Fulbright Postgraduate Scholarships to the USA

Interested in studying for a master's degree or PhD in the USA? You’re not alone: every year, thousands of students from the UK choose the USA for their graduate studies.

Aimed at anyone looking to pursue a master’s or PhD in the USA, our  Fulbright Postgraduate scholarships, known as 'Fulbright Awards' provide the only scholarships for academic work in any graduate programme at any accredited US university.

The All Disciplines Award can be applied to any master's or doctoral degree at any accredited US university, as well as for independent research projects. We also offer several Awards partnered with US universities and professional or charitable bodies who are looking for Fulbrighters interested in specific academic disciplines.

All Postgraduate Awards offer:

  • Generous financial packages and fully funded awards
  • Sickness and accident coverage
  • J-1 visa sponsorship and pre-departure support & orientation
  • Visit UK cultural sites and areas of scenic beauty
  • Support in the USA from the Institute of International Education (IIE)
  • Access to a global alumni network of collaborative engagement and cultural diplomacy, with over 300,000 academically and professionally accomplished members

Please note, applications for academic year 2024-25 are now closed, applications for 2025-26 will open in February 2024.

To be eligible to apply for a Fulbright Award, applicants must:

1. Be a UK citizen

Applications from non-UK citizens based in the UK and committed to a life and career in the UK may also be considered. You will be required to follow these steps: 

  • Contact the Fulbright Commission/post in your home country to check if you are eligible to apply through them. You can submit an application to us only if your home Commission/post do not accept your application due to your residency in the UK. You will need to obtain a written confirmation (e.g., an e-mail) and upload it as part of your application to the US-UK Fulbright Commission.  
  • In addition to your passport copy, please provide evidence of your legal status in the UK (e.g., settled/pre-settled status, Indefinite Leave to Remain). Please note that we are unable to accept applications from non-UK citizens on a student visa.  
  • All non-UK nationals meeting the above criteria will be expected to demonstrate commitment to returning to the UK after their proposed academic study in the US. Please note that this will be assessed at the application review stage by reading panellists.
  • Dual US-UK citizens, US Green Card holders, or individuals who are resident in the US at the time of application are ineligible to apply.
  • We welcome candidates from British Overseas Territories.

2. Hold or expect to attain an undergraduate degree with at least a 2:1 overall undergraduate result

  • We may accept applications from individuals with a 2:2 overall result in some exceptional cases. If you have obtained a 2:2, in order to be considered, you must submit a form providing an explanation as to why you did not obtain a 2:1 and why you believe you would be a competitive applicant to the Fulbright programme. We will evaluate these applications separately and on a case-by-case basis will determine if the application will be included in the competition.

The US-UK Fulbright programme aims to foster cultural understanding between our two countries. Preference is therefore given to applicants who do not have extensive experience (six months or longer) in the USA. Applicants with extensive US experience should explain in detail how further experience in the USA will fulfil the Fulbright mission in ways that their prior visits did not.

Postgraduate Awards to the USA

Placement types

You can choose between two placement types for our Fulbright Postgraduate Awards - the IIE placement model, or the Independent Placement Model

IIE Placement Model

The Institute of International Education (IIE) will provide you with expert, personalised guidance to find the academic fit for you on your Fulbright Award to the US.

With this placement model, you can apply for a Fulbright Award without having to choose which US university to apply to. Instead, the IIE will help you find the right institution for you, providing you with a set of expertly sourced best-fit options, and support you during the application and submission process.

You can find out more about the IIE placement model by watching this webinar.

IIE Placement Model FAQ's

By choosing IIE Placement, you will be in a stronger position to find a university that is the right academic and personal fit.

  • IIE Placement staff members are field of study experts
  • The IIE’s approach is individualised
  • IIE has a strong track record of securing admissions and cost-sharing

IIE will help successful candidates choose a host university, and you won’t have to complete applications for your chosen US institutions – they will review your Fulbright application. Your Advisor will recommend up to five programmes depending on your level of study.

The IIE will also place you in a better position to negotiate financial packages with your host university, to help you manage the cost of your education. The IIE will handle financial package negotiations on your behalf and will cover the cost of your admission and test fees. 

Successful candidates will be paired with IIE Advisors in early autumn, after the Fulbright Commission finalise the selection process. 

The Fulbright Opportunity Fund will be available to selected candidates for the IIE Placement. This fund is designed to provide financial support for students who are selected to receive a Fulbright Award, but who cannot afford to fully fund their US study after exhausting all options to find funding. Find out more about the Fulbright Opportunity Fund.

Yes, you can apply for an All Disciplines Award with this model. Visit our how to apply page for details on the application process.

You cannot apply for an institution-specific Partner Award through IIE Placement. However, if the Partner Award is not specific to a particular US institution, then you can apply through IIE Placement. Please review each Partner Award page for details on whether the Award can be applied for through IIE Placement.

In your online application, you must select the award you are applying for. Your Award selection will indicate whether the Award is IIE Placement or Independent Placement.

Visit our how to apply section for details on the application process.

N.B. Please note If you choose the IIE placement option and then decide to go to an institution which is not suggested by the IIE, you will no longer be able to participate in the Fulbright programme.

Independent Placement Model

If you have a specific institution – or several institutions – that you wish to apply to on your own, then Independent Placement is the model for you.

Choosing the right university for you requires plenty of research. The selection committees and interview panels will be looking for clear reasons for your US university preference. We expect candidates to conduct a thorough university search and to identify institutions that are a strong fit for their academic, personal and professional goals. 

When choosing the US universities to apply to, applicants are encouraged to be open-minded and flexible, and consider the many excellent universities throughout the US. For more guidance on choosing a US institution, review our EducationUSA advice pages.

Please note that the Fulbright Opportunity Fund will not be available to selected candidates for Independent Placement. The Fulbright Opportunity Fund is only available to selected candidates for IIE Placement.

Independent Placement Model FAQ's

Yes, you can apply for an All Disciplines Award with this model.

You can apply for any Partner Award through the Independent Placement. 

In your online application, you must select the award you are applying for. Your Award selection will indicate whether the Award is IIE Placement or Independent Placement.

How to apply

Postgraduate Awards application instructions

What we're looking for

We are looking for applicants who can engage with the USA in an atmosphere of openness, academic integrity and intellectual freedom, thereby promoting mutual understanding. 

Academic excellence is important, but we are looking for more than that. The best applications are from well-rounded students who can demonstrate: 

  • Strong academic proposals and/or research projects 
  • Ambassadorial skills 
  • Intercultural sensitivity  
  • Genuine desire to learn more about the USA and to share aspects of British culture 
  • Extracurricular activities 
  • Community involvement 
  • Leadership potential 
  • Plans to further the Fulbright mission and give back to the UK upon returning

Choosing an Award

There are a number of postgraduate awards available each year, applicants can only apply for one award at a time so be sure to check the description of each to make sure you’re applying for the Award that best suits your interests and discipline.


Application instructions

1. Review the UK-specific application information: 

2. Complete an online application - Please note, applications for academic year 2024-25 are now closed.

3. Complete the separate online US-UK Fulbright Commission Supplemental Form. You can access the form here. The link is also available in the Application Instructions.

This is a required part of the application for all applicants, and your application will be considered incomplete without it.

3a. If you are submitting an application with a 2:2 undergraduate result, you must additionally complete the 2:2 Undergraduate Result Form. The link is also available in the Application Instructions.

We may accept applications from individuals with a 2:2 overall result in some exceptional cases. We will evaluate these applications separately and on a case by case basis will determine if the application will be included in the competition.

4. You must make a separate application to your chosen US institution(s), the timeline and deadlines for which will vary from the Fulbright application unless you select the IIE placement track. In this case you will work with an IIE Advisor should you be successful at the interview stage.

If you have chosen the self-placed track, University and graduate programme application guidance is available from our EducationUSA advising centre. You do not need to have applied to a US university before submitting your Fulbright application, but must receive an offer of admissions from the institution(s) nominated in your proposal to receive your Fulbright grant if successful. 

Application process

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a panel interview which will take place in August on Zoom. 

All applicants for academic year 2024/25 will be informed of their application outcome by early September 2023. The Fulbright Commission cannot comment or provide feedback on individual applications. 

UK Postgraduates Application Timeline

Please note that candidates who are not using the IIE Placement Model will need to make their own independent applications to US institutions. 

For academic year 2025-26

Early February 2024

Applications open

May 2024

Deadline for applications. Please note that we do not consider late applications. All applications have to be submitted online, and we do not accept applications via e-mail.

May-July 2024

Initial screening and review of applications are done by review panels. You should not expect to hear from the Commission during this time, and staff will be unable to comment on the process or an individual application’s status.   

Early/Mid-August 2024

If shortlisted, successful candidates must be available for interview.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to be available for an interview on the date and at the time allocated and to cover associated costs. We have a tight schedule and are therefore unable to reschedule interviews. Candidates who have not been selected for interview will be notified via e-mail by the end of August 2024. Please check your spam folder for the message. 

Early September 2024

All candidates will be notified of the interview outcome.

From late September 2024 onwards

Selected grantees on the IIE placement track will be paired and will start working with IIE Advisors.

March-July 2025

Fulbright and J-1 visa paperwork. 

From late July 2025 onwards

Independent departures, your Fulbright exchange begins. In exceptional cases, earlier departures may be permitted if no alternative grant dates can be arranged.

Connect with Fulbright Alumni

Would you like to connect with one of our past Fulbrighters to find out more about the Fulbright Awards? Chat to one of our alumni to hear about their experiences, and to discover tips and advice for applying. 

Ask our alumni

Fulbright Opportunity Fund

As part of our commitment to increasing participation of under-represented groups and continuing fair access, we welcome applications to the Fulbright Opportunity Fund. 

The US-UK Fulbright Commission is committed to widening access to the UK Fulbright Programme. We do this by maintaining equitable application and selection processes and providing the opportunity -- for students who otherwise could not afford to participate in the programme -- to apply for additional financial support since we recognise that the cost of taking up a US Education, even with a Fulbright Award, is a barrier for many UK students. 

The Fulbright Opportunity Fund was launched in the 2020-21 application cycle. This fund is designed to provide financial support for students who are selected to receive a Fulbright Award, but who cannot afford to fully fund their US study after exhausting all options to find funding. In 2022 we also introduced the IIE Placement model, placing successful Awardees in a better position to negotiate financial packages with their host university, as well as finding an institution that is the right personal fit. Both of these new offerings help Awardees manage the cost of a US education. 

We encourage students of all backgrounds to apply for Fulbright Awards. The Opportunity Fund exists to help students overcome the financial barriers which might prevent them from taking up an Award.

If you have any questions, please email programmes@fulbright.org.uk. 

Opportunity Fund FAQ's

To be eligible to apply for the Fulbright Opportunity Fund, you must: 

- Have been awarded a Fulbright scholarship in the current application cycle 

- Have selected IIE Placement track 

- Provide evidence of specific financial need 

- Provide evidence that you have applied to other external funding bodies

The Fulbright Opportunity Fund is available in the event that Fulbright Award recipients are unable to take up their Fulbright opportunity due to financial challenges. 

We expect students to exhaust all other options for funding before applying for the Fulbright Opportunity Fund, such as making applications to external funding bodies. In addition to the Opportunity Fund, we have introduced several support mechanisms to help students find financial resources that will enhance their Fulbright scholarship. 

The final decision to award Opportunity Fund funding rests with the Fulbright Opportunity Fund Committee. 

Webinars and videos

See below for two webinar recordings on applying for a Fulbright Postgraduate Award, which focus on our Partner Awards and on what we look for when reviewing applications.

Fulbright Awards UK Webinar 2021: Postgraduate Partner Awards

Submitting your Postgraduate Award Application

Hear more about the experiences of some of our recent UK Fulbright grantees and alumni as they navigate the application process and life in the USA.