Germany is the country in the EU with the largest population. With close to 400 mostly public universities, 9,500 undergraduate and 6,800 graduate study programs, and a student population of 2.4 million, Germany is an excellent place to teach and conduct research. The German university system features four major types of institutions, and U.S. scholars are highly welcome at all of them: Universitäten (traditional research universities); Fachhochschulen (universities of applies sciences, usually not offering Ph.D. programs); Berufsakademien und Duale Hochschulen (cooperative programs integrating bachelor studies with workplace training); and Research Academies such as the Max-Planck institutions.
German higher education institutions maintain partnerships with 5,000 universities in 150 different countries, many of which take place in the European Higher Education Area, a consortium of 48 countries that have harmonized their higher education structures to increase the academic mobility of their students, faculty, and staff (Bologna Reforms). Additionally, most German universities maintain long-lasting partnerships with one or more American institutions of higher education. Given Germany´s strong interest in keeping up close relations with the U.S., many universities wish to expand their transatlantic networks and seek new U.S. partners for additional exchange schemes and new collaborative initiatives in teaching and research. The German-American Fulbright Commission works with practically all recognized institutions of higher learning in both countries and sets high quality standards for the selection and sponsorship of excellent scholars and administrators in higher education.
In the scholar program, the German Fulbright Commission is particularly interested in teaching and/or research proposals based on comparative approaches and issues, especially but not exclusively in the humanities and social sciences. Whether lecturing, consulting on course design/curriculum, and/or researching, the specifics of the arrangement should be worked out directly with the prospective host institution. Preference is given to academic and professional excellence, feasibility and significance of the project proposal, and match with the host affiliation. The scholars should have strong reasons for wishing to pursue the proposed project in Germany. Their invitation from the German host university should convey a clear idea of what they wish to accomplish during their time as a Fulbright Scholar, not only academically, but also in terms of reaching out to the wider community, as part of the public diplomacy mission of the Fulbright program. The invitation should also include a description of the host’s interest in the applicant’s project, and how both sides will profit from the proposed collaboration. The quality of the invitation letter and of the institutional collaboration proposed therein is an important selection criterion. For maximum outreach and impact, the project activities should take place when German universities are in session, i.e. during the core lecture periods which last from early October until the end of January (fall term) and from early April until the end of June (summer term).