Fulbright Graduate Study Grants (All Disciplines)
The Bulgarian-American Commission for Educational Exchange “Fulbright” is the institution authorized to administer the program for U. S. Government supported grants to Bulgarian citizens for graduate study in the United States. 6 to 8 grants are awarded yearly in open competition supervised by binational selection committees.
Grants last up to one academic year (10 months) and are valid for all disciplines except clinical medicine and dentistry.
- Eligibility Requirements
- Applicants must have Bulgarian citizenship. Green card holders and persons with dual (Bulgarian and US) citizenship are ineligible.
- Applicants must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and be able to submit the official diploma by September 1, 2020.
- Evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL, GRE/GMAT scores).
- Applicants should be in sound health.
- Candidates already studying in the U.S. are ineligible for a Fulbright grant.
- Candidates who have resided in the United States for five or more consecutive years during the six-year period preceding the date of application are ineligible for a Fulbright grant.
- General Selection Criteria
General Selection Criteria
- Excellent academic record.
- High scores on the American standardized tests and other qualifying academic and professional experience.
- Adaptability and personal suitability.
- Applicants should be representative and responsible citizens who contribute to a full and fair picture of the culture and civilization of Bulgaria.
- Preference is given to applicants who have not had a prior opportunity for studying in the U.S.
All candidates will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, and sex.
- Selection Procedures
- Applications are subject to pre-screening.
- Evaluation of study projects is carried out by Fulbright alumni and leading Bulgarian and U.S. scholars in the respective fields.
- Candidates recommended by reviewers are invited for an interview conducted by a binational nomination committee.
Interviews of eligible candidates are conducted in person and take place during the first half of June. Date and time are fixed.
- Nominations are announced in early July.
- Nominees are subject to final approval by the Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB).
- Application (the web-based Fulbright Foreign Student application is located at https://apply.iie.org/FFSP2021
- Three letters of reference (can be submitted online by instructors, professors or work supervisors, or sent directly to the Fulbright Commission office);
- Academic transcripts/diplomas (certified translation into English of verified copies of original academic transcript and degree certificate – scanned and attached to the application);
- Valid results from American standardized tests: TOEFL (required for all candidates) and GRE (required in most fields of study with the exception of MBA and Law) or GMAT (required for MBA and business-related programs).
- All items should be translated into English.
- All supplementary documents should be submitted as scanned attachments in the online application form. Only reference letters that are not submitted electronically can be mailed to the Commission.
- Nominated candidates will have to submit a copy of the original academic transcript bearing all official legalization stamps to the Fulbright Commission.
- The Fulbright Commission will advise applicants to submit a medical history and examination report if and when necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What does the Fulbright graduate study grant cover?
A: The Fulbright graduate study grant offers up to USD 35,000 toward tuition fees and living expenses for one academic year (10 months). The Fulbright grant covers travel costs (round-trip) and includes a US Department of State health insurance plan for exchange visitors.
- Q: How many Fulbright awards are granted annually to Bulgarian graduate students?
A: Between 6 and 8 Fulbright graduate student awards are offered annually.
- Q: Do I have to be admitted to a US university in order to apply for a Fulbright grant?
A: No. Application for a Fulbright grant precedes application to US universities by one year. Candidates first apply to the Fulbright program. The Fulbright Commission and the Institute of International Education (IIE) arrange placements of grantees on the basis of their preferences, academic credentials, and Commission’s policies.
- Q: Is there an exclusive list of US universities the Fulbright program works with?
A: The Fulbright Commission works with a large number of accredited, high-ranking private and public universities in the U.S.
For information on US universities offering graduate programs, you can consult our useful resources section, esp. www.petersons.com/graduate-schools/grad-search-by-subject.aspx and grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools.
- Q: Do I have to complete the preferred institutions section in the online application form?
A: It is advisable to do so. Please rank your first three preferences, include 3 or 4 additional options in the space provided. When deciding which universities to include, study the relevant program descriptions and consider how closely they fit your academic, professional and research interests.
You can consult your choice with:
- Q: Do I have to submit separate applications if I want to apply for the core Fulbright graduate study grant and for the Thanks to Scandinavia grant?
A: No. Simply study the requirements for the Thanks to Scandinavia grant, and upload the required essay as an additional document.
- Q: Are TOEFL waivers possible?
A: No. The TOEFL test is required for ALL candidates in the graduate student category.
If you are unable to submit results by the application deadline, and you are nominated for an award, you will be provided with a test voucher and required to take the TOEFL exam.
Information on the TOEFL test and registration instructions can be found here: www.ets.org/toefl
- Q: What TOEFL (iBT) scores should I aim for?
A: No. For applicants in science and technology, scores above 81 points are desirable. For applicants in law and the humanities, business administration, and economics, scores above 101 points are considered an excellent result.
- Q: Do I need the GRE/GMAT test?
A: Only applicants in the field of law and non-degree doctoral researchers are exempt from taking GRE or GMAT. Applicants in all other disciplines are expected to submit satisfactory GRE or GMAT results. Presenting test scores prior to the competition deadline is a major advantage.
Information on the GRE test and registration instructions can be found here: www.ets.org/gre
Information on the GMAT test and registration instructions can be found here: www.mba.com
- Q: What GRE/GMAT scores should I aim for?
A: GRE is required for pursuing Masters and PhD programs in all disciplines, except law and business*. High scores in the quantitative section (above 700 or 155 on the new GRE score scale) are important for successful applications in science and technology; high scores in the verbal section (above 600 or 160 on the new GRE score scale) are important for successful applications in the humanities. Applicants in arts and music are not required to score as high on the GRE test.
GMAT is a test required for applicants in business*. GMAT scores over 600 are essential for applications to A grade schools.
*A growing number of schools accept both GMAT and GRE tests for business disciplines. Please consult the website of your preferred programs to confirm the admission requirements.
- Q: I am not able to be present at the interview. May I be interviewed via telephone or Skype?
A: No. Interviews of eligible candidates are conducted in person and take place during the first half of June. Date and time are fixed.
- Q: What type of visa is required for the Fulbright program
A: Fulbright grantees are issued J-1 visas for exchange visitors; their dependents travel on J-2 visas. All grantees are expected to return to their home countries for at least two years at the conclusion of their grant, in compliance with J-visa requirements.
- Q: How do I register referees?A: In the online form you will find a section “references” in the top left corner of the menu bar. Please select this section. In “register referees” please enter the e-mail addresses of your three referees and click submit. This will send electronic invitations with links to the online confidential recommendation forms to the e-mail addresses of your referees. Please make sure in advance that they agree to complete your reference. (In the rare case they do not speak English, they can upload both the Bulgarian version of the recommendation and an English translation into the electronic portal.) Your references will become accessible for review after you have submitted your entire online application.
- Q: How do I submit supplemental forms?A: We recommend that all supplemental forms should be scanned and uploaded as PDF files into an “Additional Information” section of the online portal. It is not necessary to send hard copies of the supplemental forms by the deadline. If necessary, the Commission will request the hard copies later on in the application process.
For more information please contact:
The Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission
12, Vitosha Blvd., Sofia 1000
Program Officer, Bulgarian Grantees
Visiting hours: Monday-Friday, 2:00–4:00 PM
Visiting hours: Monday-Friday, 2:00–4:00 PM