South Africans can now apply for this popular US scholarship

Applications have opened for this year’s Fulbright Foreign Student Program which provides grants for South African university graduates to pursue studies at a United States university.

Students are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and receive a high level of support ranging from visa processing and health insurance to a comprehensive pre-departure orientation and re-entry session.

Fulbright scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses in the US for up to two years.

The application deadline for this year’s program is 1 May 2022. However, the US embassy cautioned that prospective participants should be aware that public health conditions, availability of consular services and travel, as well as US institutional operating status and policies, could affect their ability to travel and participate.

You can find out more about the requirements and applying here.


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The US Embassy said that the following opportunities are available for this year’s cohort:

  • VSR (non-degree): South African PhD students enrolled with a South African University may apply to conduct one year’s research at a U.S. University as a Visiting Student Researcher (VSR). Current National Research Foundation (NRF) funded PhD students are encouraged to apply.
  • MA/PhD: Post-graduate students may apply for scholarships towards Master’s or Doctorate degrees. Scholarships are awarded for two years towards one degree – Master’s or Doctorate.


Be a South African citizen or a permanent resident with a minimum of 5 years of permanent residency status in South Africa.

Have one of the following academic degrees:

  • For PhD research (Visiting Student Researcher): Be registered for a PhD at a South African university, to participate in an academic year in the U.S. to conduct research related to your studies. You should still be registered with a South African University as a PhD student at the time that you will commence your research in the U.S. (August 2023). Current NRF funded PhD students are encouraged to apply.
  • When applying for a Master’s degree: a 4-year Bachelor’s degree, BTech degree or a 3-year Bachelor’s degree with an Honors degree.
  • When applying for a Doctorate degree: a Master’s degree.

What are they looking for?

The US Embassy said that it is looking for the following qualities from applicants:

  • Academic excellence.
  • Required scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for each specific field of study.
  • Clearly written study objectives.
  • Demonstrable interpersonal skills with evidence of cultural sensitivity and a genuine desire to learn more about the United States and share with American citizens aspects of South African culture.
  • Experience and interest in extracurricular and community activities.
  • Evidence of leadership potential.
  • A desire to further the Fulbright Program and give back to your home country upon returning.
  • The Selection Committee and the Interview Panel will also be looking for clear reasons for selecting your U.S. university preferences. The Fulbright Program expects candidates to conduct a thorough university search. and to identify institutions that are a strong fit for their academic, personal and professional goals.

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