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Fulbright Foreign Student Program

This program offers opportunities for graduate and Ph.D. students, young professionals and artists to study or conduct research at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions.

You can apply if you wish to go to the United States to pursue

  • a Master’s or Ph.D. degree;
  • non-degree coursework;
  • or Ph.D. research

Applications will be accepted in all fields, except medicine (not including Public Health or medical research), dentistry, and veterinary medicine. The Fulbright Program is not appropriate for students or visiting student researchers wishing to pursue programs/projects involving medical education or training. Their study or research must not involve clinical or direct patient/animal contact. This includes any required practicum components associated with the curriculum.
Candidates who represent the ethnic, gender, social, and geographic diversity of Switzerland are highly encouraged to apply. Also, candidates from universities of applied sciences and arts and candidates with a Bachelor's or Master's degree in business- or business-related topics are particularly welcome to apply.

Grant Details

  • The grants are four to ten months in length and not renewable.
  • In general, a grant for one academic year is about $20,000. However the final grant amount awarded per grantee depends on the number of finalists and on the availability of funds. The grants are to be used toward the cost of tuition and other academic expenses. For two-year master's programs and Ph.D. programs, the Fulbright grant is awarded for the first year of study and is not renewable.
  • Health and accident insurance coverage under the auspices of the Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges of max. USD 100.000 per incident
  • J-1 visa for exchange visitors (please note that J-1 visa holders in the "Professor/Research Scholar" category are subject to specific regulations, such as the 2-year home residency and a 24-month bar. During this period, it is possible to re-enter the U.S. on a tourist visa, but not on a "temporary working visa" or an "immigrant visa.")

Eligibility Criteria

  • 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 and Arts completed by summer 2025.
  • English proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) if your native language is not English OR if English wasn’t the primary language of instruction for your undergraduate degree (Please note: Some U.S. institutions are stricter with English proficiency testing and therefore may require a candidate to take the TOEFL, even if they have graduated from an English-speaking institution! Check the website of your preferred U.S. institutions for their English proficiency requirements.)

In the following cases, you are not eligible to apply:

  • You are currently studying at a Swiss university and have foreign citizenship.
  • 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 summer 2025.
  • You plan to start your U.S. studies earlier than the fall semester of 2025.
  • You have already obtained a Ph.D. degree, or are expecting to obtain a Ph.D. degree before fall 2025.
  • You intend to apply for a double degree program with a specific university in the U.S.
  • You have your own pre-arranged affiliation with a specific university in the U.S.
  • You intend to pursue studies as medical student or an internship or residency at a U.S. school of medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine.
  • You have already been admitted to a study program in the U.S. for the 2024-2025 academic year outside of the Fulbright program and you intend to defer your admission to 2025-2026. All Fulbright candidates must go through a university placement process for the 2025-2026 academic year and cannot choose the university to which they have been admitted in the 2024-2025 academic year (see “Placement at U.S. institutions”).
  • You are currently studying, researching, or lecturing at a U.S. university.
  • You are currently living or working in the United States.

If you have any questions or doubts about your eligibility, you can contact the Scholarship Service via email at

Application Process

Deadline for application: August 5, 2024 at midnight

The online application is available here.

Please review the following document carefully before completing the online application:

NOTE: Make sure to read the instructions before filling out the online form as they are specific to Switzerland.

A complete application consists of the following:

  • online application form including
    •  three letters of reference uploaded by the recommenders into the online application
    • copies of academic transcripts and diplomas/degrees written in English or with an original English translation from all post-secondary schools attended
  • hard copies of official (certified) academic transcripts accompanied by original English translations (when necessary) from all post-secondary schools attended, submitted directly from the higher education institution to swissuniversities in a sealed envelope

Your application is not considered complete until swissuniversities has received your electronically submitted online application and the hard copies of the official (certified) transcripts, sent by the higher education institution in a sealed envelope, on or before August 5, 2024.

If you have any questions or doubts about the application procedure or the application documents, you can contact the Scholarship Service via email at


A number of applicants will be invited for an interview in September 2024 with the Fulbright Selection Committee. The committee expects you to attend the interview at the U.S. Embassy in Bern in person. The pre-selection is based on the application materials, in which your personal statement, focusing not only on your academic goals, but also your support for the Fulbright ideals, and your study/research objectives play an important role.

Although the Fulbright grant allows you to list any universities in the U.S. on your application, we strongly urge you to consider a mix of small, large, public and private universities, not limited to specific geographic areas when listing your preferred universities. In the selection process, we will take this element of being open to other than highly selective universities, and willingness to cooperate with the Fulbright placement process and university recommendations, into account.

During the interview you will be asked to tell us more about your academic plans in the U.S., your interest in furthering mutual understanding, and the extra-curricular activities that you plan to do. During the interview you will also have the opportunity to tell more about yourself, to help the Committee get to know you.

Special preference will be given to candidates who show good academic performance, but who also have a sincere interest in getting to know the U.S. culture and values, and who do not have extensive recent experience of living and studying in the U.S. Strong candidates are often socially engaged in community service, volunteer activities and the like, and are ready to meet new people and engage in new experiences.

Candidates will be notified of the results of the interviews in September 2024.

Placement into U.S. Institutions

Once you have been selected as grantee, the application procedure for U.S. universities starts.

The Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, will give you full support in this. IIE will offer placement service for approximately 4-5 universities. You will work with IIE to create a well-balanced submission plan for the various educational institutes. IIE submits applications on your behalf as a "Fulbright candidate". IIE will follow-up with universities to obtain the most advantageous placements and financial aid. This means that IIE will negotiate (partial) tuition waivers or additional financial support with the U.S. institution. Application fees are also covered by IIE.

Once candidates have decided to accept an offer of admission, IIE forwards an acceptance or withdrawal to each university.

Further Guidance and Support

swissuniversities and the U.S. Embassy in Bern will organize an orientation meeting for the selected grantees to get to know each other and to discuss the timeline and procedures. An early summer pre-departure meeting will be organized to discuss all visa issues and further logistics.

swissuniversities will provide vouchers for TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT examinations after the selection for the Fulbright Program.

The U.S. Embassy will assist you with the application of your J1-visa* (exchange visitor). And swissuniversities will be available to answer any questions you may have in the meantime.

IIE will invite you to a special introduction program to get to know fellow Fulbrighters. You will also be able to participate in "enrichment seminars" with other Fulbrighters during your stay.

*Visa sponsorship: J1-visa (exchange visitor) requires grantees to return to their home country for at least 2 years after the completion of their studies before they can apply for a residence or work permit. The re-entry on a tourist or student visa is possible anytime.

Helpful Resources

Fulbright FAQs

Fulbright Online

Which tests should I take?
You do not need to have completed the exams by the August 5 application deadline, but you should plan to take the required exams no later than September/early October so that score reports can be received by the Institute of International Education (IIE) by mid-October 2024. Selected Fulbright candidates will receive TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT vouchers to pay for testing fees. Please note: Vouchers can only be used at the time when registering for a test or on test day (see Online Application Instructions, Appendix 1, page 3).

Disability accommodation resources
U.S. universities are responsible for making their courses, campus, activities and services accessible to people with disabilities. This includes physical access to college buildings, transportation, housing, and other facilities. Schools are also required to provide reasonable accommodations and services so students with disabilities can access their education. This includes classes, tests, and school-sponsored events and activities.