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Fulbright Master's

Program Announcement, Fulbright Master's (Closed)

Important Notice Regarding TOEFL Test:

Because the March 29th TOEFL exam was cancelled for security reasons at some testing centers, the Public Affairs Section is extending the deadline to submit TOEFL score results to April 23th.  Interested applicants can take the TOEFL exams scheduled for April 5th and 12th, submit the test results by April 23th, and still be eligible for this year’s Fulbright cycle.  All other parts of the application (i.e. essays, recommendations, etc.) must be submitted by the original April 12th deadline.  Please e-mail KabulPDExchanges@state.gov for any questions. To register for TOEFL test online please visit www.ets.org or visit any of the test centers in Kabul and Herat. 

CURRENT STATUS: Closed

Submit Your Application Online at: https://apply.embark.com/student/fulbright/international/20/

Download the Guide on How to Apply Online:  Guide on How to Apply Online

The U.S. Embassy is pleased to announce the 2015-2016 Fulbright Graduate Fellowship Program for citizens of Afghanistan to pursue a fully-funded Master’s degree in the United States.  The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship pays for up to two years of graduate study in the United States to earn an MA, MS, MBA/MPA, LLM or similar graduate degree. For the 2015-2016 program, as many as 65 graduate fellowships may be available. Fellows receive a tuition grant for their coursework and a monthly stipend to cover living expenses at their host institution. Fellows also receive roundtrip transportation and health benefits. In addition, Fellows may also attend special enrichment activities throughout their program. These activities are excellent opportunities to network with Fulbrighters from other countries and to interact with prominent Americans across a range of professional fields. Selected candidates may be required to travel to the U.S. as early as January 2015 for pre-academic English and writing seminars, or as late as the start of the academic year in late summer 2015. For more information about the Fulbright program visit http://eca.state.gov/Fulbright.

Cycle

Applications will be accepted starting from February 1st, 2014 and until the deadline of April 12th , 2014. While submitting your application online, please make sure to choose the 2015-2016 cycle on section 11 of the online application. The application review and interview process continues until June and selected Fulbright finalists are notified sometime in July.  After selection, the university submission and placement process continues until February 2015 and visa interviews take place until June 2015. Selected candidates may be required to travel to the U.S. as early as January 2015 for pre academic Intensive English Program, or as late as the start of the academic year in late summer 2015.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicants must be citizens of Afghanistan and currently reside/live in Afghanistan;
  • Applicants must have a four-year bachelor degree (first university) degree by July 2014 and a strong academic background as demonstrated by their post-secondary transcripts.  Please note that if you have a 3-year bachelor’s degree from any country, you are required to have at least a 1-year Master’s/post-baccalaureate diploma in order to be competitive and be placed in a U.S. university;
  • Applicants must present three letters of recommendation from their professors and/or employers (usually two from professors and one from an employer);
  • Applicants must score a minimum of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam and submit their score with their Fulbright application. Applicants who already have a valid paper-based TOEFL score of 537 or higher can submit that score in lieu of an Internet-based score. For more information about TOEFL please click here.   
  • Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities -- including volunteer experience and involvement in their communities;
  • For some fields of study work experience is strongly preferred (e.g. Public Health, MBA)
  • Applicants must submit two application essays (a Personal Statement and a Study Research Objectives) with clear goals, well-reasoned statements describing why a specific academic track is the best fit, and tying their academic plans to longer term professional goals;
    • Applicants must be committed to returning to Afghanistan and a specific plan for using their Fulbright experience in their professional lives and in service to their country.
    • Strong preference will be given to applicants who have not had extensive recent experience in the United States.


Note:  All grantees are required to return to Afghanistan for at least two years at the conclusion of their grant in compliance with the J-visa requirements, to promote mutual understanding, and serve as future leaders in the public and private sectors of Afghanistan.  After grantees return to Afghanistan and establish themselves in their careers, it is still possible to get another visa to the U.S. allowing travel back and forth on necessary business.

Ineligibility

  • Persons who have not completed their Bachelor’s by July 2014
  • Persons with a dual U.S./Afghan nationality or those having a spouse, parent, fiancé or child over 18 years of age who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Employees of the U.S. government such as U.S. Embassy/USAID.
  • Persons who have a pending application for immigration to any country (this includes Special Immigrant Visas)

No Dependents
The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship Program in Afghanistan is provided for the recipient only; dependents cannot be supported and Maharam are not allowed. There are no exceptions.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please read the Guide on How to Apply for Fulbright Grants.

Step 1: Determine eligibility. Read the instructions carefully. Before you apply, be sure that you qualify.

Step 2: Apply online.  To apply be sure to select the 2015-2016 Fulbright Graduate Fellowship cycle.  You must submit your application online by 11:59 pm (23:59) Kabul time on April 12, 2014 at: https://apply.embark.com/student/fulbright/international/20/ . Late applications will not be accepted.

Applied for Fulbright before?

We encourage applicants who have applied previously to submit new and revised applications. Fulbright becomes more competitive each year as the number of applicants increases and you are encouraged to revise your essays and update your information.

You must create a NEW account in Embark by using a new email address.  Previous applicants must create a new account and submit a new application package. 

Tips for Success

Please review the advice on writing a Statement of Purpose in the link “Focus on Your Essays.” Plagiarism – the unfair use of the words and ideas of others – will not be tolerated and can lead to disqualification from the Fulbright program.

Please review our “Tips” for success, located on the right side of this page.  The Focus on Your Essays section has been particularly useful for previous applicants. There is guidance on preparing for the interview, preparing for the iTOEFL or TOEFL tests, and strengthening your letters of recommendation

Questions?

If you can’t find the answer here, please email KabulPDExchanges@state.gov for assistance. Also, please see our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) for the Fulbright Graduate/PhD Programs.  For more information about IIE and the Fulbright program in general, please see www.iie.org and http://eca.state.gov/Fulbright.

  • Fulbright Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Fulbright Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    • Q - What is the Fulbright Program?

      The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Government.  It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.  The Fulbright Program provides participants – chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential – with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  The Fulbright Program is an important element of the United States’ bilateral relationships with countries around the world.

      Q - Who sponsors the Fulbright Program?

      The primary source of the funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State.  Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.

      The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the Fulbright Program under policy guidelines established by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board with the assistance of bi-national Fulbright Commissions in 50 countries, U.S. embassies in more than 100 other countries and cooperating agencies in the United States.

      Q – How can we get more information about Fulbright programs?

      We encourage all interested applicants to visit the U.S. Embassy Kabul website http://kabul.usembassy.gov/fulbright.html and http://kabul.usembassy.gov/fd.html  to learn more about the Fulbright and other exchange programs.

      Q- How are the Fulbright applicants selected?

      The Fulbright Program’s application process is lengthy and rigorous, and prospective applicants are encouraged to consider carefully their intentions, goals, future plans and prospective projects before applying for a Fulbright grant.

      Participants will be recruited through a merit-based, open competition and selected based upon their leadership potential, academic excellence, community involvement, maturity, ability to adjust successfully to life in the U.S., strong interest in engaging Americans, and potential to promote mutual understanding between the United States and Afghanistan.  Applications are reviewed by an American-led panel from the U.S. Embassy and the applications of the finalists are submitted to the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York.

      Q – How do I submit the supporting documents for the Fulbright programs?

      All the applicants can attach their transcripts, diplomas and letters of reference while completing the applications in the Embark software system:  https://apply.embark.com/student/fulbright/international/20 or bring a hard copy when they scheduled for an interview.  It is very important to start this process early.  Please review our “Tips” for success, located on the right side of this page.  The Focus on Your Essays section has been particularly useful for previous applicants. There is guidance on preparing for the interview, preparing for the iTOEFL or TOEFL tests, and strengthening your letters of recommendation.

      Q – Can an applicant apply for both the Humphrey and the Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral program at the same time?

      Yes, he/she can apply to both programs at the same time if he/she meets the requirements of both programs. However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply to both programs.

      Q – Can an applicant apply for both the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) and the Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral program at the same time?

      Yes, he/she can apply to both programs at the same time if he/she meets the requirements of both programs. However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply to both programs.  FLTA alumni are also eligible to apply for the Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral programs if they meet the program requirements and J-1 Visa residency requirements.

      Q – The application requirements state that “Applicants should have limited or no prior experience in the United States.”  I attended a short program in the U.S. sponsored by the U.S. government (IVLP, SUSI, AJEEP, AJFDP (Junior Faculty), FLTA, etc.), does that disqualify me as a Fulbright applicant?

      No.  You are eligible to apply to both the Fulbright Graduate and the Fulbright Ph.D. programs as long as you meet the other requirements of the programs.  However, the requirements are very different.  If interested and qualified, we encourage you to apply.

      Q – Is there a different requirement for the applicants from private universities in Afghanistan?

      All applicants from public and private universities are treated equally as long as their respective universities are registered with the Ministry of Higher Education in Afghanistan.

      Q – How frequently does the US Embassy provide opportunities to apply for the Fulbright programs?

      The US Embassy in Kabul offers the Fulbright program every year. The applications are available online from February 1st to April 1st every year at http://kabul.usembassy.gov/fulbright.html and http://kabul.usembassy.gov/fd.html.

      Q – Is it a requirement to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test when applying for Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral programs?

      No.  The GRE is not required when applying for Fulbright Graduate or Doctoral programs.  However, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test is required for Fulbright finalists, after their selection by the Fulbright panel.  The US Embassy will arrange and pay for one session of the test to be locally administered (in Afghanistan) for all the finalist applicants.  In the event a finalist cannot attend the US Embassy sponsored tests in Afghanistan, the finalist may take the test at his/her own expense at another location.  Please note, it is very important to receive a high score on the GRE (or GMAT for business school candidates) if you hope to be placed in a good program in the U.S.  Generally, the minimum requirement for university placement is 150 Verbal, 150 Quantitative (Math), and 4 in Analytical Writing (although the basic requirements for each section/component vary by field and institution). 

      Q - I am a dual citizen of the U.S. and Afghanistan.  Am I eligible to apply?

      No.  Any dual U.S. citizen regardless of the other citizenship cannot apply from another country for a Fulbright grant to the United States as all U.S. citizens are ineligible for Fulbright grants to the U.S.

      Non-U.S. citizens who have legal permanent residency status in the United States are also not eligible for any Fulbright grants.

      Q - I am a foreign citizen living in the United States.  Am I eligible for a Fulbright grant to start or continue study in the U.S.?

      No, you are not eligible for a Fulbright grant to study in the United States as a non-U.S. citizen already in the U.S.  Non-U.S. citizens must apply to the program from their home country and required to be resident there at the time of application.

      Q - What is it like being a Fulbrighter?

      Each Fulbrighter’s experience is unique and depends on a variety of factors, including project details, location and language abilities.  Despite the variety of experiences, Fulbrighters all describe their experience as life changing and having a profound influence on their professional and personal endeavors.

      Q - Why is the Fulbright Program unique?                     

      Fulbright is the most widely recognized and prestigious international exchange program in the world, supported for more than half a century by the American people through an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress and by the people of partner nations.  The program – working with universities, schools, bi-national Fulbright commissions and foundations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector – actively seeks out individuals of achievement and potential who represent the full diversity of their respective societies and selects nominees through open, merit-based competitions.  From its inception, the Fulbright Program has fostered bilateral relationships in which other countries and governments work with the U.S. to set joint priorities and shape the program to meet shared needs.

      Q - What is expected from Fulbrighters?

      In addition to carrying out their proposed projects, Fulbrighters are expected to involve themselves in the host community, sharing their culture while at the same time observing the host culture.  After their grant periods, Fulbrighters are encouraged to bring what they have learned through this cultural exchange home and teach others about the cultures they have experienced.  Fulbrighters are also encouraged to continue the Fulbright experience by reaching out to their home communities, participating in Fulbright alumni activities and networking with other Fulbrighters.

      Q - Are Fulbright grants available for study and research in third countries?

      No.  As a U.S. Government-sponsored program that operates on a bi-national basis with other countries, the Fulbright Program only funds non-U.S. citizens for study, research and teaching in the United States.

      Q – After successful completion of my Fulbright program, I am required to return to Afghanistan.  Does this mean I will not be allowed to travel to America again?

      No.  All grantees are required to return to Afghanistan for at least two years at the conclusion of their grant in compliance with the J-visa requirements, to promote mutual understanding, and serve as future leaders in the public and private sectors of Afghanistan.  After our grantees return to Afghanistan and establish themselves in their careers, it is still possible to get other visas to the U.S. allowing travel back and forth on necessary business.  Many of our alumni often travel to the U.S. on business now.

      Q - The Consular Officer said my visa was approved, but administrative processing was required.  I have been waiting a long time and I still have not received my visa.  Why is it taking so long and when will it be ready?

      Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview, but some cases do take longer.  The timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date, whenever possible. 

      * This process is separate from the program application procedures and cannot be influenced by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs representatives.

      See the question below for instructions on how to check the status of your visa.

      Q - How will I know my visa processing is complete?

      You should check the status of your visa by visiting the Consular website at http://kabul.usembassy.gov/processing_time_visa_applications.html.  Please follow the instructions given there.

      Q - How many Fulbright Graduate program grants are awarded in Afghanistan annually?

      This year, the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Kabul may award as many as 65 Fulbright Grants.  Over 300,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the Fulbright Program since its inception in 1946.

      Q – How Can I apply for Fulbright Master’s program?

      Step 1: The first step in applying for the Fulbright Graduate Fellowship is to read the “How to Apply” online instructions carefully on the US Embassy website http://kabul.usembassy.gov/fulbright.html. Before you apply, be sure that you meet all the following requirements.

      The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship is open to Afghan citizens living in Afghanistan, who:

      -       Hold a minimum of a BA/BS degree; holders of 3-year Bachelor’s degrees from India and Pakistan are recommended to obtain at least a 1-year Master’s certificate as well in order to be competitive.

      -       Score a minimum of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam

      -       Want to pursue a Master’s Degree;

      -       Are proficient in English; and

      -       Are able to function easily in academic and social settings.

      -       Can demonstrate a strong involvement in their communities and Afghanistan

      Step 2: To apply for the 2015-2016 Fulbright Graduate Fellowship, you must submit an application online at:

      https://apply.embark.com/student/fulbright/international/20/  by April 12, 2014

      Q – What fields of study are available for the Fulbright Master’s degree program?

      The Fulbright Graduate Fellowship will pay for up to two years of Master’s level graduate studies in almost any field of study.  Successful fellows can earn a MA, MS, MBA/MPA, LLM, MPH or similar degree.  Medical degrees (other than Public Health or Global Medicine) or degrees in curative medicine are not available. In addition, some candidates may be eligible for additional English preparatory training.

      Q – What are the criteria for applying for the Fulbright Master’s degree program?

      The basic criteria and requirements are as follows:

      • Applicants must be citizens of Afghanistan and currently reside/live in Afghanistan;
      • Applicants must have a four-year bachelor degree (first university) degree by July 2014 and a strong academic background as demonstrated by their post-secondary transcripts.  Please note that if you have a 3-year bachelor’s degree from any country, you are required to have at least a 1-year Master’s/post-baccalaureate certificate in order to be competitive and be placed in a U.S. university;
      • Applicants must present three letters of recommendation from their professors and/or employers (usually two from professors and one from an employer);
      • Applicants must score a minimum of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL exam and submit their score with their Fulbright application. 
      • Applicants should demonstrate leadership qualities -- including volunteer experience and involvement in their communities;
      • For some fields of study work experience is strongly preferred (e.g. Public Health, MBA)
      • Applicants should submit application essays (A Personal Statement and a Study Research Objectives) with clear goals, well-reasoned statements describing why a specific academic track is the best fit, and tying their academic plans to longer term professional goals;
        • Applicants must be committed to returning to Afghanistan and a specific plan for using their Fulbright experience in their professional lives and in service to their country.
        • Strong preference will be given to applicants who have not had extensive recent experience in the United States.

      Q – Can students in their final/last year of university studies apply for the Graduate/ Master’s degree program?

      They can apply for the Graduate Program if they graduate by August 2014 and can provide the Fulbright panel with all the educational documents i.e. (university diploma and transcripts) by September 20th, 2014 at the latest.  However, most successful applicants also have at least two years of relevant work experience before they apply for the program.

      Q – Why should holders of 3-year bachelor’s degrees from Pakistan and India need at least a one-year Master’s/post-baccalaureate diploma to qualify?

      The U.S. standard for a bachelor’s/undergraduate degree is a four-year program.  The universities in the U.S. have set the criteria that most successful applicants with 3-year degrees will also have a Master’s certificate or a Master’s degree.  By having this additional qualification, there will be more opportunities for placement in the U.S. and higher level programs will be available.  Very few U.S. universities will accept applicants with only a 3-year bachelor’s degree.

      Q – Is it necessary to have TOEFL scores before applying?

      Yes.  Starting this Fulbright cycle, a minimum score of 75 on the Internet-based TOEFL (IBT) is required to pass the initial technical review of the Fulbright process.  While 75 is the minimum score to apply for the Fulbright program, in order to be successfully placed in a college or university it is recommended that applicants score a 100 on the IBT. 

      Q – Does the field of study matter in selection process?

      The Fulbright Graduate Program is open to any field of study and the field of study does not play a major role in selection. The selection is made based on several important factors and selections are totally merit based.

      Q – I met all the basic requirements of the Fulbright application process and I was not selected as a finalist.  Please explain.

      The Fulbright programs are extremely competitive, world-class opportunities for education and international understanding.  While many applicants may meet the basic requirements, only the most qualified students may get the opportunity to participate in the program.  In 2013, out of 1500 applications, only 75 applicants were selected as finalists.  Applicants are rank ordered based on the merit of the whole application package (academic excellence, community involvement, etc.), and the top candidates are selected.

      Q - I already have a Master’s Degree.  Can I apply for the Fulbright Graduate Program for another Master’s Degree?

      You cannot apply for another Master’s Degree in your field if you have already obtained one.  However, you apply for a Master’s degree in another field if you have a strong justification or apply for the Fulbright Ph.D. program if you wish to pursue further studies in your current field.

      Q - Can I apply in a field other than the one in which I have my undergraduate degree?

      Yes.  You can apply in a field other than the one in which you have your undergraduate degree, but you should justify it in your personal statement and study objectives in the application.  You should present a strong case for a change of field.

      Q - Are Fulbright grants only intended for the humanities and social sciences?

      No.  Fulbright grants are available for a variety of disciplines and fields, including the performing and visual arts, the natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and technology.  We encourage applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.

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