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Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program

Student stands at ceremony in Nepal


The highly competitive Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program supports PhD students pursuing research in modern foreign languages and area studies in countries outside of the United States. The Einaudi Center will shepherd you through the full application process, beginning with your intent to apply.

Please note that your proposal and budget need to be approved by our Fulbright faculty project director: David Holmberg will review your materials, offer guidance, and work with you through the application process. 

Fulbright Facts

One in three of Cornell’s Fulbright-Hays applicants wins an award. The national average is only one in ten. 

The Einaudi Center has managed Cornell’s Fulbright-Hays applications since 2000, ushering over 200 applications through the process and sending doctoral students to Myanmar, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, and beyond. Successful students grow their language proficiency, engage with other cultures, and leave the program with significant dissertation research completed.  

What is the Fulbright-Hays Program?

Sudan Kariuki, Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellow
Sudan Kariuki, a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology, completed her research in Kenya's coastal forests as a Fulbright-Hays DDRA fellow.

The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program provides grants to colleges and universities to fund individual doctoral students. Funded students conduct research in other countries in modern foreign languages and area studies for periods of six to twelve months. Unlike the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, Fulbright-Hays DDRA provides significant support for research activities.  

The program seeks to increase the number of PhDs in the United States with a knowledge of one or more of the “lesser-taught” languages and of related countries or regions.  

More about the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program

Students may propose research for six to twelve months. Funding cannot be renewed at the end of the award period.  

Can I go to any country?

The program does not support projects in countries placed on suspension. For a current list of suspended countries, contact the Fulbright advisor at the Einaudi Center. The program also does not fund projects studying Western Europe. 

What if I want to conduct research in Indonesia?

If you're planning research in Indonesia—including Fulbright and Fulbright-Hays—you'll need to applying for a foreign research permit. Learn more about the required steps.

What am I required to do during the program?

  • Remain in good standing at Cornell. 
  • Work full time on the approved research.  
  • Maintain satisfactory progress. 

What expenses are covered?

  • International travel expenses 
  • Maintenance and dependents allowances as presented by the Department of Education 
  • Project allowance for research-related expenses 
  • Health and accident insurance premiums 
  • $100 administrative fee to applicant institution 

How is the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program different from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program?

Fulbright-Hays DDRA is an institutional grant to Cornell University, while the Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides a grant directly to the recipient.  

Fulbright-Hays DDRA also offers significant research support in order to increase the number of U.S. PhDs with knowledge of one or more of the lesser-taught languages. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program, on the other hand, is focused on enhancing cultural understanding between the United States and other countries.


  • Intent to apply: February 19, 2024
  • Cornell application: March 4, 2024


Cornell doctoral candidates studying modern foreign languages and area studies are eligible. In addition, you must fulfill these criteria: 

  • You are a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident who plans on a teaching career in the United States. 
  • You have the necessary foreign language skills for your research project. 
  • You will pass your A exam before the beginning of the fellowship. 

How to Apply

Email us with your intent to apply. Include your net ID, department, chair of your graduate committee, and the country to which you are applying. You will work with the Einaudi Center to develop your application, which you will submit to the Department of Education. Applicants must apply through Cornell and meet the university's submission deadline. 

Are the application criteria available?

Visit the Department of Education website to see this year’s criteria.  

Do I need to be fluent in a language?

You must be proficient in the language in which you will be conducting your research. The application is points based, with the most points awarded to applicants who learned the language at a U.S. institution. Native language speakers or heritage speakers receive fewer points in this area.  

Do I need IRB clearance before I apply?

The Institutional Review Board approval letter is not required at the time of application. Instead, the application asks for an “IRB research narrative.” This is the project’s justification for being either non-exempt or exempt from IRB scrutiny. 

Do my dependents have to fly at the same time as I do?

Everyone must travel together to and from the research country. 

Are there things I’m not allowed to include in my budget?

While this is a relatively generous grant, certain things are not covered under research expenses. Please do not include in your budget the cost of assistants or of equipment that has a life expectancy beyond the grant period—for example, computers, printers, phones, or internet services.   

Additional Information

Funding Type

  • Program


  • Student