Grants for Graduate Students

MA and PhD grants for Bulgarian citizens

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Bulgarian citizens


Bachelor's Degree required


Grant for one academic year (10 months)


4 scholarships each year


Application deadline 10 May 2024

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. Four grants are awarded yearly in open competition supervised by binational selection committees. The academic graduate study grants are valid for all disciplines except clinical medicine and dentistry, and for all accredited American universities on the territory of the US. The application for the Fulbright grant precedes the application to US institutions by one year. The current competition is for Academic year 2025-26. The Fulbright Commission and the Institute of International Education (NY) assist and guide the application process to US universities for the nominated grantees.  

The financial package of the program includes a grant in the amount of up to $ 60 000, free vouchers for the required US standardized tests, free J-1 visa, free health insurance with coverage up to $ 100 000, and free round-trip flight ticket to the US.  

All applicants are selected via an annual competition with a submission deadline in May. Interviews with the selected candidates are held online in June, as each candidate is informed of the date and time of their interview 


Bulgarian citizenship, excellent English language skills

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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, 2024.
Evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL, GRE/GMAT scores) is an advantage, however is not compulsory.

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.



Application form, three letters of recommendation, degrees, qualifications

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  • Application (the web-based Fulbright Foreign Student application is located at
  • Three letters of reference (can be submitted online by instructors, professors or work supervisors;
  • 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 are an advantage: 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). Candidates, who have been nominated without valid test scores will receive free test vouchers for the relevant exams.
  • Answers to application-related questions can be found here.


The assessment is carried out by prominent specialists in the respective fields. 

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  • Excellent academic record.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Application deadline: 10 May 2024

Interview dates are fixed and there is no option for rescheduling.

Why should you apply


You get funding for you tuition


Qualification opportunities from an elite US university


Educational and cultural exchange


Networking opportunities with top experts in your area of expertise


Excellent career prospects

MA programs in the U.S.

Fulbright in partnership with the University of Miami

Thanks to Scandinavia

2 grants per year

Thanks to Scandinavia

The grant is awarded for one academic year.

Fulbright in partnership with the University of Miami

MBA from the University of Oklahoma

Master of Business Administration

The grant is awarded for a year and a half.

Fulbright in partnership with the University of Miami

MA in the USA in Law

From Fordham University, New York

Grant for Law students

The grant covers 40% of the tuition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Fulbright graduate study grant cover?

The Fulbright graduate study grant offers up to USD 60,000 toward tuition fees and living expenses for the duration of the program. The Fulbright grant covers travel costs (round-trip) and includes a US Department of State health insurance plan for exchange visitors.

How many Fulbright awards are granted annually to Bulgarian graduate students?

Up to 5 Fulbright graduate student awards are offered annually.

Do I have to be admitted to a US university in order to apply for a Fulbright grant?

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.

Is there an exclusive list of US universities the Fulbright program works with?

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. and

Do I have to complete the preferred institutions section in the online application form?

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:

Program Officer Maria Kostova, e-mail: , Tel. 0879 164 095, 5th floor, visiting hours: Monday-Friday, 2:00–4:00 PM

Do I have to submit separate applications if I want to apply for the core Fulbright graduate study grant and for "Thanks to Scandinavia" grant?

No. In the Fulbright application simply mention that you are interested in the Thanks to Scandinavia grant.

Are TOEFL waivers possible?

The TOEFL test is expected from all candidates in the graduate student category. However, candidates who graduated from a degree program taught in the English language could be considered for waiver. 

If you are unable to submit test 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: 

What TOEFL iBT scores should I aim for?

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.

Do I need the GRE / GMAT test?

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:

Information on the GMAT test and registration instructions can be found here:

What GRE / GMAT score should I aim for?

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.

I am not able to be present at the interview. May I be interviewed via telephone or Zoom?

Yes. Applicants will receive personalized instructions about the format of the interview.

What type of visa is required for the Fulbright Program?

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.

How do I register referees?

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.

How do I submit supplemental forms?

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.

Maria Kostova

Maria Kostova

Program Coordinator, Bulgarian Grantees

Other Fulbright Grants


Scholars and researchers

Five grants are available every year. Application deadline by December.


Business Administration

Funding for a period of 2 academic years. No prior business knowledge required. 


Non-profit members

Grant for 3-5 months for research activities on matters related to civil society. 


Non-degree research grant

For young researchers in advanced stages of their PhD studies to work in elite universities and institutes in the USA. 


Thanks to Scandinavia

The award is presented by Thanks To Scandinavia Foundation to express gratitude to Bulgaria for saving the Bulgarian Jews during World War II.

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