Detection of Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between fluorescent protein labeled targets is a valuable strategy for measurement of protein-protein interactions and other intracellular processes. Despite the utility of FRET, widespread application of this technique to biological problems and high-throughput screening has been limited by low-contrast measurement strategies that rely on the detection of sensitized emission or photodestruction of the sample. Here we report a FRET detection strategy based on detecting depolarized sensitized emission. In the absence of FRET, we show that fluorescence emission from a donor fluorescent protein is highly polarized. Depolarization of fluorescence emission is observed only in the presence of energy transfer. A simple detection strategy was adapted for fluorescence microscopy using both laser scanning and wide-field approaches. This approach is able to distinguish FRET between linked and unlinked Cerulean and Venus fluorescent proteins in living cells with a larger dynamic range than other approaches.