FULBRIGHT: A Prestigious Award that Funds Independent Research Abroad 

Fulbright logo



The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a highly competitive grant that offers participants the opportunity to pursue graduate study, explore artistic or research interests, gain international perspective, and participate in cultural exchange. Students apply to either conduct individual study/research projects or to teach English in one of 140 participating countries for a grant period of 9-12 months.  At Cooper Union, seniors, graduate students, and recent alumni are eligible to receive institutional support on their application. Applicants work with the Fulbright Program Advisor, staff at the Center for Writing and Learning and the Center for Career Development, and faculty on the conception, development, and completion of their proposal materials.

To be eligible, students must be US citizens and have received a bachelor’s degree before the grant start date (Cooper Union students can apply in their senior year). Applicants are strongly advised to begin planning their Fulbright eight months to a year before the application deadline.  

Location: Library Atrium

Event schedule

Key Deadlines for 2025-2026 Grant Year: 

April 15: Internal deadline for Fulbright Proposals 

May 13-18: Fulbright Interviews 

Summer: Weekly meetings with Writing Center 

October: Proposal Submission 



research the grant and requirements 

attend a Fulbright information session 

schedule an ongoing appointment at the Center for Writing and Learning

meet with Cooper’s Fulbright Advisor

explore award types  

familiarize yourself with specific country and grant requirements 

brainstorm projects that connect to your interests

review the key deadlines for your grant year




Fulbright is a highly prestigious grant that supports an individual’s academic and professional development.It is also the US’s largest exchange program, offering students the chance to live abroad, conduct research,receive post-secondary degrees, develop teaching skills, and/or expand their artistic practice. 

During the grant, students live in the host country and build connections to a broader international community, while developing language skills and participating in meaningful cultural exchange. Through a Fulbright grant, Cooper students can build upon the work they began in their undergraduate studies, developing their technical and artistic skills and connecting to critical issues in a global context. Students can pursue graduate studies abroad or develop research experience that prepares them for further professional opportunities. 


The Study/Research Awards make up the widest category of grant. Some study/research grants support enrollment in a master’s degree program, and others support the completion of individually-determined research projects.  

Students looking to complete independent research and creative projects will apply under this category. Individual requirements for Study/Research grants vary widely by country and should be verified on individual country pages

English Teaching Assistantship: 
The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) program offers the opportunity to support local instructors in teaching English abroad. The age of students, the number of expected teaching hours, and language requirements vary by country. ETAs may also be required to participate in additional cultural exchange. 

Special Awards: 
In addition to country-specific awards, the Fulbright program offers special grants for individuals focusing on Public Health, studying particular languages, or researching issues related to the National Geographic Society. For more information, please visit the Fulbright website.  

Individual countries may also offer additional, field-specific grants (including many in visual arts and engineering). For more information, please visit individual country pages

 The competitiveness of Fulbright awards varies by country, grant type, and application cycle. Interested applicants should review grant statistics for more insight into application and award history. 



Eligibility may depend on grant type, but in general, applicants to the Fulbright program must: 

  • be citizens or nationals of the US 
  • have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent before the start of grant period (applicants in the creative and performing arts with four years of professional training or experience are also eligible) 
  • meet specific language requirements for their award and demonstrate sufficient proficiency for their project goals 
  • demonstrate good health and pass a medical exam following grant approval 

 Preference is given to applicants who have not previously been awarded Fulbright grants and who have not resided in their country of application for extended periods of time (longer than six months). 

 For more on eligibility and preferred qualifications, please visit the Fulbright website



All Fulbright grantees receive stipends to cover room, board, and incidentals (based on the cost of living in the host country); accident and sickness health benefits; a 24/7 support line; and, in almost all cases, round-trip transportation to the host country and orientation programs. Many grants also offer funds to support book and research allowances, enrichment opportunities, full or partial tuition, and language study programs. 


Country List 
Application Components 
Fulbright Videos and Tutorial




My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world… My earnest desire is to make this building and institution contribute in every way possible to unite all in one common effort to improve each and every human being, seeing that we are bound up in one common destiny and by the laws of our being are made dependent for our happiness on the continued acts of kindness we receive from each other.” - Peter Cooper, Letter to the Trustees, April 29, 1859 


The Cooper Union’s commitment to social responsibility and an examination of the ethical, cultural, and environmental contexts of their technical and creative disciplines prepares students for the cultural and academic exchange that Fulbright offers. Fulbright’s goal of mutual understanding through direct engagement with host communities and academic institutions invites projects with an international focus that tackle the critical challenges and opportunities of our time.  

In the Fulbright Program, students and alumni can build on the questions they’ve explored during their time at the Cooper Union and examine them from a global lens. Students are encouraged to connect the skills they’ve developed through their art, architecture, or engineering training as well as in their humanities courses to address urgent historical and contemporary topics and investigate new fields of study. 

In the past twenty years, more than thirty Cooper students have pursued Fulbright opportunities in twenty-five different countries. Cooper Union offers a range of support for students interested in preparing applications for the Fulbright Program.   



Cooper Union offers a rigorous curriculum that encourages individual thought and creativity. As a small school, we have a lot of one-on-one attention for our students. The Fulbright Advisor supports students in developing projects that speak to them and what they want to achieve.” - Dr. Mili Shah, Fulbright Program Advisor 


Cooper Union’s Advisor for the Fulbright Program is Dr. Mili Shah. Dr. Shah is Professor and Chair of Mathematics in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union. She also runs the miliLab, a lab focused on projects that combine mathematics with architecture, art, and engineering. In addition, she works with the National Institute of Standards and Technology on calibration and registration problems which have applications in computer vision, manufacturing, and robotics. Dr. Shah is often drawn to projects that have application in multiple fields, which is one of the reasons she is excited to advise Cooper students as they develop Fulbright proposals. 

As Fulbright Advisor, Dr. Shah is committed to supporting Cooper students as they build projects that “speak to them and what they want to achieve.” “Cooper students are broad, innovative thinkers that will be amazing Fulbright candidates,” she says. “Their professional practice will gain so much by having interdisciplinary and new cultural experience through the grant.” 


What is your role as an advisor and how can students receive support from you on their Fulbright applications? 

I see myself as a mentor. My role is as an advisor, a person to talk through your ideas and your hopes with. I want to help you come up with a concrete plan for what you want to do and how to get the most out of your ideas. I also want to make sure you have the right support. Fulbright is an institutional program: there’s me, there’s the Center for Writing and Learning, there’s the Career Center, and there’s the faculty. The application process should be a holistic experience. I encourage you to start early. Talk to me, make sure that you have weekly meetings with the Center for Writing and Learning to help flush out your ideas, and start writing it as early as possible. 


What are the benefits of joining an international research community? 

I’m a classically trained mathematician, but at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, I work with computer scientists and engineers. From our educational backgrounds, we bring in different experiences and ways of looking at interesting and tough problems in robotics. My research benefits from having different voices. I've always welcomed diversity of thought. People coming together and exchanging ideas makes my work creative and fun. Working with colleagues from all over the world with a range of perspectives encourages a deeper understanding of problems at hand and how to tackle their solutions.  


What are the steps you take when preparing to apply for a grant or developing a research project? 

One of the first things I do is try to understand how I hope to benefit from the project. I ask myself what I'm interested in and what I'm passionate about, and how I would approach this specific problem. How can I contribute to this project? What parts of this research question make me excited and motivate me to work on something new? By thinking through the process, I figure out what qualities I already have to approach the research and how I can highlight them.  

I also think it's really important to talk to people. I ask for advice a lot. For the Fulbright, make appointments with the Center for Writing, use me as a faculty advisor, meet with your instructors to brainstorm ideas, what you want to study, and how you want to approach the problem. Talking with other people helps build up a more complete approach to solving a problem and writing a proposal. 


What makes a strong application? What are you looking for? 

First and foremost, I’m looking for a Fulbright application that’s genuine and passionate. If you are applying for a Fulbright, it should be an idea you really want to do, and part of the task is to help that come off on paper.  

You need to be mindful of the country you’re going to, their culture and their traditions, while also keeping in mind what you can provide to the host country. You’re a representative of the US abroad – try to balance your desires with the cultural exchange you can provide. A good application will be both passionate and respectful. 

Why go to this specific place? How would the resources or history there contribute to your line of thought? Why do you want to go abroad? Answering those questions will make your proposal even stronger. v



Affiliating with Cooper 


Fulbright offers the opportunity for applicants to “affiliate” with their home university. Affiliated applicants are eligible to receive an institutional letter of recommendation in support of their application.  


Current Cooper students are required to affiliate with the Cooper Union. Recent alumni (within three years) may choose whether to affiliate with Cooper Union or to apply “at-large,” meaning you fill out and submit your application independently. 


Note: Common wisdom dictates that applying at-large does not hurt your application, while affiliating only helps you.  


How can Cooper support my Fulbright application? 

Are you a… 

current Cooper student? 

Cooper students are eligible to apply for the Fulbright program in their senior year. They must apply through Cooper Union and meet all institutional deadlines.  

recent alum? 

Recent alumni of the Cooper Union (within the last three years of graduation) are eligible to apply affiliated with the Cooper union, as long as they meet all institutional deadlines. They are also invited to participate in all Cooper Union Fulbright information sessions and to make appointments at the Center for Writing and Learning to review their application.  

past alum? 

Past alumni of the Cooper Union should apply at-large. They are invited to participate in all Cooper Union Fulbright sessions and to make appointments at the Center for Writing and Learning to review their application. If alumni have more than seven years of professional experience in their field, they should consider applying for the Fulbright Scholar Program 



January 3oth
Faculty/Staff Information Session
41 Cooper Square, Room 104, 12-2PM

February 13th 
Invited Student Lunch Session
41 Cooper Square, Room 105, 12-2 PM

February 20th 
The Writing Center Presents:
"How do we start a Fulbright?"
Foundation Building, Library, 12-2 PM




  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.