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Hosting a Fulbright Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill



The Fulbright Program is a competitive award funded by the U.S. government which sponsors hundreds of accomplished faculty, young professionals and students from around the world to conduct research or lecture in the U.S. As a committed university partner of the Fulbright Program, UNC-Chapel Hill encourages faculty to pursue international collaboration and exchange by inviting a Fulbright Visiting Scholar or Fulbright Visiting Student Researcher to come to Carolina for three months to one year. 

These awards are administered by cooperating agencies affiliated with the U.S. Department of State, such as the Institute of International Education and Amideast, which are fully responsible for sponsoring and obtaining the scholars’ J-1 visas prior to their arrival in the U.S. 



International scholars  (who are not U.S. citizens) who have received their doctoral degree and are interested in conducting research at UNC-Chapel Hill may apply for the Fulbright Visiting Scholar program. A letter of invitation from a faculty member at UNC-Chapel Hill is required. The period of the award is 3 – 6 months or 6 – 12 months, depending on the award received. International doctoral students (who are not U.S. citizens) can apply for a Fulbright Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) award if they are invited by a faculty member to conduct non-degree guided research at UNC. The period of exchange is 6 – 10 months. VSRs cannot enroll in credit-bearing classes during their time at Carolina. 

Please note that this information is only for those interested in participating in short-term research visits at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prospective international students who are interested in a scholarship to pursue a full-time master’s or doctoral degree at UNC should consider applying for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. 

For information about other opportunities available through the Fulbright Program at UNC, go here. 


Note: Fulbright Visiting Scholars and Fulbright Visiting Student Researchers are collectively referred to as “Fulbright scholars” here. 

If you are interested in hosting a Fulbright scholar at UNC, please follow the steps below. 

  1. Invite the scholar to campus: A faculty member or department may reach out to an overseas partner (who is not a U.S. citizen) and encourage them to apply for a Fulbright award to come to UNC. Alternatively, an international student or scholar may contact your department to propose an exchange through the Fulbright Program. This conversation may occur before or after a Fulbright scholarship has been awarded.
  2. Identify a Faculty Associate:  Select a member of your faculty to serve as a Faculty Associate, or host, for the Fulbright scholar. This individual will be the scholar’s main academic advisor at UNC and is the person likely to have the most day-to-day interactions with the visitor during their grant. Guidelines for the Faculty Associate can be found below under the “Faculty and Department Responsibilities” section.
  3. Draft a Letter of Invitation: To support the proposed exchange, the Faculty Associate must draft an official Letter of Invitation and provide it to the Fulbright scholar. This letter must be on an official university letterhead and indicate the Fulbright scholar’s name, country and topic/title of the proposed project. The letter must also include the start and end dates (month, day, year) of the exchange and be signed by an administrative officer who has the authority to approve university affiliations. Additional guidelines for drafting a Letter of Invitation can be found here.
  4. Submit an Unpaid Volunteer, Intern and Visiting Scholar Form:  Engagement of any type of visiting scholar requires the advance approval of Employment and Staffing in UNC’s Office of Human Resources (OHR). To support the exchange, please ask your department’s human resources liaison to submit an Unpaid Volunteer, Intern or Visiting Scholar Form under Self-Service in ConnectCarolina. Submitting this form will also initiate a standard review by UNC’s Export Compliance Office.
    Scholars should contact the Export Compliance Office ( at the conclusion of their visit if they intend to carry any UNC-owned equipment or collaborate on unpublished research after their visit.
  5. Inform UNC Global Affairs of the approved exchange: Please contact Thomas Lasater (, program coordinator for international Fulbright students and scholars at UNC, once the exchange has been approved.
  6. Complete the Institutional Reply Form (IRF): Some Fulbright scholars may need to submit an Institutional Reply Form to confirm the exchange. This form will be requested by the organization sponsoring the scholar’s Fulbright award. Please contact Thomas Lasater ( at UNC Global Affairs for assistance with completing this form.
  7. Work with your department to secure the Fulbright scholar’s access to necessary campus facilities and credentials: Please ask your department’s human resources liaison to designate the Fulbright scholar as an affiliate in ConnectCarolina and assist them in receiving a PID, One Card and UNC email address. Your department should also facilitate access to library services and other campus facilities.
  8. Coordinate with Fulbright scholar on arrival logistics: Please work with the Fulbright scholar to confirm their date of arrival. We strongly encourage the Faculty Associate or a representative of the department to greet the Fulbright scholar at the airport.

Note that International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at UNC-Chapel Hill is not involved in processing the J-1 visa required for the Fulbright Program. Fulbright Visiting Scholar and Fulbright VSR visas are sponsored by cooperating agencies such as the Institute of International Education and Amideast. 

  • Faculty Associates must be present and available to advise the Fulbright scholar on their research/project and facilitate their inclusion and participation in the activities of their host department. They should also initiate and maintain communication with the Fulbright scholar over the duration of the exchange. 


  • If relevant conferences, meetings of professional associations or other opportunities take place during the visiting scholar or student’s researchers grant period, please advise the scholar of these opportunities so that they have the option to participate. 


  • Encourage the Fulbright scholar to connect with ISSS and the area studies centers during their exchange. This engagement will allow the scholar to take advantage of programming offered through these organizations and serve as a resource for students and faculty interested in their expertise. (ISSS does not provide scholar advising for immigration compliance to Fulbright Visiting Scholars but does offer a range of support and engagement programming for all of the UNC international community.) 


  • Host departments are responsible for providing in-kind contributions which include 1) access to libraries, an office or shared workspace and computer facilities, and 2) consultation with faculty and access to facilities consistent with the project outlined in the Fulbright scholar’s application. These contributions should be detailed in the Letter of Invitation issued to the Fulbright scholar. Please note that your department is not required to provide a private office for a visiting Fulbright student or scholar. 


  • Fulbright scholars who have questions about housing, banking and other campus and community resources are encouraged to contact Thomas Lasater ( at UNC Global Affairs. Questions about visas, taxes and other legal topics should be directed to the organization sponsoring their Fulbright award. 

  • Does it cost anything to host a Fulbright scholar? Apart from the in-kind contributions required above, no! U.S. institutions are not required to provide financial assistance to the Fulbright scholar and are not responsible for sponsoring the scholar’s visa or health insurance. 


  • What is included in a Fulbright award?  While each Fulbright award is different, all Fulbright scholars receive international travel and health benefits for accident and sickness by the U.S. Department of State. Most scholars also receive a monthly stipend and additional allowances as benefits of their grant. Some visiting scholars may also receive sabbatical pay from their home institution. 


  • Is my department required to provide housing? Fulbright scholars are responsible for arranging their own accommodations during the exchange. If a scholar requests assistance with their housing search, they are encouraged to reach out to Thomas Lasater at UNC Global Affairs. 


  • Why should we host a Fulbright scholar? Beyond the prestige that participating in the Fulbright Program offers, institutions that host a Fulbright student or scholar typically report benefits in the areas of student engagement, collegial collaboration and institutional capacity building. The benefits and returns of hosting a scholar are wide-ranging, and a Fulbright grant is frequently reported as the root of long-term international collaborations, both individual and institutional. 


Please direct additional questions to Thomas Lasater ( at UNC Global Affairs.