India is the world’s largest democracy, with a vibrant and growing economy, rich history, kaleidoscopic diversity, and an enormous appetite for education. Its education system is among the largest and continues to expand at a rapid pace. India attracts faculty and students to study, teach and conduct research, its expertise extending beyond the technical and business fields to nearly all academic disciplines.
India’s education priorities include increasing access and equity, and improving the quality of teaching and research. The Indian higher education system follows the British model, and all instruction is in English. The system is comprised of universities and university-level institutions, colleges, and diploma-awarding institutions (e.g., polytechnics and specialist institutes). Institutions are also categorized by funding source: central government, state government and private. Undergraduate admission is highly competitive, and is exam based for most disciplines and institutions. For arts, commerce, and science the bachelor’s degree program is three years in duration; for bachelor’s programs in engineering and technology the degrees are four years in duration. Master’s degrees are typically two year programs. More information about the Indian system of higher education.
An important development has been the expansion of the Fulbright Program in India. The government of India became an equal partner in the financial support of the Fulbright Program in 2008, providing significant resources to increase the number of grants and renaming it the Fulbright-Nehru Program. USIEF administers the Fulbright-Nehru U.S. Scholar Program, providing in-country support for grantees through its five offices (New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai).
The Fulbright-Nehru Program represents the diversity of American and Indian academia. Applications are welcome from faculty, researchers and professionals, including scholars in the early stages of their careers. Preference will be given to applicants who have not had a previous Fulbright grant to India.
The goal of the Fulbright Program in India is to ensure scholars have a deeply enriching and productive experience, academically and culturally, promoting mutual understanding between countries.
The academic year in India generally runs from July to April. Some institutions have adopted the semester system and others follow the traditional academic session with grading based on end-of-year examinations.
For teaching grants, an invitation by an Indian university for a Fulbright-Nehru U.S. scholar does not necessarily mean that the department has decided what courses the scholar will teach or what activities have been jointly agreed upon. Depending on the institution and department, such decisions may be made only after an initial period in country. USIEF will assist with the arrangements for U.S. scholars, but scholars may not have a specific course assignment before arrival in India. As such, patience, flexibility and a spirit of adventure are among the most important qualities required of Fulbright-Nehru scholars planning to teach in India.
Clearance from the government of India is required for all Fulbright assignments. The detailed procedure for obtaining the visa will be communicated to the scholars upon selection. Grantees will be responsible for obtaining appropriate visas/country clearance and some may face longer delays during that process. Neither the U.S. Department of State nor USIEF can intervene on a grantee’s behalf. Grants cannot be issued for travel to India until proper visas are received.
Fulbright-Nehru U.S. scholars are not permitted to travel to Jammu or Kashmir (except the region of Ladakh).
All grantees receive an in-country briefing upon arrival in India. The Fulbright commission in India pays careful attention to the safety of grantees, including those with families: spouses and children are welcome.