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2016 DePaul Fulbright Winner Margo Steinhaus
Margo Steinhaus (International Studies) is one of four DePaul Fulbright winners in 2016. 

The Fulbright is a wonderful opportunity to gain overseas experience, as well as foreign language and research skills.  It is among the most prestigious fellowships that a student can receive.  There are several Fulbright programs to which you can apply, but in general Fulbright grants provide funding for round-trip airfare, living expenses for 8-10 months, health insurance, and sometimes tuition costs.  Depending on the program, Fulbright grants are for the purposes of studying/ conducting research or teaching English.  The program covers more than 140 countries.  You can apply as an undergraduate, but you must have graduated by the time the grant starts. Alumni of DePaul are welcome to apply.

Types of Grants

The US Student Program offers several types of grants and your should review the Fulbright website closely to select the program that best matches your interests and experience.  However, most DePaul students choose between two main types of grants--the Study/Research program and the English Teaching Assistantship Program.

  • Study/Research Grants: Applicants for the Study/Research Grant plan their own programs. Projects usually include some combination of university coursework, independent research or creative project, language study, and community engagement. In general, graduating seniors are encouraged to design a program of study that includes both coursework and research, rather than a stand-alone research project.
  • English Teaching Assistantships (ETA): The ETA award differ from Study/Research grants in that its primary purpose is to engage students in the classroom and, therefore, elaborate study/research projects are not required. ETAs may, however, propose small research projects or community engagement activities that complement their ETA fellowship and fulfills the purpose of the Fulbright program—promoting mutual understanding.

Students applying to either of the above programs may be eligible for a Critical Language Enhancement Award (CLEA), which provides three to six months of intensive language study as an enhancement to the Fulbright grant.  CLEAs are limited to certain countries and languages.

In addition to the traditional programs described above, Fulbright also offers specialized scholarships such as the National Geographic Digitial Storytelling Scholarship, Fulbright mtvU Awards, and the Clinton Fellowship. These program have different deadlines.  In some cases, applying for the traditional program precludes applying to the specialized one.  For instance, one cannot apply to the traditional Fulbright program and National Geographic program in the same year.

Eligibility Requirements

  • US citizen at the time of application
  • Bachelor's degree by the beginning date of the grant. Applicants may not hold a doctoral degree at the time of application.
  • Preference given to applicants whose higher education was received primarily at a U.S. Institution. Undergraduate study abroad is not considered disqualifying.
  • Sufficient language proficiency to carry out the proposed project
  • Good health

In addition to the general eligibility requirements, there are many specifications made for individual countries. Please see the eligibility section of the Fulbright website for details.

Selection Criteria

The primary aim of the US Student Fulbright program is cultural exchange that promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries.  This overarching goal influences the core selection criteria, which are:

  • Feasibility.   Is the research project that you designed feasible?  Can you carry out your academic project in the grant period?  Do you have the necessary qualifications and experience, connections in the host, and institutional support?
  • Fit. How does the Fulbright year fit into your career plans?  Is there a clear connection between your past experience, proposed Fulbright project, and future career plans?
  • Cultural Ambassadorial Potential.  How will you represent the United States and engage the local community during the grant period?  You will need to demonstrate clearly and concretely how you plan on engaging the host community during the Fulbright year.

GPA is not an explicit selection criterion; there is no minimum GPA requirement.  The general rule of thumb is that a 3.5 GPA is considered good, but overall the selection committee will review transcripts primarily to see how you have performed academically in your proposed field of study.  The key to demonstrating intellectual strength in your application is to offer solid compelling essays that demonstrate clear purpose.  The other key aspects that influence the strength of your application are your letter of affiliation, letters of recommendation that comment specifically both on you the applicant and on the project, and your demonstrated commitment to community engagement.

Finally, please note that different countries have different selection criteria. Some countries, such as Germany, place greater emphasis on GPA. You should review carefully the requirements and application details of your proposed host country.