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Grants for the USA 2015-2016



Preliminary Information

The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities CRUS administers several partial grants offered to highly qualified Swiss students who intend to follow graduate or postgraduate studies at a U.S. university for at least one academic year beginning in fall 2015.

The partial grants come from different funds and the candidates are selected for one of the two following programs:

  1. Fulbright Foreign Student Program

  2. The Program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world.
    Partial grants of up to US$ 20,000 each sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and private sponsors to be used toward the cost of tuition, fees, and other academic expenses. The grants are 10 months in length and are not renewable.

    1.1. General Fulbright Grants (http://foreign.fulbrightonline.org)
    8 grants to to pursue a Master’s or PhD degree, non-degree coursework or research on PhD level at any recognized higher education institution in the U.S. in all field of studies.
    Exceptions: Applications for studies in medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and clinical psychology cannot be accepted due to U.S. university requirements; however, the Master’s degree in Public Health does not fall in this category. Grants for post-doctoral candidates are not available through the Fulbright Program in Switzerland.

    1.2. Fulbright - Novartis Grant
    1 grant to pursue a Master’s degree program at any recognized higher education institution in the U.S. in the field of life sciences (included is research and education in Tools / Technologies / Materials / Services; Drugs / Therapies; Diagnostics; Health Care; Medical Devices / Technology, however not included are the disciplines mentioned under point 1.1. “Exceptions”).

    1.3. Fulbright - Syngenta Grant
    1 grant to pursue a Master’s degree program at any recognized higher education institution in the U.S. in the fields of environmental sciences, food security, biodiversity or rural economics.

    Please note: Application requirements for all three types of Fulbright grants are identical. Students applying for either the Fulbright-Novartis or the Fulbright-Syngenta grants must complete a general Fulbright application.

  3. Medicus Student Exchange Fund
  4. The Swiss The Swiss Benevolent Society of New York (SBS) administers 2 - 5 partial grants of about US$ 5,000 each from a fund established by Dr. Heinrich Medicus to promote student exchange between Switzerland and the United States. The grants are 10 months in length and are not renewable (http://www.sbsny.org/sbs_scholarship_programs.html).

      Application preparation for the Fulbright Program is very time-consuming. The CRUS therefore decided to introduce a pre-selection. The candidates will then be designated to one of these programs depending on the characteristics of their application. A short overview of the programs and the application procedure gives our latest announcement for U.S. Graduate Student Partial Grants (pdf).

      Eligibility requirements
      • Swiss citizenship (If you hold another citizenship you must contact the Fulbright Commission in your citizenship country.)
      • hold an excellent undergraduate degree from a university or a university of applied sciences completed by summer/fall 2014
      • English proficiency with a TOEFL Internet-based iBT score of 100 or higher

      In the following cases, you are NOT eligible to apply:

      • If you hold dual citizenship with the U.S., or are resident of the U.S., or if you have a "green card".
      • If you do not have a bachelor degree (or equivalent) by summer/fall 2014.
      • If you plan to start your U.S. studies earlier than the fall semester of 2015.
      • If you have already obtained a Ph.D. degree or if you are expecting to obtain a Ph.D. degree before fall 2015.
      • If you plan to spend just one semester at a university in the U.S.
      • If you intend to pursue an internship, residency or research at a U.S. school of medicine or dentistry.
      • If you are currently studying, researching or lecturing at a U.S. university.
      • If you are currently living or working in the United States, or if you have had extensive recent experience in the United States.
      Application deadlines and selection of the candidates

      The application procedure is different from the other countries offering governmental grants. The application cycle is divided up into two selection rounds starting off with the pre-selection more than one year ahead of taking up studies in the USA.

      • The application deadline for the pre-selection at the CRUS is June 13, 2014. The pre-selection result will be announced towards the end of June 2014.
      • The application deadline for the final selection at the CRUS is August 8, 2014. The final selection result will be announced towards the end of September 2014.

      Officers from the CRUS, the U.S. Embassy in Bern, the Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students and 2-3 university professors select the candidates, and, depending on qualifications, study or research projects and quality of the applications, they decide on the funding to be granted by the U.S. government, the Friends of Fulbright, Novartis, Syngenta or the Medicus Student Exchange Fund.

      Orientation Meeting

      Selected Fulbright candidates will be required to attend a mandatory orientation meeting in October 2013. Candidates will be briefed about the purpose of the Fulbright program as well as its rules and regulations.

      Placement procedures at U.S. universities

      Fulbright Foreign Student Program
      Admission to well-known U.S. universities is highly selective and fairly complicated. The Institute of International Education IIE administers the Fulbright Foreign Student Program and offers a placement service for approximately 3 - 5 universities to selected Fulbright candidates. IIE’s University Placement Services Division works with the candidates through the CRUS to craft a well-balanced submission plan, and candidates are encouraged to be open to a range of appropriate placements. IIE submits applications on behalf of the candidates and aggressively follows-up with universities to acquire admissions and financial aid. Once candidates have decided to accept an offer of admission, IIE forwards an acceptance or withdrawal to each university.

      Medicus Student Exchange Fund
      Applicants for a Medicus grant must apply individually for university admission. To be definitely eligible for the grant, the selected candidates must have obtained an official letter of admission by the admissions’ office of the host university (and not by the professor or the department).

      Grant Conditions
      • Depending on the total balance of costs and the availability of financial aid offered by the U.S. host institution, the above mentioned Fulbright and Medicus partial grants may not cover tuition, fees and living expenses. The applicant may therefore need additional personal funds.
      • Fulbright and Medicus grants are not renewable and cannot be postponed to a subsequent year.
      • Admission to a U.S. university must be confirmed before grants will be awarded to selected candidates.
      • Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence (Foreign Residence) Requirement: In case applicants are selected as a Fulbright grantee, they will participate in the Exchange Visitor Program of the United State. As an exchange visitor you are subject to the Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence (Foreign Residence) Requirement: At the conclusion of their program Exchange Visitor Program participants are expected to return to the home countries to utilize the experience and skills they have acquired while in the United States and reside there physically for two years before they may become eligible to apply for an immigrant or temporary worker visa (for further information, please consult internet page http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1267.html).



      Information and application documents 

      In order to be considered for the first application round, candidates have to complete in a first step our  pre-application form and send it together with a CV to stip(at)crus.ch. The pre-application form can be downloaded here: Word. Eligible candidates will then be registered for the pre-selection and receive the application documents in due course.

      It is possible to indicate at least three universities of your choice in the registration form for the pre-selection. In this case it should be verified with these universities whether they have departments offering the academic program leading to the desired degree. Candidates wishing to apply as a visiting Ph.D. student researcher are strongly recommended to get in touch with several departments that best suit their research needs and check with them if they can be accepted. In both cases, copies of correspondence for this purpose must be attached to the application for final selection.

      Application for the Pre-selection

      The application documents and information materials for the pre-selection can be obtained at the CRUS or can be downloaded here:

      Pre-selected candidates will afterwards be invited to apply for the final selection.



      Application information

      Please be aware that the application procedure for the final selection is time-consuming!

      1. Documents

      Documents must either be issued in English or accompanied by certified English translations.

      Academic Records
      Copies of diplomas and transcripts must be official and certified and accompanied by certified English translations (if necessary). Transcripts issued directly by the university will be considered official. Paper copies of transcripts will only be accepted with an official stamp from the university. Copies of transcripts certified or notarized by a third party (i.e. public notary) will not be accepted as official.

      Letters of Reference
      Each candidate must have submitted three letters of reference (or recommendation) on his/her behalf. All letters of reference should be written by teachers under whom he/she has studied or pursued research or by someone who has supervised the candidate in work related to his/her proposed field of study. At least one academic and one professional or work related letter should be included among the letters.

      Online application and supporting documents
      The application form in a web-based online format and the supporting documentation for the final selection is available at http://foreign.fulbrightonline.org/fulbrightpage.html. For detailed information concerning the online application, please refer to the "Fulbright Foreign Student Program - Switzerland: Instructions for Completing the Fulbright Foreign Student Program Application".

      2. Description of Study/Research Objectives

      The application form provides space for the candidate to describe his/her study/
      research objectives. This information is extremely important. Each applicant should be specific in describing his/her major field and specialized interests within. The candidate's description of precisely what he/she wishes to study/research determines the university programs to which IIE submits his/her application. The study plan should focus clearly on a single major field and be detailed and complete and as concise as possible. Not every applicant will need to use all the space.

      Candidates applying for non-degree admission or for a visiting researcher affiliation (mentored pre-doctoral research-only program) should be especially clear about their study/research objectives and what they hope to accomplish in the United States, as non-degree admission policies or visiting researcher affiliation vary considerably from university to university and often from one department to another within the same institution. Access to course work, faculty time, and university facilities may be defined differently in individual cases and priority may be given to degree candidates. A clear statement from the applicants for these academic objectives is especially important, enabling IIE to identify programs that will provide these students with the opportunity to fulfill their specific goals.

      3. Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

      A personal statement is also part of the online application. The Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a narrative statement in which the applicant can include information about his/her education, practical experience, special interests, career plans, and his/her purpose in applying for study in the U.S. The following link to a document prepared by the University of California, Berkeley might help guide you to write your essay: http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/state_purpose.shtml.

      4. Applicants for Doctoral Studies

      It is possible to apply for the following degree objectives:

      • "Non-degree" for coursework study
      • "Visiting Researcher" for a mentored pre-doctoral research-only program
      • "Doctorate" to complete a Ph.D. degree in the USA

      Candidates should NOT indicate Ph.D. if they want to do U.S. coursework at that level or if research will be applied towards completion of a doctoral degree in Switzerland. However, applicants should clearly demonstrate the use of the credits they obtain towards the completion of the degree. For those who intend to obtain a Ph.D. degree in the USA, it is important to make sure that the previous studies in Switzerland will fit the Ph.D. program of the preferred university.

      Please note that the Fulbright Foreign Student Program is understood to be for pre-doctoral students. Therefore, researchers who will conduct full-time advanced research at the postdoctoral level are technically ineligible for a Fulbright Foreign Student grant.

      5. Applicants for Art Studies

      Programs in the Arts are extremely competitive and have rigorous and detailed application requirements, as well as very early application deadlines. Art applicants should visit the websites of the schools that they are interested in and read the guidelines for the applications thoroughly. This will give students an idea of the kinds of materials that will be required. Candidates will also be able to see if there is any overlap in requirements from school to school. Art applicants are recommended to start compiling their materials early enough to be prepared to submit their portfolios as soon as possible in case they will be selected as a Fulbright grantee.

      6. Standardized Tests (TOEFL, GRE, GMAT)

      It is a standard admission requirement of U.S. institutions for international applicants to provide a TOEFL score. Schools will not accept applicants officially without the TOEFL score. You might also be required to take one of the following standardized tests to obtain admission to a U.S. university: GRE revised General Test, GRE Subject Test or GMAT. For further information on standardized tests please visit http://www.ets.org and http://www.mba.com.

      Institution codes
      An institution code list is available during online registration. Candidates must select their score recipients (designated institutions to receive their scores) during registration. They cannot select their score recipients at the test center.
      To avoid any delays during the submission and placement process, due to missing score reports, Fulbright candidates must designate Institute of International Education’s (IIE) institution code when taking the exams. Most universities will not review the candidates’ applications for admission until they are in receipt of the official copies of the score reports. Therefore, candidates are required to designate the following institution code when taking the exam:

      • For all TOEFL and GRE exams: code 2326
      • For the GMAT: code F0F 4J 28

      Test Scores Availability
      TOEFL and GRE exams are not required for the Fulbright final selection. However, if you are selected you will have to take the TOEFL and depending on your field of study, either the GRE and GRE Subject Test (required for the following fields: Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology) or the GMAT (MBA and business-related programs). Grantees in law only need to take the TOEFL.
      Ideally, students seeking admission for the term beginning in August or September 2015 should sit for the TOEFL exam during summer 2014 so that score reports are available in August 2014. You will then have an assessment of your English language ability and will have time to prepare further and retake the exam in October or November if necessary. At the graduate level, many programs have December application deadline for the following academic year.
      GRE Subject Tests are administered in October and November of each year. Candidates in MBA and business-related programs should plan to sit for the GMAT exam in October 2014.

      Resources for Exam Preparation
      Test scores are an increasingly critical factor in admissions decisions, and candidates should take test preparation very seriously. A number of programs will not review applications until all scores are received. The IIE encourages applicants to prepare at least one to two months ahead of all exams. Below are a few resources, both for free and for a fee:







      Dr. Heinrich Medicus, a retired Swiss professor from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Albany) made a permanent gift of stock to the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York (SBS) to establish a student exchange program between Switzerland and the U.S. for qualified students.
      This exchange program is administered under the umbrella of the Scholarship Committee of the SBS. The SBS selects appropriate recipients in the U.S. as does the CRUS in Switzerland. Each year, the funds available for distribution are to be evenly divided between the two countries.

      The CRUS also uses the Fulbright application forms for the Medicus grants.

      The Medicus program does not include a service for placement at an American university. All candidates have to apply individually to the university of their choice. Only after receipt of a copy of the admission letter by the admissions office of the host university (and not by the professor or department), the applicants will definitely be considered for a grant of the Medicus Student Exchange Fund. 

      The nomination of the grantees usually takes place during summer following the year of the application, after the exact amount of funding to be granted to selected candidates has been announced by the SBS.

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