Fast Facts

For: Students, researchers and teachers
Field of study: Master’s, doctoral and research-based studies
How to apply: Download application forms from USIEF website

Financial assistance is a must for college students, particularly those planning to study abroad.  Where a generous scholarship / fellowship can relieve some of your financial burden, it can also help strengthen your resume while giving you a sense of achievement before you even complete your studies. One such fellowship programme that focuses on building the practical knowledge of applicants while teaching them the tricks of the trade is Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships.

Fulbirght-Nehru_FellowshipAwarded by the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship programmes help bring the people of India and the United States closer through educational exchanges. So far, the USIEF has administered over 18,000 grants to Indian and US citizens to study for a number of programmes in either of the countries.

More about the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships

The professional careers of a large number of students, researchers and teachers have benefited from Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships. Here we answer a few questions for you to give you a detailed summary of the scholarship.

Who is it for?

The Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships are offered to Indian nationals for study, research, teaching or professional development in the USA. Preference in each grant is given to candidates who have not had extensive US experience recently.

How much time does the selection process take?

The entire process takes about a year from the time of application.

What is the average duration of a programme?

The average duration for a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship programme ranges from two weeks to two years depending on the scholarship category.

Types of Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships

There are six types of Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships offered by the USIEF to Indian citizens. The eligibility criteria, application deadlines and benefits differ in each. All the six fellowships are mentioned below:

  • Fulbright-Nehru Master's Fellowships: These fellowships are designed for Indians who show outstanding academic performance and wish to pursue a master's degree program at selected US colleges/universities. The fellowship is offered in the areas of Environmental Science/Studies, Arts and Culture Management, including Heritage Conservation and Museum Studies, Higher Education Administration, Women's Studies/Gender Studies, Public Health and Urban and Regional Planning.
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships: These Fellowships are designed for scholars who are registered for a PhD at an Indian institution. The average duration of these fellowships is for six to nine months.
  • Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowships: These Fellowships aim to provide Indian faculty, professionals and researchers with the opportunity to conduct research, teach or carry out a combination of teaching and research at a US institution. These fellowships are for four to nine months.
  • Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellowships: These fellowships are designed for Indian faculty and researchers who are in the early stages of their research careers. This fellowship will provide various opportunities to talented faculty and researchers to strengthen their research capacities. These fellowships are for eight to twenty-four months.
  • Fulbright-Nehru-CII Fellowships for Leadership in Management: These fellowships are for Indian business managers, whose employers are willing to bear 50% of the total cost of a specially designed 10-week management program at the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, USA. The Tepper School of Business is one of the world’s premier centers for teaching and research in business management. The faculty members at the Tepper School of Business have won wide acclaim, including eight Nobel Prizes in economics.
  • Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar: These seminars aim to provide mid to senior level Indian faculty and administrators from vocational training institutes, community colleges, polytechnics and technical institutes in India the opportunity to experience firsthand community college education and skills training programs at US community colleges.

Are you eligible?

There is a set eligibility criteria for Fulbright-Nehru Fellowships and you need to qualify in all to be able to benefit from them. You are eligible for theFellowship if you:

  • Are in good health.
  • Are not residing in the USA.
  • Are entitled to leave, if employed.
  • Are not applying for or holding permanent residence (green card) in the USA.
  • Have a high level of academic/professional achievement.
  • Demonstrate a will to adjust to life in the US and proficiency in the English language to undertake the proposed program/project.
  • Have taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have scored the minimum score required by different Fellowship programmes.
  • Are present in India at the time of submitting your application and interview, if required. You need to inform the office in case you are abroad.
  • Are a responsible Indian citizen who has the ability and will to contribute to a fair and full picture of the civilization and culture of India, and thereby help to encourage friendship and understanding between the people of the India and the United States of America.
  • Give an undertaking to return to India on the completion of the fellowship.

You must visit the website thoroughly for there might be some prerequisites and guidelines for different programmes in addition to the aforesaid ones.

Few important Pointers
  • You can apply for only One Fulbright-Nehru fellowship category during a competition cycle.
  • Plagiarism in the application will lead to disqualification.
  • Transfer of visa sponsorship will not be permitted.

How to apply

The application materials like the application form and Letter of Reference are available on the website and can be downloaded. You need to download them online and send them to the address mentioned in the application form. USIEF strongly recommends applicants for Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence, Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships to identify institutions they wish to be affiliated with. And to also correspond, in advance, with potential host institutions. If you have secured a letter of invitation from a USA institution, you need to include that also as a part of your application.

What decides your selection?

For a fellowship as coveted as Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship, the selection process is undoubtedly stringent. The expert committees review all eligible applications on a number of parameters. Applicants recommended by the committees then need to appear for an interview with the USIEF National Selection Committee in New Delhi. Listed below is the criteria used by the selection panels generally to evaluate applications:

  • Academic excellence
  • Flexibility and suitability
  • Relevant work experience
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Commitment to return to India after completion of the program
  • Leadership potential and commitment to community or national service

Tips to prepare for Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship application


Now that you know what all parameters will your application be reviewed on, you can work on making your application effective. The best way to do that is attend the Fulbright mentoring workshops organized by the USIEF offices for potential applicants. These workshops guide applicants on the elements of strong application. Or you can also seek guidance from Fulbright alumni on the following aspects while doing the basic preparation for a Fulbright application:

  • Familiarity with resources in India before proposing research abroad
  • A proposal with a clear focus
  • A sense of how the proposed work is relevant to the Indian context
  • Identification of resources in the USA
  • The role of an exchange participant as a cultural ambassador of India beyond his/her specific field of study.


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