Study of the United States Institute for Scholars


2024 Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars
Call for Applications

The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is now accepting applications for six summer Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for multinational groups of experienced university faculty, scholars, and other related professionals. Institutes will take place in-person at various colleges, universities, and academic institutions throughout the United States over the course of five to six weeks between late May and early July 2024; exact dates will be communicated in spring 2024. Each Institute includes a four-week academic residency component and, if possible, up to two weeks of an integrated study tour to another region of the United States. Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the programs will pivot to a modified virtual format. All costs are covered by the Department of State.

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars (SUSIs) are intensive post-graduate level academic programs whose purpose is to provide foreign university faculty and other scholars the opportunity to deepen their understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions. The ultimate goal of the Institutes is to strengthen curricula and to enhance the quality of teaching about the United States at academic institutions abroad.

Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars comprise the following themes in U.S. Studies: American Politics and Political Thought; Contemporary American Literature; Journalism and Media; U.S. Culture, Identity, and Society; U.S. Economics and Sustainable Development; and U.S. Foreign Policy.

A description of each Institute can be found below. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit to obtain general information about the program.



The Institute on American Politics and Political Thought will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and practitioners insight into how intellectual and political movements have influenced American political institutions and American democracy. The Institute will explore the shaping of American identity and the chemistry between that identity and U.S. history, politics, and the democratic process. The Institute will cover a broad range of American experiences that have influenced and been influenced by American national identity. The Institute will provide a deeper understanding of major currents in U.S. political thought, from the colonial period to the present, and explore contemporary U.S. political and social debates and public policy, relating them back to U.S. political thought and American identity. The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will administer this program; the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA will host the Institute in Amherst, MA.

The Institute on Contemporary American Literature will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of U.S. society and culture, past and present, through an examination of contemporary American literature. The Institute will examine how major contemporary writers, schools, and movements reflect the U.S. literary canon. The Institute will also explore the diverse communities and voices that constitute the American literary landscape and expose participants to writers who are establishing new directions for American literature. The Institute will cover a variety of contemporary American writers and writing and suggest how the themes explored reflect larger currents within contemporary U.S. society and culture. The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will administer and host this Institute.

The Institute on Journalism and Media will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign journalism instructors and other related specialists with a deeper understanding of the roles that journalism and the media play in U.S. society. The Institute will examine the role of journalists in recognizing and preventing disinformation and will explore strategies for media and information literacy to counter disinformation. Additionally, the Institute will examine best practices in journalism by discussing the rights and responsibilities of the media in a democratic society, including editorial independence, journalistic ethics, legal constraints, and international journalism. The program will also highlight the impact of technology in journalism, including the influence of the digital economy, globalization of the news media, and other changes that are transforming the profession. The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will administer this program; Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ will host the Institute.

The Institute on U.S. Culture, Identity, and Society will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and other specialists with a deeper understanding of U.S. society, culture, values, and institutions through the lens of diversity and national unity. The Institute will examine the ethnic, racial, social, economic, political, and religious contexts in which various cultures have manifested in U.S. society while focusing on the ways in which these cultures have influenced social movements and American identity throughout U.S. history. The program will draw from a diverse disciplinary base and will itself provide a model of how a foreign university might approach the study of American culture and society. The University of Montana will administer this program while Seattle University in Seattle, Washington, will host the Institute.

The Institute on U.S. Economics and Sustainable Development will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced foreign university faculty, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers with a deeper understanding of key components and structures of the U.S. economy. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the program will explore various topics of socioeconomics; how financial institutions, investors, and businesses interact to support sustainable economic development, innovation, and growth; and increasing diverse and equitable employment through institutional regulation, social inclusion strategies, and private and public policies. Throughout the Institute, participants will examine the interplay of climate change, U.S. business innovation, corporate regulation, entrepreneurship, and economic theory. Participants will have opportunities to learn about key institutions and stakeholders in the U.S. economy and meet with a diverse range of business leaders and small business owners, among others. The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will administer this program; the Institute for Training and Development (ITD), in conjunction with Suffolk University, will host the Institute in Amherst and Boston, MA.

The Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy will provide a multinational group of 18 experienced and highly motivated foreign university faculty and practitioners with a deeper understanding of new approaches to U.S. foreign policy and how U.S. foreign policy is formulated and implemented. The Institute will include a historical review of significant events, individuals, and philosophies that have shaped U.S. foreign policy. The program will explain the role of key influences on U.S. foreign policy including the executive and legislative branches of government, the media, the U.S. public, think tanks, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral institutions. The Institute will also examine the current U.S. foreign policymaking landscape and emerging trends that are shaping policy. The University of Montana (UM) in Missoula, MT will administer this program; the University of Delaware will host the Institute in Newark, DE.

One candidate will be nominated for each institute to compete for a slot at the international level.
Nomination by Embassy Sofia does not guarantee selection and acceptance into the program.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: All participants are expected to participate fully in the program. Candidates should be aware that they are applying for an intensive program and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program. The Institute is not a research program. Participants must attend all lectures and organized activities and complete assigned readings. Family members and/or friends may not accompany participants on any part of the program. Please note that Institute curriculum will not formally address teaching methodology and pedagogical methods. Institutes focus on U.S. studies with only a brief focus on the U.S. education system itself. If the program is conducted virtually, the same participation requirements apply.

English Language Ability: All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of participants may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for participants whose English is their second or third language.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: When possible, each participant will have a private room with a shared bathroom during the residency portion (four weeks) of the Institute. However, private room accommodations are not guaranteed. During the study tour (up to two weeks), participants will likely share a hotel room with another participant of the same gender. During the residency, housing will typically be in college- or university-owned housing. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. All participants will be expected to respectfully share communal spaces and any necessary responsibilities.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily or weekly worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied. Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to health and safety concerns, accommodations will follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and host institution guidelines.

Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000 subject to policy exclusions and limitations.

Grounds for Program Dismissal: Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state, or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. If selected, candidates are required to sign the SUSI Terms and Conditions. This document will outline SUSI policies and rules for participation in more detail.

Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges to the program, SUSIs will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program would consist of at least 36 hours of required programming and include both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Virtual programming may include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, individual assignments, and group activities. Participants would be required to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.


Study of the U.S. Institutes for Scholars are highly competitive. Priority will be given to candidates who have firm plans to enhance, update, or develop courses and/or educational materials with U.S. studies focus or component; who have no prior or limited experience in the United States; and who have special interest in the program subject areas as demonstrated through past scholarship, accomplishments, and professional duties.

Candidates should be mid-career, typically between the ages of 30-50, highly motivated, experienced scholars and professionals from institutions of higher education or research-focused organizations (not-for-profits, think tanks, etc.). While the education level of participants will likely vary, most should have graduate degrees and substantial knowledge of the thematic area of the Institute or a related field.

Ideal candidates come from home institutions seeking to introduce aspects of U.S. studies into its curricula, to develop new courses in the Institute subject, to enhance and update existing courses on the United States, or to offer specialized seminars/workshops for professionals in U.S. studies areas related to the program theme. While the nominee’s scholarly and professional credentials are an important consideration, the potential impact and multiplier effect from their participation in the Institute is equally important. Ideal candidates will have little or no prior experience living in or visiting the United States.

As noted above, candidates must demonstrate English language fluency. Institutes are rigorous and demanding academic programs conducted entirely in English. Participants will be expected to read and comprehend substantial written materials and assignments in English and to fully and actively participate in all seminar and panel discussions. English fluency is vital to a successful experience in the Institute, for participants as individuals, and to foster a cohesive and interactive group.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible for these programs.

Relatives of U.S. embassy or Fulbright commission employees are not eligible for SUSIs.

Candidates must be willing to respectfully engage with fellow participants representing different backgrounds and points of view.

U.S. Embassy Sofia will consider applications by Bulgarian nationals only.


In order to apply, please submit your completed application form and the personal statement in English by October 31, 2023 via e-mail to:
In the subject line, please inert the name of the institute for which you are applying (e.g. “SUSI for Scholars – Institute on Journalism and Media”).

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Interviews will be held in December 2023.

Application form available in the Additional Resources Section (top right of this page).