Students studying in the Helsinki University Main Library

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies Award is available for scholars in a variety of fields and includes research and lecturing at the University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures, North American Studies program.

Purpose of the Grant Program

Established in 1976 to institutionalize the teaching of American history, culture and language at the University of Helsinki, the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair was the first chair in the Fulbright Distinguished Scholars Program. The Bicentennial Chair holder plays a crucial role in developing the interdisciplinary approach to American studies found at the University of Helsinki and at other Finnish universities with American studies programs. Today it is one of the most prestigious appointments in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

The Department of Cultures and its faculty pride themselves on having a very friendly and collegial atmosphere to pursue a variety of professional activities, including teaching and research, research collaboration, writing joint publications with Finnish colleagues and mentoring student research at the master and doctoral level. The Chair and the North American Studies program faculty work together in designing the Chair position's activities for the year.

The Chair Position

The Chair is expected to:

  • Teach one survey course (12 x 90-minute lectures) per semester directed to third-year BA students.
  • Teach one seminar (12 x 90-minute lectures) per semester in their area of expertise to master’s level students.
  • Be invited to participate in the program’s Ph.D. seminar and in the development of the North American Studies program in general.
  • Be encouraged to network and create linkages throughout Finland and give occasional guest lectures at other Finnish universities.
  • Be invited to participate in Fulbright Finland Foundation (the Finnish Fulbright Commission) activities as an application reviewer and interviewer.

The seminars are part of the master’s program and one of the seminars should discuss the contemporary issues of American society. (For more information on the contemporary seminar, please contact the Department). It would be preferable that the lecture courses were suitable also for Bachelor level students. Note that contact hours for teaching both the survey course and seminar is less than teaching a 3-credit course in the U.S.

Previous holders of the Chair position have represented a wide spectrum of academic fields including history, political science, popular culture, American borderlands, foreign policy, intercultural communications, legal history, music in American culture, ethnography, and gender studies. Candidates should possess a broad knowledge of American social dynamics (within their field) and current issues (e.g., trade, race relations, immigration, politics, etc.) relevant for transatlantic discussions and a Finnish audience.

The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair is jointly funded by the Fulbright Finland Foundation, the Finland-America Educational Trust Fund, and the University of Helsinki


The Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies is available for lecturing visits of 9 months. It includes:

  • Monthly allowance of approx. 5,500 EUR (approx. 6,000 USD*). A total stipend for 9 months is 50,000 EUR (approx. 55,000 USD*).
  • Travel allowance of 2,000 USD.
  • Residence permit allowance (based on the actual permit fees, including grantee and accompanying family members).
  • Housing is provided for the Chair as a part of the award.
  • Occupational health provided by the University of Helsinki for its faculty and staff.
  • Orientation and support services provided by Fulbright Finland in Helsinki. For example, Fulbright Finland will arrange a four-day arrival orientation in Helsinki for all U.S. grantees at the end of August each year.
  • Fulbright Finland arranges mid-year activities and networking opportunities (such as the American Voices Seminar at the University of Turku) each year.
  • Possible guest lecturing opportunities in other Finnish higher education institutions and in other European countries.

* amounts are subject to change due to currency fluctuations.

The grant is funded in cooperation with the Fulbright Finland Foundation, the Finland-America Educational Trust Fund, and the University of Helsinki. The administrative program partner on the U.S. side is the Institute of International Education (IIE) on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. Further information is available at the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program website.

Support for Grantees with Disabilities

Extra funding support is available for grantees with disabilities. If you have a disability that would cause additional costs for the grant term, contact the Foundation to discuss reasonable accommodations. Send your self-assessment with a description of the disability and the specific accommodations requested to the Foundation ([email protected]) by the grant application deadline.

Please note that disclosing the need for disability accommodation does not affect the review and selection process.


Distinguished Chair eligibility guidelines and review criteria are published on the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program website.

In Finland, the applications are evaluated according to the evaluation criteria set by the Fulbright Finland Foundation Board.

Applicants residing in Finland are not eligible for a Fulbright grant.

University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki is the leading research university in Finland and consistently ranks among the top 20 universities in Europe and the top 100 globally. The Department of Cultures is the university’s center for area and cultural studies. The North American Studies program offers a broad, multidisciplinary view on the United States and Canada, their histories, cultures and societies. The program offers studies up to the Ph.D. degree.

The Department and its faculty are committed to international and interdisciplinary teaching and research, covering, for example, Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, the Nordic countries, Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. The faculty’s scholarly interests represent a variety of fields in history, sociology, anthropology and beyond.

Together with a welcoming scholarly environment, Finland and the Chair position offer interesting opportunities for U.S. researchers and teachers, both professionally and socially. One can experience a way of life in Finland that combines a dynamic urban culture with close connection to the natural environment.

How to apply?

The 2025-26 Fulbright U.S. Scholar competition is currently open.
Apply by September 16, 2024!

The U.S. program partner in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program is the Institute of International Education IIE. Applications are submitted through IIE and forwarded to discipline-based peer review committees in the U.S. Applications that pass this initial peer review in the U.S. are forwarded to the Fulbright Finland Foundation in Helsinki to be reviewed by the Fulbright Finland Foundation’s review committees. The Fulbright Finland Foundation makes the funding decisions and final selections of grantees.

Additional information and detailed application instructions are available from the Fulbright Finland Foundation and the Fulbright Scholar Program websites.

NOTE: Late June, July and early August are traditionally summer vacation months in Finland and responses to inquiries may be delayed. Please note that the Fulbright Finland Foundation office observes the summer Finnish holiday season and is closed in July. With any urgent inquiries, kindly contact us prior to July. 



Contact Information

 Fulbright Finland Foundation
(overall program related questions)
University of Helsinki
(host institution related questions)
 Karoliina Kokko
Senior Program Manager
+358 44 5535 268
[email protected]
Dr. Rani-Henrik Andersson
Senior University Lecturer in North American Studies
[email protected]

Resources for Hosts


Application period start:February 1, 2024
Application period end:September 15, 2024
Earliest possible starting date:August 2025
Mandatory orientation:TBC (expected to take place in mid-August 2025)

Alumni Experience

"Whenever I share my Fulbright experience with others, one of the first questions I receive is “Why Finland?” The person asking that question usually does not understand that they have asked a very open-ended question that takes at least 15 minutes to answer!" Scott E. Buchanan: Looking For Reasons to Return

Useful links:

What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as an access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organization and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies program is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.