How Fulbright Scholarships Work

Types of Fulbright Scholarships

For U.S applicants, there are three types of Fulbright Scholarships, each of which are typically awarded for one academic year. The first type is the Study/Research Grant. Recipients of this scholarship plan their own projects, which may include coursework, lab research or work in the creative or performing arts.

The second type of Fulbright Scholarship is the English Teaching Assistantship, or ETA. The primary focus of the ETA is to engage students in the classroom, and it doesn't require a significant research component. ETA participants typically work in schools where they can strengthen the students' language abilities and knowledge of the United States.

Finally, there are Travel-only Grants, which are available only in Italy, Hungary and Germany, and are designed to be used with other scholarships that may not provide for international travel. These can also be used to supplement a student's own contributions to a particular study or research project.

In addition to these three grant categories, there are also special study and academic focus areas in music and culture, critical languages, business, and journalism.

Up to four Fulbright/mtvU Awards are available for students interested in projects about the influence of popular music in a particular culture. For example, 2009-2010 winner Tina Wadhwa went to India to create a documentary on influence of Bollywood music on the youth of Mumbai [source: Fulbright mtvU].

The Critical Language Enhancement Award gives recipients the chance to receive language training in select countries. These awards are designed for three- or six-month periods and are used to supplement other study or research grants.

Fulbright Business Grants are available in Australia, Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain, and recipients study a broad scope of economic policies ranging from business and maritime law to the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Mexico.

Fulbright Journalism Grants are available in Germany, the United Kingdom and Taiwan, and they may come in the form of professional internships for recent graduates or graduate-level coursework in fields related to publishing, radio, TV and new media.

And because this is an exchange program, the Fulbright Foreign Student Program is the other key component. Nearly 2,000 foreign Fulbright scholars come to the United States each year for graduate-level or doctoral study, bringing cultural perspective to their campuses and gaining insight into American culture that they can take back to their home countries [source: IIE].

Now that we've discussed the types of grants available, let's explore eligibility requirements.