Chinese Ph.D Dissertation Research Program


The Fulbright Chinese PhD Dissertation Research Program (PhD Program) provides candidates nominated by eligible Chinese higher education institutions with an opportunity to conduct dissertation research in the U.S. for one academic year in the field of American Studies, broadly defined. Up to 20 awards are typically offered in this category every year.

Ideal candidates:

  • Have already completed the first year of their PhD program in China at the time of application;
  • Are studying disciplines in the Social Sciences and Humanities;
  • Are planning a dissertation topic with an extensive American Studies component;
  • Are interested in travelling to the U.S. not only for the purpose of academic research, but also to learn more about the country, its people and its culture through direct interaction with Americans; and/or
  • Are planning to return to China and incorporate what they have learned in America into their dissertation and, ultimately into their academic or professional career at the post-doctoral stage.

Fields of Study:

At present, the Fulbright Program for PhD students encompasses the following fields in the social sciences and humanities:

American Government & Politics Information Science
American History Journalism
American Literature Law
American Studies Library Science
Anthropology Linguistics
Archaeology Music
Architecture Philosophy
Art History Public Administration/Public Policy
Business Administration Public/Global Health Policy
Communications Social Work
Creative Writing Sociology and Culture
Economics TEFL/Applied Linguistics
Education Theater
Environmental Studies Urban Planning
Film Studies U.S. Foreign Policy
Geography International Relations


Upon their return, PhD Program grantees contribute to improved understanding of the U.S. in China by publishing their research results and either expanding faculty expertise within American Studies programs at Chinese institutions or contributing to better understanding and cross-cultural exchange through their professional efforts at the post-doctoral level. Many PhD Program grantees establish permanent links with American colleagues during their grant year, through whom they continue to exchange ideas and information as they pursue their academic or professional careers.


  • Candidates must be Chinese citizens who are resident in China, in good health.
  • Candidates must be from an eligible institution and nominated by their institution (eligible Chinese higher education institutions list) (applications received without an institutional nomination will not be considered.
  • Candidates should have already completed the first year of a PhD program at the time of application, and must have at least one year remaining prior to completion. Candidates should have already identified their dissertation research topic (though an approved dissertation prospectus is not required at the time of application).(eligible Chinese higher education institutions list)
  • Preference will also be given to applicants who have not extensively studied or worked in the USA.

For more detailed information on eligibility requirements, please refer to the annual program recruitment announcement, which is posted on the China Scholarship Council (CSC) Website each March or April.

Other Program Prerequisites

The main goal of the U.S.-China Fulbright Program is to increase mutual understanding between the United States and China. The proposed research should indicate potential contribution to this goal in a particular field of American Studies, broadly defined. The candidate should present a detailed and focused proposal that shows clearly why a year of dissertation-related research in the U.S. is necessary, what contribution their proposed research will make to their field, and how it will benefit the applicant’s academic and professional development. Preference will be given to candidates who are “Americanists”: those who study and research about America, its ways, institutions, history, etc. Candidates from eligible universities with centers of American Studies, or courses that cover American Studies, are strongly encouraged to apply. Applicants must have strong English language skills (especially spoken English) to allow for communication on a professional level in a university environment and engagement in social activities with Americans, both an integral part of the exchange experience. Applicants must be able to leave their home institutions for a full ten-month period to participate in the program starting from August or September of the year following application. With the exception of emergency situations, program participants are not allowed to spend more than 14 days outside the U.S. during their grant term.

Dependent Support:

Dependent support is not provided for this program. Please refer to the U.S.-China Fulbright Program Dependent Policy for Student Programs for details.

Program Timelines:

  • March/April: New recruitment/application cycle opens – please check the China Scholarship Council website for the official announcement.
  • July 31st: Application deadline. Please refer to CSC’s official announcement for details.
  • October: Final deadline for official language score (TOEFL/IELTS) submission to IIE. Please refer to program announcement or contact IIE Beijing for details regarding submission requirements for language scores.
  • November: Shortlisted candidates invited to interview.
  • December: Nominations announced. IIE Beijing assists nominated candidates in compiling application materials for submission to U.S. host institutions.
  • January-June (year after application): IIE New York manages application process and placement of nominated candidates in U.S. host institutions.
  • IIE Beijing provides assistance with follow-up in China.
  • July (year after application): Pre-Departure Orientation, candidates secure J-1 visas following confirmation of placement/receipt of visa paperwork and make travel arrangements through Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE)
  • August-September (year after application): Grantees depart for the U.S.

The program administrator reserves the right to adjust the timeline above per the needs of the program.

Program Administration

As one of the main components of the U.S.-China Fulbright Program, this program is jointly overseen by the U.S. Embassy-Beijing and the Ministry of Education. The China Scholarship Council (CSC) coordinates the initial recruitment and application process for this program. IIE Beijing provides pre-application advising to individual candidates, as well as services related to selection interviews, placement, and pre-departure logistics. IIE New York manages placement, secures visa documentation, and provides in-country on the ground logistics assistance after grantees’ arrival in the United States.