Fulbright Degree Program FAQs
About the Fulbright Scholarship
What is the Fulbright Program?
Fulbright is the flagship scholarship program of the U.S. Department of State. Fulbright Awards are offered in 160 countries in the world. Since 2005, Pakistan has had the largest Fulbright Program in the world due to generous funding from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan is also collaborating with Fulbright Program to fund 25 PhD scholarships each year for the next five years. These awards will be administered under Fulbright policies and regulations.
What is included in a Fulbright award?
The grant funds tuition, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, health insurance, visa fees, a computer and settling-in allowance. Fulbright awards enable grantees to live at the same standard as most American graduate students.
How many scholarships will be awarded?
In 2025, USEFP hopes to award 150 Fulbright scholarships.
Other than study toward a degree, what is expected from successful applicants?
One of the major goals of Fulbright programs is to promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. In addition to academic work, persons selected for Fulbright programs are expected to share information about their own country's life and culture with their colleagues and with community groups in the United States. On returning home, Fulbright grantees are expected to share their U.S. experiences with colleagues and community groups in their countries. All Pakistanis selected for Fulbright awards are obliged to return to Pakistan within 30 days of completing their programs and to serve a residency requirement (a minimum of two years).
Do I need to have completed a Bachelor's Degree to apply?
Yes, you need to have completed 16 years (4-year Bachelor's or two-year Bachelor's and two-year Masters) of education from an accredited university to apply for the Master's and 18 years for the PhD degree.
I want to apply for a PhD. Do I need to have completed a Master's or M.Phil. Degree?
Yes, you need to have a Master's or M.Phil. (a minimum 18 years of education) from an accredited university.
Can I apply for a Masters leading to PhD?
No. You cannot apply for Masters leading to PhD. You can apply for one degree only, either a Masters or PhD.
Which academic disciplines are eligible?
All disciplines are eligible except clinical medicine. People in the fields of energy, water, agriculture, health, education, environment, and climate change disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply.
Can I apply for an MBA?
Yes, you can apply for MBA if you have a Bachelor's degree (16 years of education). To apply for MBA, it is recommended that you have at least 2 years of work experience in your desired field.
I have an MBBS degree. Can I apply?
Yes, but not in clinical medicine or for a specialization. You can apply for research-focused fields, such as Public Health.
I'm a Chartered Accountant. Can I apply?
It has been brought to our attention that, as per the Notification F. No. 8(23)/A&A/2018/HEC/1664 dated December 14, 2018, Higher Education Commission (HEC) recognizes Final Examination Certificates awarded by Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan (ICMAP), Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan (ICAP) and Membership of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), U.K. as equivalent of Master of Commerce (M.Com.) degree involving 16-year of schooling in Pakistan. It is being notified that henceforth the Higher Education Commission (HEC) would not issue equivalence letter for above mentioned qualifications on individual basis.
I went on Global Undergraduate Semester Exchange (Global UGrad) Program. Can I apply?
Yes, you can apply if you fulfill the other requirements of this program. Your participation in the Global UGrad Program will not negatively affect your application.
I'll be completing my degree in 2024. Can I apply?
If you can provide the Final Transcript by the end of December 2024 then you are eligible to apply.
Is work experience required?
No, unless you are applying for Public Policy/Administration or an MBA.
Can I change my academic field?
Yes, as long as you are able to demonstrate adequate preparation for your new field and explain why are you changing fields.
I have a foreign Bachelor's degree. Can I apply?
Yes, unless your degree is from the U.S. within the past 5 years. Priority is given to applicants without foreign study experience.
I already have a four-year Bachelor's and a Master's degree; can I apply for the Master's scholarship?
Yes, but you will need to demonstrate why this second degree is necessary. Priority is given to people who have not yet had an opportunity to complete a degree abroad.
I have a Master's degree from a foreign university; how does this affect my eligibility?
For the Master's, priority is given to people who have not yet had an opportunity to complete a degree abroad. If you have a foreign Master's degree and are applying for the PhD, it will not affect your eligibility. If your degree is from the U.S. within the past 5 years, you are ineligible.
I have a disability and want to know if I should apply.
Yes. People with disabilities are encouraged to apply. U.S. universities are well equipped to handle students with hearing, visual or mobility impairment.
Required Standardized Examinations
Can I take the GRE after submitting my application?
No, you must have taken the GRE test before the application deadline. Ideally, you should have your test score report uploaded with the application. If you don't have your score report by the deadline you mention the unofficial scores and upload the proof of your registration with the application showing that you've already taken the exam before the deadline.
What is considered a good GRE score?
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for all applicants. Under the new scoring system, a minimum score of 145 is required on each section of the GRE examination, with a higher score on the section most applicable to your field of study.
- The GRE scores are required for placement at a U.S. university. However, different disciplines have different GRE score requirements. For examples, English literature will require a higher score in the verbal section and engineering fields will require a higher score in the quantitative.
- It is understood that students coming from private English-medium schools may have an advantage in the verbal portion of the GRE and such factors are taken into account in determining merit.
I'm in the humanities/arts and not good at math. How important is my quantitative GRE score?
Since you are in the humanities/arts your verbal score will be given more weightage but your overall GRE score does matter in making your application more competitive. Do not let fear of the quantitative portion of the exam stop you from applying. Many people with low scores have been successful. If the field in which you are applying does not require quantitative skills, you may mention that somewhere in your application.
I'm in engineering. How important is my verbal GRE score?
Since you are in engineering your quantitative score will be given more weightage but your overall GRE score does matter in making your application more competitive. It is understood and taken into account in assessing merit that people with private/English medium school backgrounds have an advantage.
Is the TOEFL also required with the application?
No, TOEFL is not mandatory with the application. The Duolingo Test of English will be required from all the shortlisted candidates.
Are there any other exam requirements?
Only the GRE and Duolingo Test of English are scholarship requirements. Even business applicants should plan to take the general GRE. If selected, they may be asked to take the GMAT. Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry applicants will be advised to take a GRE Subject Test after they are actually selected for the scholarship.
I was a good but not great student. Do I have a chance?
Yes, Fulbright is a merit-based program but merit is assessed by looking at the applicant in terms of what they have achieved given their circumstances and their potential to succeed. A good candidate will have a strong academic background, demonstrated commitment to his/her community, good English language skills, and an appropriate Graduate Record Examination (GRE General) score. There are no quotas. Applicants who do not have excellent grades need good GRE scores to demonstrate their potential for success. Applicants' other achievements, including community service, are taken into account.
I cannot easily afford the GRE cost; can USEFP help me?
Yes, if you study or teach at a public university and achieve an overall score of 290 in humanities and social science subjects or if you have achieved combined score of 300 in engineering and science subjects, attach a request for reimbursement of the GRE cost with your application. Up to 30 reimbursement requests will be honored on a first-come, first served basis so try to submit your application early.
Does everyone selected get a visa?
U.S. Embassy is responsible for issuing visas but USEFP will assist with the visa process. Almost all Fulbright grantees in the past have received visas.
If I'm selected, can I pick my university in the United States?
No, experienced placement professionals at the Institute for International Education (IIE) in New York match Fulbrighters with universities in the United States to best match the student's profile and program needs. Fulbrighters are studying at top universities all over the United States. If you have strong university preferences, please note those in the appropriate section of the application. If they make sense, IIE will make an effort to consider them.
Are dependents allowed?
Grantees with children can request to bring their dependents. However, they will need to demonstrate financial ability to support their dependents while they are in the United States, including childcare, if needed, and obtaining medical insurance. Please note that only spouses and children up to the age of 21 are considered dependents. Applicants should be prepared to complete grants without accompanying dependents, if need be.
How does the selection process work?
Selection process has four stages:
Round 1: All applications are screened for completeness and minimum qualifications.
Round 2: Complete applications that meet the minimum qualifications are evaluated according to a set of established criteria and shortlisted.
Round 3: In-person or virtual interviews of short-listed applicants take place between June and August. The interview panels are made up of both U.S. and Pakistani citizens.
Round 4: Final candidates and alternates are selected in September. Applicants who have become finalists or alternates will be notified by e-mail and official acceptance letter. Those who do not get selected are notified only by e-mail.
Final approval is given by the Foreign Scholarship Board in Washington, D.C.
How do I apply?
Read all of the application instructions carefully before beginning the application. Register for the GRE at https://www.usefp.org/testing-services/gre.cfm. Information about GRE test preparation is also available at https://www.usefp.org/testing-services/gre-preparation.cfm. There are many web resources available to guide you in writing your Statement of Purpose and Study Objectives. Contact our EducationUSA Advising Centers at email@example.com to get information about free weekly workshops on essay writing and fee-based test prep classes.
What is the deadline to apply?
Applications must be submitted online by February 28, 2024.
Does it cost anything to apply?
NO! Unscrupulous agents may try to sell application forms or take fees for filling them in. Applicants should fill in their own forms. Misrepresentation or plagiarism anywhere in the application can result in termination from the program.
Do I apply online and also send the application and documents in paper form?
No, you only need to apply online with all your required documents uploaded. Paper applications and documents will not be accepted.
Can my recommendation letters be submitted online?
Yes, the recommendation section in the online application has fields where you are required to fill in your referee's contact details so an auto-generated email is sent to your referee asking for recommendation letter submission. That email gives your referee's an option to submit the letter online or to send the paper copy through courier to our office address before the application submission deadline.
For online submission, your referee will receive the auto-generated confirmation email after submitting the letter. For paper copies, due to the high volume of documents received by our office, USEFP will not be responsible for sending individual confirmation to you or your referee.