All Disciplines (Research)
Number of recipients
In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities.
Researchers are sought in all academic, professional, and artistic disciplines. Research awards of three to 10 months are available, with the broad requirement that award projects demonstrate a particular focus on Korea or be comparative in nature.
Any appropriate institution including nonprofit institutions of higher education and research, authenticated colleges, authenticated universities, libraries, archives, museums, arts centers, hospitals, public television and radio stations, government agencies, national laboratories, privately sponsored nonprofit institutes, nonprofit organizations, government charted nonprofit research organizations, and foundations.
The Korean academic year starts March 1, with approximately two months of summer break (July & August) and two months of winter break (January & February) between regular semesters. Individuals working with academic institutions are advised to bear these semester breaks in mind when selecting the proposed period of their award.
Fulbright East Asia Pacific Regional Travel Program
As conditions allow, Fulbright Scholars in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region may have the opportunity to apply for funds to support short-term (3-14 days) travel to other countries in the EAP region for activities such as lectures, workshops, graduate or faculty seminars, master classes or recitals, curricular advising or panel presentations. EAP Regional Travel Program funding covers transportation only. Regional Travel Program activities/host sites should not be included in the initial Fulbright application. Scholars may start the process of seeking out invitations for short-term activities in other EAP countries once notified that they have been selected for a Fulbright grant, but will only be able to apply for travel program funds, conditions permitting, once they have actively started their Fulbright grant in their host country. Scholars on Flex grants are not eligible for the regional travel grant.
Korean language fluency sufficient to complete the proposed research project is required. Research applicants must submit the Language Proficiency Report: Self Evaluation and Language Proficiency Report: External Evaluation. Native speakers need only to complete the Language Proficiency Report: Self Evaluation. Applicants without Korean language skills should explicitly address this issue in their discussion of the feasibility of the project in their award proposal.
Professionals, artists, and academics are all eligible for awards, provided they meet the below criteria:
- A professional or artist without a terminal degree must have a minimum of seven years of experience in their respective field to be eligible to apply for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award. (Those with less than seven years of experience should apply for a Fulbright U.S. Student Award.)
- A professional or artist with a terminal degree must have at least three years of experience in their respective field.
- An academic must have a minimum academic rank of assistant professor OR three years of research experience after completion of a terminal degree.
All Fulbright U.S. Scholar awardees to Korea MUST obtain an A-3 visa and enter the country on a U.S. passport.
U.S. Applicant Advisory
Note: The Korean Government utilizes the words “national/nationality” as opposed to “citizen/citizenship” in most official documentation in English. These words can be viewed as interchangeable for the purposes of this advisory.
Candidates who are nationals of Korea will NOT be permitted to undertake Fulbright awards to Korea.
Individuals of Korean heritage may have dual U.S.-ROK nationality unbeknownst to them or their family.
In April 2010, the Republic of Korea passed legislation that allows dual nationality, with differing rules for men and women. If one of an applicant’s parents is or was a Korean national, the applicant may automatically inherit Korean nationality via Korea’s “jus sanguinis” laws. In order to confirm their Korean nationality status, applicants of Korean heritage MUST contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Korean Consulate PRIOR TO submitting a Fulbright application.
Applicants in the following circumstances are considered by the Republic of Korea to be Korean nationals:
- An individual whose father was still a Korean national at the time of the individual’s birth (if born before or on June 13, 1998).
- An individual whose father OR mother was still a Korean national at the time of the individual’s birth (if born on or after June 14, 1998).
- An individual whose father was a Korean national and was deceased at the time of the individual’s birth.
Applicants who fall under any of the categories listed above must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Korean Consulate immediately to learn more about these regulations and the suggested procedures for filing for renunciation/loss of Korean nationality.
Applicants who were born in Korea and received American citizenship through naturalization should have lost their Korean nationality automatically at the time of their naturalization. However, official renunciation documentation (국적상실신고) must still be submitted to the Korean Government in order to formalize a citizenship status change. Per the Korean Consulate in Houston, “Failure to formally renounce one’s citizenship after being naturalized in another country may cause issues when applying for visas, marriage or birth registry, and legal matters.” As such, those from Korea naturalized as American citizens must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate to ensure that their loss of Korean nationality has been formally recognized.
Applicants who were born in Korea and received American citizenship through adoption should have lost their Korean nationality automatically six months after American citizenship was granted. However, it has come to Fulbright Korea's attention that Korean nationality renunciation has not always been finalized for adoptees. As such, those adopted from Korea also must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate prior to submitting a Fulbright application to confirm their Korean nationality status.
It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to determine whether they have dual nationality and how it impacts their eligibility for a Fulbright award.
In order to avoid withdrawal of a Fulbright award, Fulbright Korea requires all American applicants of Korean heritage to provide written proof that they do not have Korean nationality before they accept their Fulbright award. From the time a candidate is offered an award, they have approximately two weeks to return a decision and submit written verification that they do not have Korean nationality/citizenship. Failure to provide written verification before the award acceptance deadline is grounds for award withdrawal. Additionally, at the time of or after award acceptance, if any individual is found 1) to have failed to disclose they are of Korean heritage or 2) to have dual nationality with Korea, their award offer will be withdrawn.
To obtain written verification of NOT having Korean nationality/citizenship, those of Korean heritage must contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate, or the ROK Ministry of Justice.
Written verification may take the form of:
- Family records such as a “basic certificate” (기본증명서), “family relations/register certificate” (가족관계증명서), etc.
- Loss or renunciation of Korean nationality records such as a “loss of nationality notice” (국적상실 허가 통지서), “renunciation of nationality notice” (국적이탈 허가 통지서), etc.
In all instances, documentation must clearly indicate that the applicant does not have Korean nationality in order for it to be accepted as written proof.
As an individual’s Korean nationality status is contingent upon specific personal and family history, all applicants of Korean heritage should contact the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate as early as possible once they have established their interest in the Fulbright Program in Korea in order to confirm their Korean nationality status and acquire appropriate documentation.
More information about Korean nationality law can be found at:
- www.hikorea.go.kr (Immigration website run by the Korean Government)
- overseas.mofa.go.kr/us-houston-en/index.do (Website of the Korean Consulate in Houston; has a good section on “Nationality/Naturalization” under "Consular/Visa Service")
General questions regarding this requirement may be addressed to the Korean-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Korea) via email. Fulbright Korea is not a U.S. or R.O.K. government or immigration agency and thus cannot answer specific inquiries.
- Approximately $3,500 per month
Housing Allowance: If awardee housing is not provided by the host institution, a housing allowance will be provided. The housing allowance is $600-$900 per month, based on the number of accompanying dependents.
All allowances are paid in Korean won and may be adjusted in case of extreme exchange rate fluctuations.
Round-trip economy-class international airfare for the awardee will be arranged with the guidance of the Fulbright commission.
A one-time payment of $250 will be provided as a settling-in allowance.
An excess baggage allowance will also be provided in the following amounts:
- $350 on a receipt basis for awards of 3-6 months
- $500 on a receipt basis for awards of 7-10 months
- One-time payment of $500 for awards of 3-6 months
- One-time payment of $700 for awards of 7-10 months
Round-trip economy-class international airfare for one accompanying dependent will be provided to an awardee if their award is for 10 months or more.
A dependent allowance of $200-$350 per month will be provided for awardees with accompanying dependents, based on the number of accompanying dependents.
Dependent Tuition Allowance
Up to $5,000 per child per semester (max two semesters) will be provided for up to two accompanying dependents in grades K-12. In order to be eligible for tuition assistance, a school-aged child must be at least six years old at the time of the award start date.
The dependent tuition allowance will be provided on a reimbursement basis upon submission of actual receipts. Reimbursement is based on actual costs of tuition and fees only. The tuition allowance amount may be adjusted for shorter award periods.
The tuition allowance is designed to offset the costs of educational expenses, not to fully cover them. As such, awardees are encouraged to explore multiple educational options for dependents.
Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.
Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.
Often referred to as an “educational powerhouse,” Korea places a distinct value on education linked to early recognition of its importance in economic mobility and development throughout Korea’s history, and particularly its history since the Korean War in the early 1950s. As with the rest of the country, Korea’s higher education system has seen rapid growth since the end of the Korean War. Today, Korea boasts over 400 higher education institutions, primarily categorized as junior/community colleges (2-3 years), universities (4 years), and graduate schools.
A high percentage of Korean professors have earned PhDs from U.S. institutions, with over half of all professors on a nationwide basis, and an even higher percentage of professors at top universities, holding U.S. degrees. Relatedly, course offerings in English have also increased, with around 30% of courses at Korean colleges and universities now taught in English. Some colleges and universities may also include departments or programs in which all courses are taught in English. In keeping with globalization and Korea’s current status as an advanced economy, such programs have ambitious international goals. (For more information on higher education in Korea, visit the Korean Ministry of Education's Study in Korea website.)
According to the 2021 Open Doors report, published by the Institute for International Education (IIE), during the 2019-2020 academic year, South Korea ranked 17th among the top 25 destinations of U.S. study abroad students. The U.S. also remains a popular study abroad destination of Korean students, with Korea consistently ranking as the third-largest origin of international students after China and India (a fact particularly significant considering the difference in population size between Korea and these two countries). Thus, the Korean higher education system is uniquely placed to influence the future of international education, while fostering educational and cultural exchange between the United States and Korea. This emphasis on strong academics is matched by a strong interest in research and development (R&D) as, per the OECD, Korea has one of the world’s highest levels of R&D expenditure.
More generally, with the spread in popularity of Korean culture, language, and arts worldwide, popularly known as the “Hallyu Wave,” South Korea has taken its place on the world stage as a major influencer of global culture and trends. The vibrancy of Korea’s growing music and film scenes, reflected in the worldwide fame of BTS, Parasite, and Squid Game, are equally matched by a vibrancy and uniqueness of history extending back to the mythical foundation of Korea with the Gojoseon Dynasty in 2333 BC. South Korea boasts 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including monasteries, temples, and tombs; palaces, villages, and fortress complexes. The cultural atmosphere of these sites is reflected in the traditions of dress, dwelling, and daily living still seen in the gracefulness of Hanbok and Hanok, tasted in the savoriness of Kimchi and Korean barbeque, and heard in the strains of Pansori and Samul Nori.
General Information about the Korean Academic Year
The academic year for higher education institutions in Korea officially starts from March 1 with the opening of the spring semester. The spring semester closes with a final exam period in mid- to late June.
Summer break is approximately two months long, with the fall semester starting the end of August or beginning of September. The fall semester closes with a final exam period in mid-December.
The largest holidays in Korea are Chuseok (fall harvest) and Seollal (lunar new year). The dates of both holidays vary from year to year according to the lunar calendar, with Chuseok falling in September/October and Seollal falling in January/February. Most institutions in Korea go on a short break (typically a five-day weekend) in observance of these holidays.
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