Non-Degree Research Programs


Grants for full-time and part-time PhD students last for 6 months and are valid for all disciplines except clinical medicine and dentistry.

Join our free webinars for an overview and updates about this grant. 


Bulgarian citizens


Doctoral students


English proficiency


Scholarship for 6 months


3-4 grants per year

Non-Degree Research Programs for Doctoral Students

Fulbright Bulgaria gives the opportunity to young researchers in advanced stages of their PhD studies to work in elite universities and institutes in the USA. Candidates from all areas of studies are eligible except clinical medicine and dentistry. The program covers 6 months of funding. Two or three grants are supported each year.

The candidates are selected at an annual selection procedure which is announced every academic year. The application deadline is December of the following year. All interviews with the short-listed candidates are held in the middle of December and each of them is personally informed in advance about the date and time of the interview.

Eligibility Requirements

Bulgarian citizenship, evidence for enrollment in a PhD program, English language proficiency

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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 enrolled in a full-time or part-time Ph.D. program.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (TOEFL).
  • 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

Application form, three references, diplomas and PhD enrollment

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  • Academic credentials, a minimum iBT TOEFL score of 81 p.
  • Significance and feasibility of the proposed research.
  • Necessity to undertake the project in the US.
  • Plans for popularizing the research findings.
  • 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

The evaluation is carried out by leading specialists in the respective fields

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  • 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.

Prospective Fulbright participants should be aware that public health conditions, availability of consular services and travel, as well as U.S. institutional operating status and policies may affect their ability to travel to the U.S. and participate in academic programs.

Deadline for submitting applications for the academic 2024-25: December 5, 2023

The interview dates are fixed and are not subject to changes or additional options.

Why should you apply


You get funding for your tuition


Qualification opportunities from an elite US university


Educational and cultural exchange


Networking opportunities with top experts in your field of expertise


Excellent career prospects

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Fulbright Visiting Researcher grant cover?

The Grant covers mounthly maintenance according to Institute of International Education estimates for the respective destination. The grant duration is 6 months. The Fulbright Commission covers travel expenses (return flight) and provides health insurance.

How many visiting researcher grants are offered annually?

3-4 grants per year, depending on the budget.

What is my status?

The grantees in this program have the status of “Visting Researchers”. This means that they are not eligible to enroll in courses at their host institutions but can use the libraries and other informational resources, visit open lectures, and especially, work in cooperation with their US academic supervisor.  

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

How do I receive an invitation from a US university and what should it include?

Write to your US counterparts with a proposition to host you as a Visiting Researcher for the grant period. It is important to emphasize that you are not looking for any funding on the part of the host institution, as you will be financed by your Fulbright grant. It is a good idea to approach US researchers, working in fields closely corresponding to your own research interests.


The invitation letter should be issued by a department or faculty with official letterhead. It should confirm the US university agrees:

  • to host the doctoral researcher for the grant period (start and end date quoted)
  • to provide access to libraries and sources of information
  • to designate an academic supervisor
Is a language test required?

Yes. The level of proficiency is certified by the TOEFL test. It is advisable that the score be above 81 pt. (The test can be submitted after nominations announcement; free vouchers will be available for nominees.) TOEFL submission deadline is December 30, 2022.

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.

Maria Kostova

Maria Kostova

Program coordinator for scholarship holders from Bulgaria

Other Grants and Scholarships


Scholars and researchers

Five grants are supported every year. Application deadline in December. 


Graduate students (MA and PhD)

Funding for one academic year with assisted application. Application deadline: May.


NGO representatives

3-5-month grant for research activities on matters related to civil society. 



Grants for mid-career professional on managerial or expert positions. Application deadline: September.


Grant for mathematicians

This grant is available for scholars in the field of Mathematics who acquired their PhD no longer than 10 years ago. 

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