineligible and will be removed from assessment.
  • Referee reports will not be accepted after the closing date.
  • You are asked to nominate your referee and provide an email address on the application form. The referee will be sent an online form to complete and the reference will be attached to your application.

How do Referees submit their reports?

Please refer to the application instructions.

Can I defer my scholarship?

Programs must commence between July 1st of the year of awarding and June 30th of the following year.

Example: If you are awarded in March 2019, you must commence your program between July 1st 2019 and June 30th 2020. If you have not commenced your program by June 30th 2020 your scholarship will be void.

How can I make my application more successful?

There is no “formula” for a successful application. Each individual’s application should be about the candidate, how the program time will be spent, and what outcomes can be reasonably expected. What is successful for one applicant may not be effective for another applicant. The below webinar provides some advice on what our selection committees look for in general.

Will the Fulbright Commission staff review my application before submitting?

Please do not ask Fulbright Staff, Fulbright Selection Committee Members, or Fulbright State Secretaries to review your actual written application. This is in keeping with Fulbright Policy of not providing feedback, and furthermore it ensures equity to all applicants.

Can you tell me why I was not selected?

No. As with all Fulbright awards, applications under this initiative are evaluated by panels in accordance with normal Fulbright standards that are competitive, merit-based, open and transparent, including by the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as sponsoring agency of the worldwide Fulbright Program, and by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) for final approval and selection of candidates. This program is administered in accordance with all relevant FSB Policies.

The policy on selection and non-selection stipulates, “It is the policy of the Board not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or non-selection of applicants for awards under the program.” (From the “Policy Statements of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board,” Sec. 145.)”.

The Australian-American Fulbright Commission follows the policy of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Reasons for non-recommendation of candidates will not be provided, including feedback on individual applications.

Do I have to attend an interview?

Yes. All candidates who are applying for Fulbright Scholarships must be available for an interview. More details on dates / locations (including whether you will need to undertake your interview via skype) will be available on the Australian Applicants page.

Can I apply in more than one Fulbright Scholarship category?

Yes. Applicants should follow the instructions in the application instructions to apply for multiple scholarship opportunities.

Are those with dual Australian/US citizenship eligible for a scholarship?


If I’m not an Australian citizen but I am a permanent resident, am I eligible for a scholarship?

No. Applicants for Australian Fulbright Scholarships must be Australian citizens by birth or naturalisation. Other nationals may be able to apply for Fulbright scholarships from their home country. See the U.S. Department of State’s Home Page for further information.

I am a Green Card holder. Am I eligible to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship?

No. The Fulbright program is, at its heart, an exchange program. As such, those who already have the opportunity to experience living and studying in the U.S. by other means are not eligible.

If I am an Australian citizen but I’m living abroad, am I eligible for an Australian Fulbright scholarship?

  • No. It is a requirement of Australian Fulbright scholarships that applicants be resident in Australia at the time of application and that they be available for an interview. The only exceptions to this rule are for individuals serving overseas in the Armed Forces, or for Australian diplomats posted overseas.
  • All Scholars must be available to attend the Fulbright Presentation Dinner and Orientation Program held annually in March.

I have extensive experience of the U.S. already – will that make a difference in selection of applicants?

If two candidates are of equal standing then preference should be given to applicants who have not had recent extensive U.S. experience.

I have never lived or studied abroad. Will that disadvantage me?

No. Preference may be given to those who have not had recent extensive experience abroad i.e. undertaken study, teaching, research or employment for a period aggregating more than one academic year during the past five years.

Is there an age limit to people applying for Fulbright Scholarships?

No – As long as the medical can be passed for your J-1 Visa.

Are applicants who are unsuccessful in their application for a Fulbright Scholarship precluded from applying in the future?

No. Previously unsuccessful applicants are not precluded from applying, indeed they are strongly encouraged to re-apply the following year.

Does affiliation with a U.S. institution have to be confirmed at the time of application?

Yes- unless you are a degree seeking student. Affiliation with a U.S. institution does need to be confirmed at the time of application. There should be a clear indication of which institution(s) you would prefer to attend/visit and why. Any communication you have had with the institution(s) should be attached to your application. This can include copies of email communication and/or a host letter of support, which is highly valued during the application review process.

Postgraduate applicants who wish to undertake Master’s coursework must not have a confirmed institution at the time of application. College applications can be submitted after the Fulbright selection process is complete, and applicants can use Placement Services to assist.



I have already started my program of study. Can I apply for a Fulbright scholarship?

No. Applicants who have already commenced studies/research in the U.S. are ineligible for a scholarship.


I have an APA (Australian Postgraduate Award) – am I eligible to apply?

Yes, however you will need to temporarily suspend your APA whilst in the U.S. as you cannot receive both at the same time. Please contact your university to discuss the process.


I already have a Master’s degree. Does this prevent me from applying to undertake a second Master’s degree on a Fulbright scholarship?

No – if you already have a Master’s degree you are welcome to apply for a Fulbright to undertake another Master’s degree in the U.S., however you will need to demonstrate the ‘value-add’ in undertaking a second degree program at the same level, and your application may not be as competitive as a candidate who has not already had the opportunity to undertake study at this level.


Must I have an undergraduate degree to be eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?

Yes – or a tertiary equivalent qualification. Undergraduate students are also permitted to apply if they include a letter from their university stating their credit points are on track for graduation in the near future. Please refer to the application instructions.

I have submitted my PhD thesis and it has been accepted but not yet conferred, am I eligible for the Postdoctoral Scholarship?

Yes, however please note the results of your thesis examination will be required prior to the Postdoctoral Selection Committee meeting in September. Evidence of thesis having been accepted with no major changes required should be sent through prior to interview (at the very latest) if not available at time of submisson. This can be a formal signed letter from your Dean or Head of School notifying us that your thesis has passed. Please note that a Postdoctoral Scholarship cannot be awarded where evidence of successful completion of a PhD is not forthcoming.

Is preference given to applicants from specific academic fields?

No. Fulbright Scholarships are open to applicants from any academic field.


Can you have more than one host institution?

You must have one main host institution for your project, however, you can visit other institutions while in the U.S.

Are medical graduates eligible for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Medical graduates are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship if they can assure authorities in the United States that there will be no clinical contact or undertaking of clinical practice, or invasive procedures with patients. Medical graduates must be able to travel on a J-1 research visa to qualify for a Fulbright Scholarship. Please see for more information. Graduates of all health sciences are considered medical graduates.

Do I need to pass a medical examination to qualify for a Fulbright Scholarship?

Yes. You will need to pass a medical examination and you may be asked to provide information about your medical history, certification of good health, and vaccinations. You may also be asked to undertake a chest x-ray if required.

Does the Fulbright Scholarship have health insurance that will cover me if I become ill or injured while in the U.S.?

The United States Department of State provides Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage during your grant period at no cost to you.

This plan should not be construed as an insurance policy. The ASPE is a self-funded health benefits plan designed to pay covered medical expenses for eligible Exchange Participants. Covered medical expenses are subject to limitations as defined in the health benefits plan program guide book.

Will this health benefits plan cover me for existing medical complaints?

No. It is important to note that pre-existing conditions are not covered. You are advised to have any treatments completed before leaving home and it is strongly recommended that you take out additional cover.


I completed my PhD more than 5 years ago – am I eligible for the postdoctoral scholarship?

No – recipients must have successfully completed their PhD within the last 2-3 years (5 under extenuating circumstances, such as hiatus due to medical reasons, or family duties)

Must I return to Australia at the completion of my Fulbright program?

Yes. Fulbright Scholars must travel on a J-1 visa sponsored specifically by the Fulbright Commission. You and your J2 dependents are subject to Code of Federal Regulations rule 212(e), the two-year, home country residence requirement associated with the J visa. This is intended to ensure that Scholars fulfil the exchange nature of the program. During the two-year, home country residence requirement, you and your dependents are ineligible to apply for status in the United States as:

  • Permanent residents,
  • Temporary workers or trainees (visa status H),
  • Fiancé(e)s (visa status K), or
  • Intracompany transferees (visa status L).

The two years commences from the date of return to Australia.