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The Fulbright Scholarship: A Chance to Earn a Master’s Degree in the U.S.

Arab students seeking to earn a master’s degree or conduct graduate level research in the United States will find many opportunities to do so on a fully paid Fulbright scholarship.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange programme. It was established in 1946 to foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries

The arm of the programme that brings international students to the United States is the Fulbright Foreign Student Program, which operates in more than 160 countries. It enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States.

Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships to study for master’s degrees in the United States each year.

This article seeks to answer questions Arab students may have about how to apply for a Fulbright scholarship.

Which Arab nationalities are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship?

Students interested in applying for a Fulbright scholarship should start by consulting a drop-down menu of eligible countries on the programme’s website. If their country is not listed there, they are not eligible to apply.

The website currently identifies 168 countries around the world whose citizens can apply, including 20 Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. That is, all Arab countries are eligible, except for Somalia and Djibouti.

All Foreign Student Program applications are processed by offices in the student’s home country.

In various countries, the programme is administered by binational commissions, through the U.S. Embassy in the country, or through AMIDEAST, a non-profit U.S. organization involved in international education, training, and development activities in the Middle East and North Africa.

AMIDEAST has branches in twelve Arab countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the U.A.E., Palestine, and Yemen.

Egypt, Jordan and Morocco also have Binational Fulbright Commissions.

Arab students who not citizens of one of these countries but are eligible for a Fulbright scholarship can apply through the U.S. Embassy in their country.

Which degrees can be studied on a Fulbright scholarship?

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program provides up to two years of funding to study for a master’s degree at a U.S. university.

In some countries, scholars may have the opportunity to conduct doctoral or postdoctoral studies through the program. According to AMIDEAST, the Arab countries whose researchers might enjoy this opportunity are those that have Binational Fulbright Commissions, namely: Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

Which disciplines can be studied on a Fulbright scholarship?

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program qualifies students to study any academic discipline in the United States, other than clinical studies in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary science. However, students with undergraduate degrees in those disciplines can still seek a Fulbright scholarship to study in related fields, such as public health, global health, biology, and chemistry.

What are the benefits of a Fulbright scholarship?

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program covers the full tuition costs of up to two years for a master’s degree at a U.S. university.

According to AMIDEAST, the scholarship also covers travel costs, a living stipend, and academic allowances. Scholarship recipients are also covered by health insurance under the ASPE program, which includes accidents and illness.

What are the requirements to apply?

In addition to being a citizen of or a resident of one of the eligible countries, Fulbright scholarship applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and a strong academic record.

English language proficiency is also considered during the application process. In general, applicants of all English proficiency levels are eligible to apply for a Fulbright scholarship. In some countries, however, minimum scores on a test such as the TOEFL iBT may be required.

It should also be noted that graduate schools in the United States often require a minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL iBT.  Fulbright applicants with scores just below this level need to improve their English language skills and may be nominated to participate in a Long-Term English Language (LTE) programme in the United States, prior to commencing studies.

In addition, all applicants are asked to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam), with the exception of those applying for a Master’s in Business (M.B.A.) degree. M.B.A. applicants are required to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) instead.

Scholarship recipients must also agree to reside for two years in their country of origin after completion of studies, before they will be eligible for other U.S. visas.

Additional requirements vary by country of citizenship. Applicants may learn more about these other requirements through the website of the U.S. Embassy in their country.

What is the deadline to apply for a Fulbright scholarship?

Application dates vary from country to country. However, they are usually from April to June each year, according to AMIDEAST. Check with the U.S. Embassy in your country to find out the exact date on when you can apply.

Related Resources

Al-Fanar Media maintains a curated database of the latest and best local and international scholarships available to Arab students and refugees. You may search this resource in English or in Arabic.

You can join the discussion on our Facebook group here. For more scholarships, stories, and news, subscribe to our free newsletter.

Also see the following related articles:

Al-Fanar Media Relaunches Its Scholarships Database for Arab Students

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