FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What are the Fulbright Awards?
A. The Fulbright Awards are grants for Irish citizens to study at the postgraduate level, research, or teach in the U.S. and for Americans to do the same in Ireland.
Q. When should I apply for an Irish Fulbright Award?
A. The Irish awards application period opens in the late summer and closes during mid-Autumn. You can only apply during these time periods. During the application period 31 August-31 October 2017, applicants can apply to undertake an Award for the academic year 2018-2019. Successful applicants would complete their Fulbright scholarship between the months August 2018-August 2019. It is important to think about your application well in advance of the application period so we recommend you spend at least the summer beforehand thinking about where you want to go and why.
Q. When should I apply for a U.S. Fulbright Award?
A. The awards for U.S. Scholars typically open early in the New Year and are due by late summer. These are managed by the Council of International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). Please see here for more details: http://www.cies.org/. The Fulbright Student Awards for American Students typically open in the spring with an autumn deadline. These are managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Please see here for more information: http://www.iie.org/fulbright/.
Q. How do I apply for a Fulbright Award?
A. The application system is managed globally and is online. It is known as the Embark System. All applicants must apply through this system. You must first read the information on our website carefully and then contact the Irish Fulbright office as instructed. Please ensure you adhere to the Irish guidelines when applying to go to the U.S., as instructions vary country to country.
Q. What can I study or research on a Fulbright Award?
A. Applicants from all fields and disciplines may apply, with the exception of clinical medical studies. For more information on universities in America please see www.petersons.com. For information on universities in Ireland please see www.educationinireland.com. If you are unsure about where you would like to go or what you would like to pursue please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.
Q. Where can I go on a Fulbright Award?
A. Irish citizens applying through the Fulbright Commission of Ireland can only go to the United States of America and no other countries. American citizens are eligible to go to any country that currently sponsors Fulbrighters, including Ireland.
Q. Can I do undergraduate study or research on a Fulbright Award?
A. No. Fulbright Awards are just for postgraduate study, scholarly research and lecturing, or teaching a foreign language. We do not have funding for undergraduate study.
Q. Can I do a study abroad program on a Fulbright Award?
A. No. Fulbright Awards are just for postgraduate study, scholarly research and lecturing, or teaching a foreign language. We do not have funding for study abroad programs.
Q. Can I do a short-term course on a Fulbright Award?
A. No. Fulbright Awards are just for postgraduate study, scholarly research and lecturing, or teaching a foreign language. We do not have funding for short-term programs.
Q. Can I apply if I have not yet received my letter of affiliation or admission to a university?
A. Yes. You should still apply for your Fulbright Award, indicating which institution you are hoping to go to. If you are then successful and offered a Fulbright Award you must have your affiliation or admission to proceed with your award.
Q. What is a letter of affiliation?
A. A letter of affiliation is required for Student or Scholar applicants who are seeking a visiting research or lecturing position. They are not required for full-time student applicants. The letter should come from someone with authority in the school or department and should state that should you be successful in obtaining a Fulbright Award they are happy to host you, your project, and have space for you to work there.
Q. Is the GRE required to apply for a Fulbright Award in the U.S.?
A. No, but many graduate programs require the GRE for admission. Please check each institution’s website for their admissions criteria.
Q. Are TOEFL / IELTS / TWE required to apply for a Fulbright in the U.S.?
A. Irish applicants to do not need to submit scores for any of above exams.
Q. What is required in terms of a transcript?
A. A transcript is a full list of courses and final grades that comes as an official document from a school. All post-secondary school transcripts (undergraduate, masters, and PhD, if applicable) will be required when applying for a Fulbright Student Award or FLTA grant. This should be requested from institutions early on in the application process, as it can take a number of weeks to be processed.
Q. Is the application deadline ever extended?
A. No. The deadline is a firm deadline. We encourage all Irish applicants to submit their applications early so they can be checked for completeness in advance. If your application is missing information and it is after the deadline it will be disqualified.
Q. I am applying for a Fulbright Student Award, what should I write about in my Study/Research Objective Essay?
A. You should write a clear and detailed description of the academic program you want to pursue. You should clearly identify the area(s) within your field of study in which you want to specialize in or concentrate. If there is a specific research project you wish to undertake, you should describe how you intend to meet your goals. You should outline why you need to go to the particular country and institution and how this will enhance your knowledge, skills, and understanding in the discipline.
Q. I am applying for the Student Award, what should I write about in my Personal Statement?
A. Your personal statement is a narrative statement that tells us about you. It should not repeat your Study/Research Objective Essay. It should tell the Fulbright Commission what makes you unique, your special interests, why you are applying for a Fulbright Award, why we should give you an award, your aspirations, and your expectations of the award.
Q. Should my references be academic or from an employer?
A. You must have three reference forms submitted on your behalf. References should be prepared by a professor with whom you have studied or researched in your proposed field of study that can confirm your academic and personal qualities. Alternatively, a reference may be someone that has supervised you in work related to your proposed field of study. Reference forms should not be prepared by persons related to you or by personal friends. At least one academic and one professional or work-related reference should be included among your three references. All three reference forms must be submitted by your referees through the online Embark System ahead of the application deadline.
Q. What can I do if I am unable to submit my application electronically?
A. The Irish Fulbright Commission will always strive to provide an accessible format for applicants. If you have concerns about using the Embark System please contact email@example.com for more information on alternative applications.
Q. Can I submit my Fulbright Application by email or fax?
A. No. You must use the Embark System.
Q. Can you meet with me in advance to review my application?
A. No. The Fulbright Commission in Ireland is very small and we encourage all applicants to review our website first for answers to their questions. If you have an outstanding query we are happy to answer your call or respond to your email but we are not equipped to meet with applicants during the application period.
Q. If I get a Fulbright Award to go to the U.S. does this mean I can stay in the U.S. afterwards?
A. No. All Irish Fulbright Awards have a two year home rule as part of the J-1 visa. This means that Fulbright awardees cannot apply for a work or residency visa in the U.S. for two years after the date of completion of their Fulbright award. It is possible to go to the U.S. on a 90 day visa waiver for visits during this time. It is expected that awardees will return to Ireland to share what they’ve learned in the U.S. This exchange is a core part of the Fulbright awards.
Q. How long can I go on a Fulbright Award for?
A. Fulbright Irish Scholar Awardees can go for a minimum of three months and a maximum of twelve. Fulbright Irish Student Awardees can go for a minimum of four months and a maximum of twelve.
Q. Can I stay to complete my four year PhD if my Fulbright Award is just for one year?
A. Yes. Although your funding is only for one year you can stay to complete your entire program. However, you will need to seek funding from alternative sources for your remaining years.
Q. Can the Fulbright Commission give me advice on the best way to get a visa?
A. If you are successful in obtaining a Fulbright Award we will assist you with your visa application to the U.S. However, the Fulbright Commission cannot give advice on visas and suggest you visit the U.S. Embassy in Dublin’s website for more information: ie.usembassy.gov
Q. What grades are required to apply for a Fulbright Student Award?
A. The Fulbright Awards are about excellence and applicants are expected to have the following:
• A recognized third level degree with a minimum 2.1 honour standard results
• Outstanding results in the final year of study
• A minimum of 2.2 in undergraduate study if subsequent postgraduate study has been completed and a 2.1 received
Applicants in the visual and performing arts may be exempt from the third level qualification if they have equivalent professional qualifications or experience. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure.
Q. My degree will not be awarded until the summer after the application deadline. Am I still eligible?
A. Yes, but you must complete your degree and furnish final transcripts in order to accept a Fulbright Award.
Q. I will be finishing up my Phd prior to my proposed Fulbright award start date, can I still apply for the Fulbright Student Award category?
A. Your PhD thesis submission date must not precede your Fulbright Student Award start date. Candidates cannot begin a Student Award if they have already submitted their PhD thesis.
Q. The course I want to do does not start until January. Should I apply now or later?
A. All Fulbright Awards are run through academic years so ensure that you apply for the year in advance of when you wish to start. We advise applying to universities as early as possible in order to have an update on your application/affiliation status in time of application and/or interview.
Q. I am an E.U. citizen who has been resident in the Republic of Ireland for three years. Am I eligible to apply?
A. All E.U. citizens, who have lived in the Republic of Ireland for the past 3+ consecutive years are eligible to apply for a Fulbright Irish Award. Please note that E.U. citizens will be required to give proof of this residency and have the intent to return to Ireland after their Fulbright Award. E.U. citizens are also eligible for the Schuman Scholar & Student awards for any projects dealing with U.S.-EU relations or EU affairs. You must apply directly to the Schuman office for these awards.
Q. I am not an E.U. citizen or an Irish citizen. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, but you can look at your home country’s Fulbright website to check your eligibility there.
Q. I am a dual U.S. – Irish citizen. Am I eligible to apply?
A. No, dual U.S. – Irish citizens are not eligible to apply to go the U.S. on a Fulbright Award.
Q. I am from Northern Ireland. Am I eligible to apply?
A. Yes, if you hold an Irish passport you can apply to the Irish Fulbright Commission. If you hold a UK passport you can apply to the UK Commission and if you hold both passports, you can apply to either but not to both in any one year. If applying for an Irish Award, please read the Fulbright Irish Guidelines carefully as soon as you receive them as you will need to fill out the section on ‘Nationality’ accordingly.
Q. I am an Irish citizen but not living in Ireland. Am I eligible to apply?
A. Yes, all Irish citizens are eligible to apply unless they are resident in the United States at the time of application (from the start of the application period to the start of the Award). If you are an Irish citizen living in any other country you are eligible to apply. You are expected to be in Ireland at the time of interview and should you be successful, you must attend the Awards Ceremony and Irish Orientation day. Note that those who are in the U.S. on a short-term visa waiver program during the application period may be eligible. If you have extensive experience of living or studying in the U.S. (have spent five or more years in the previous six years there) you are ineligible. While this does not include short term periods e.g. J1 summer visas, preference may be given to applicants without prior experience in the U.S.
Q. Who selects the award recipients?
A. Interview panels are comprised of three representatives taken from relevant academic fields within Irish higher education institutes, Fulbright Alumni, and the Fulbright Commission Board. The interview panels make recommendations to the Fulbright Commission Board, who make initial grant offers to candidates, which are subject to final approval by the J. Williams Scholarship Board in Washington, D.C.
Q. I will not be available the date of my interview. Would it be possible to make an alternative arrangement, such as a telephone or Skype interview?
A. Shortlisted candidates are expected to attend interview in person. It is the responsibility of the applicant to be available for interview at the date and time allocated and to cover the associated costs. Note that Skype interviews will only be accommodated in extraordinary circumstances, this decision will be at the discretion of the selection panel.
Q. Will I be reimbursed for travel costs to attend the interview?
A. No. The Fulbright Commission does not cover any costs incurred to attend your interview.
Q. What do I need to bring with me to my interview?
A. You are not required to bring any additional material or documentation with you to your interview.
Q. How long will the interview last?
A. Interviews for Student Awards last approximately 20 minutes. Interviews for Scholar Awards last approximately 30 minutes. Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship (FLTA) candidates are required to complete a two-part selection process in Irish, a written assessment (approximately 45 minutes) and an oral interview (approximately 30 minutes).
Q. How long after the interview do I have to wait before I am notified if I am successful or not?
A. We endeavour to notify candidates within four to eight weeks; however this depends on circumstances and approval from the J. Williams Scholarship Board in Washington, D.C. and can take longer. We will notify candidates if there is a delay in the process.
Q. Can you provide me with feedback why I was or was not selected for a Fulbright Award?
A. Yes. The Fulbright Commission will share with you, upon written request, feedback on your selection or non-selection. Please note that the cut-off point for 2018-2019 feedback is April 30th 2018.
Q. Can I defer my Fulbright Award for the following year?
A. No, Fulbright Awards cannot be deferred and you will have to reapply.
Q. If I am not selected for a Fulbright Award can I apply again?
A. Yes. Applicants are allowed to apply again.
Q. I have just been accepted to come to Ireland on a Fulbright Award. Where should I live?
A. Please contact us directly with questions about your award and we will be happy to provide you with advice and information. Please note that an information pack will be sent to you, which will include advice on housing, shopping, weather, schools, and transportation.
Q. If I am a student can I live on campus?
A. This is rare in Ireland and very few schools have campus housing. We recommend that you check this early with your intended school to see if it is an option.
Q. Are apartments in Ireland furnished?
A. Typically apartments are furnished with basic living and kitchen items, such as couches, beds, and dishes. It is easy and relatively inexpensive to buy any other household items that you may need in Ireland.
Q. Should I sign a lease before I come to Ireland?
A. No, this is not recommended. You should view the property before you sign a lease. Therefore, we recommend arriving in Ireland to allow you plenty of time to source somewhere to live. Do not send any money or give your bank details until a lease has been signed. For more information please see the Private Residential Tenancies Board: http://www.prtb.ie/ or Threshold: http://www.threshold.ie/.