Fulbright Foreign Student Program
Partial grants of up to $20,000 each, to be used toward the cost of tuition and other academic expenses. Grants are four to ten months in length, and are not renewable.
- General Fulbright Grants
Six to eight grants to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. degree; non‐degree coursework; or Ph.D. research at any recognized U.S. institution of higher education. Exceptions: Applications for studies in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, and clinical psychology are ineligible; however, the Master’s degree in Public Health is eligible.
- Fulbright-Novartis Grant
One grant to pursue a Master’s degree at any recognized U.S. institution of higher education in a field of life sciences (e.g., research and education in tools, technologies, materials, and services; drugs and therapies; diagnostics; health care; medical devices and technology).
- Fulbringt-Syngenta Grant
One grant to pursue a Master’s degree at any recognized U.S. institution of higher education in the fields of environmental sciences, food security, biodiversity, or rural economics.
Please note: Application requirements for all three types of Fulbright student grants are identical. Students applying for either the Fulbright‐Novartis or Fulbright‐Syngenta grant must complete a general Fulbright application.
- Swiss citizenship (If you hold another citizenship you must contact the Fulbright Commission or U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section in your citizenship country.)
- Undergraduate degree from a University or University of Applied Sciences completed by fall 2016
- English proficiency with a TOEFL Internet‐based iBT score of 100 or higher
In the following cases, you are not eligible to apply:
- You hold dual citizenship with the United States, are a resident of the United States, or hold a “green card.”
- You will not have completed a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) by fall 2016.
- You plan to start your U.S. studies earlier than the fall semester of 2017.
- You have already obtained a Ph.D. degree, or are expecting to obtain a Ph.D. degree before fall 2017.
- You intend to pursue an internship, residency, or research at a U.S. school of medicine or dentistry.
- You are currently studying, researching, or lecturing at a U.S. university.
- You are currently living or working in the United States.
Placement procedures at U.S. institutions
Admission to well‐known U.S. universities is highly selective and fairly complicated. The Institute of International Education (IIE) administers the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and offers a placement service for approximately 3‐5 universities to those candidates selected for a grant. IIE’s University Placement Services Division works with the candidates through swissuniversities to create a well‐balanced submission plan, and candidates are expected to be open to a range of appropriate placements. IIE submits applications on behalf of the candidates and follows‐up with universities to obtain the most advantageous placements and financial aid. Once candidates have decided to accept an offer of admission, IIE forwards an acceptance or withdrawal to each university.
In order to be considered for the first application round, candidates have to complete in a first step a pre-application form and send it together with a CV to fulbright(at)swissuniversities.ch. Eligible candidates will then be registered for the pre-selection and receive the application documents in due course.
It is possible to indicate at least three universities of your choice in the registration form for the pre-selection. In this case it should be verified with these universities whether they have departments offering the academic program leading to the desired degree. Candidates wishing to apply as a visiting Ph.D. student researcher are strongly recommended to get in touch with several departments that best suit their research needs and check to make sure they can be accepted. In both cases, copies of correspondence for this purpose must be attached to the application for final selection. Please note, however, that the formal application to U.S. universities will be made by IIE, not the student.
Pre-selected candidates will afterwards be invited to apply for the final selection.
Please be aware that the application procedure for the final selection is time-consuming!
Copies of diplomas and transcripts must be official and certified and accompanied by certified English translations (if necessary). Transcripts issued directly by the university will be considered official. Paper copies of transcripts will only be accepted with an official stamp from the university. Copies of transcripts certified or notarized by a third party (i.e. public notary) will not be accepted as official.
Letters of Reference
Each candidate must have submitted three letters of reference (or recommendation) on his/her behalf. All letters of reference should be written by teachers under whom he/she has studied or pursued research or by someone who has supervised the candidate in work related to his/her proposed field of study. At least one academic and one professional or work related letter should be included among the letters.
The application form in a web-based online format and the supporting documentation for the final selection is available at http://foreign.fulbrightonline.org/fulbrightpage.html.
The application form provides space for the candidate to describe his/her study/research objectives. This information is extremely important. Each applicant should be specific in describing his/her major field and specialized interests within. The candidate's description of precisely what he/she wishes to study/research determines the university programs to which IIE submits his/her application. The study plan should focus clearly on a single major field and be detailed and complete and as concise as possible. Not every applicant will need to use all the space.
Candidates applying for non-degree admission or for a visiting researcher affiliation (mentored pre-doctoral research-only program) should be especially clear about their study/research objectives and what they hope to accomplish in the United States, as non-degree admission policies or visiting researcher affiliation vary considerably from university to university and often from one department to another within the same institution. Access to course work, faculty time, and university facilities may be defined differently in individual cases and priority may be given to degree candidates. A clear statement from the applicants for these academic objectives is especially important, enabling IIE to identify programs that will provide these students with the opportunity to fulfill their specific goals.
A personal statement is also part of the online application. The Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a narrative statement in which the applicant can include information about his/her education, practical experience, special interests, career plans, and his/her purpose in applying for study in the U.S. The following link to a document prepared by the University of California, Berkeley might help guide you to write your essay: http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/state_purpose.shtml.
Applicants for Doctoral Studies
It is possible to apply for the following study/research objectives:
- «Non-degree» for coursework study
- «Visiting Researcher» for a mentored pre-doctoral research-only program
- «Doctorate» to complete a Ph.D. degree in the USA
Candidates should NOT indicate Ph.D. if they want to do U.S. coursework at that level or if research will be applied towards completion of a doctoral degree in Switzerland. However, applicants should clearly demonstrate the use of the credits they obtain towards the completion of the degree. For those who intend to obtain a Ph.D. degree in the USA, it is important to make sure that the previous studies in Switzerland will fit the Ph.D. program of the preferred university.
Although admission to doctoral study in the U.S. is very competitive – in all fields and at all programs – strong candidates who are seen as a good fit with the research taking place in the program are often offered financial assistance as part of the offer of admission to encourage them to accept. More cost-sharing is available at the doctoral level and most Fulbright Ph.D. students from countries that offer partially-funded grants have a significantly lower balance of costs to cover from personal and other sources than Master’s students, particularly if the student is flexible about the U.S. institution.
Please note that the Fulbright Foreign Student Program is understood to be for pre-doctoral students. Therefore, researchers who will conduct full-time advanced research at the post-doctoral level must apply for a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program grant.
Applicants for Art Studies
Programs in the Arts are extremely competitive and have rigorous and detailed application requirements, as well as very early application deadlines. Art applicants should visit the websites of the schools that they are interested in and read the guidelines for the applications thoroughly. This will give students an idea of the kinds of materials that will be required. Candidates will also be able to see if there is any overlap in requirements from school to school. Art applicants are advised to start compiling their materials early enough to be prepared to submit their portfolios as soon as possible, should they be selected as a Fulbright grantee.
Standardized Tests (TOEFL, GRE, GMAT)
It is a standard admission requirement of U.S. institutions for international applicants to provide a TOEFL score. Schools will not accept applicants officially without the TOEFL score. You might also be required to take one of the following standardized tests to obtain admission to a U.S. university: GRE revised General Test, GRE Subject Test or GMAT. For further information on standardized tests please visit http://www.ets.org and http://www.mba.com.
An institution code list is available during online registration. Candidates must select their score recipients (designated institutions to receive their scores) during registration. They cannot select their score recipients at the test center.
To avoid any delays during the submission and placement process, due to missing score reports, Fulbright candidates must designate Institute of International Education’s (IIE) institution code when taking the exams. Most universities will not review the candidates’ applications for admission until they are in receipt of the official copies of the score reports. Therefore, candidates are required to designate the following institution code when taking the exam:
For all TOEFL and GRE exams: code 2326
For the GMAT: code F0F 4J 28
Test Scores Availability:
TOEFL and GRE exams are not required for the Fulbright final selection. However, if you are selected you will have to take the TOEFL and depending on your field of study, either the GRE and GRE Subject Test (required for the following fields: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology) or the GMAT (MBA and business-related programs). Grantees in law only need to take the TOEFL.
Ideally, students seeking admission for the term beginning in August or September 2016 should sit for the TOEFL exam during summer 2016 so that score reports are available in August 2016. You will then have an assessment of your English language ability and will have time to prepare further and retake the exam in October if necessary. At the graduate level, many programs have December application deadline for the following academic year.
GRE Subject Tests are administered in October and November of each year. Candidates in MBA and business-related programs should plan to sit for the GMAT exam in October 2016.
Resources for Exam Preparation:
Test scores are an increasingly critical factor in admissions decisions, and candidates should take test preparation very seriously. A number of programs will not review applications until all scores are received. The IIE encourages applicants to prepare at least one to two months ahead of all exams. Below are a few resources, both for free and for a fee: