World Bank Scholarships Program

The World Bank Scholarships Program contributes to the World Bank Group’s mission of forging new dynamic approaches to capacity development and knowledge sharing in the developing world.

It is an important component of the Bank Group’s efforts to promote economic development and shared prosperity through investing in education and developing human resources in the developing world. 

Since 1982, the Program has helped to form a pool of over 6,000 well-trained and experienced development professionals, transforming their countries and positively impacting future generations.

Currently, the World Bank Scholarships Program offers two sources of funding for graduate studies in development-related fields for mid-career professionals and researchers:

  • Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) WBGSP Since 1987, JJWBGSP has enabled more than 5,800 mid-career professionals from developing countries and Japan to complete graduate degrees in development-related fields.  On an annual basis, the Government of Japan solely funds the JJ/WBGSP. ) The Call for Applications is scheduled to launch January 25, 2017. Learn more about JJWBGSP for Developing Country Nationals and for Japan Nationals.
  • Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP) Since 1982, this fellowship program has enabled PhD candidates from developing countries to undertake research at institutions abroad. Fellowships are for 6–10 month periods and can be up to $25,000. The RSMFP was established with funding from the World Bank and the governments of Bangladesh, China, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and former Yugoslavia. The most recent Call for Applications closed November 2, 2016.  Winning RSM Fellows will be informed at the end of January 2017. The next Call for Applications is expected to open in Fall 2017.   


Inactive Program

Japan Indonesia Presidential Scholarship Program (JIPS)

This Program is no longer accepting applications. With a one-time $10 million grant from the Government of Japan, this scholarship supported three cohorts (2008–2010) of 43 Indonesian PhD students to study abroad under the sponsorship of one of the program’s ten partner Indonesian universities. This window is now closed to new applicants.

The Robert S. McNamara Fellowships Program (RSMFP) provides support to developing country nationals who are PhD candidates in developing countries and working in academic and research institutions in a developing country.  RSMFP offers 6–10 months of funding up to $25,000 to conduct PhD research in a World Bank member country other than the Fellow's home country or country of residence. RSMFP was established in 1982 with $2.8 million in funding from the World Bank and the governments of Bangladesh, China, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, and former Yugoslavia. 

The most recent Call for Applications closed December 14, 2016.  Winning RSMFP Fellows will be informed at the end of January 2017. The next Call for Applications is expected to open in Fall 2017.  

What can an applicant do before the next call?
Who is Eligible to Apply?
How to Apply?
What are the RSMFP Benefits?
What is the Selection Process?

What can an applicant do before the next call?

  • Read information posted on this website and review eligibility criteria carefully.
  • Identify a university advisor abroad who will sponsor your fellowship funded PhD research.  Please note, RSMFP does not provide guidance on choosing a host institution or research advisor.
  • Ensure both your PhD advisor and your host university advisor are aware of and support your proposal for research that would be funded by an RSM fellowship.
  • Begin gathering required documentation for the fellowship application, including: (1) if you are employed, proof of current employment; (2) diploma of highest degree earned; and (3) an official statement from your current university that you are either: (i) currently enrolled as a PhD student and have completed all coursework and exam requirements for your doctoral program; or (ii) currently enrolled in a research-only PhD program.
     

Please note that application guidelines that provide detailed application instructions will be posted on this website during the open call.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Applicants Must:

  • Be a national of a World Bank member developing country;
  • Not hold dual citizenship of a developed country;
  • Be under the age of 35 on the Application Deadline date;
  • Be enrolled in a PhD program in a member developing country of the World Bank at the time of application
  • Reside in a member developing country of the World Bank since enrolled in the PhD program;
  • Have completed all coursework and exam requirements for attaining a PhD at the time of application;
  • Have a PhD thesis centered on a field of development.

*Please note: All eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made. Eligibility criteria WILL NOT change during an open call for applications. However, this information is subject to change between the close of one application process and the opening of the next.

How to Apply?

When the call for applications is open, the application guidelines, online application, and a final list of eligibility criteria will be available on this site.

The RSMFP application must be completed online by the Application Deadline date and include:

  • The completed application form
  • An agreement to the terms and conditions for an RSMFP fellowship listed on the Application Form’s Signature Page;
  • A completed recommendation form submitted online by the host university research advisor; and
  • A completed recommendation form submitted online by the PhD Thesis supervisor.

All required documents must be uploaded online. Any documents an applicant provides by email, post or any means other than the online application form will not be reviewed.

What are the RSMFP Benefits?

RSMFP provides up to $25,000 (U.S.) for developing country nationals to travel abroad to conduct development-related PhD research under the supervision of a host advisor at a university, research or development institution in a World Bank member country. The Scholarship covers a 6 to 10 month period. Details on eligible expenditures are provided in the Application Guidelines.

What is the Selection Process?

The RSMFP uses the following process to review completed applications, with the aim to identify eligible candidates with the most innovative and relevant research proposals in the area of development.

Two qualified reviewers independently review each eligible application to assess the following:

  1. Quality of the proposed fellowship (70%)
  2. Prospects for a productive career in research post-PhD (30%)
     

Information provided by your PhD thesis supervisor and your host institution research advisor are particularly important elements of your application.

The World Bank Robert S. McNamara Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following other aspects to select the finalists:

  • Maintaining a reasonably wide geographical distribution of awards, that takes into account the geographic distribution of eligible applications;
  • Maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender that takes into account the distribution of eligible applications across gender;
  • Giving fellowships to those applicants who, other things equal, appear to have limited financial resources;
  • Giving preference to applicants currently employed as lecturers or researchers at an academic or research institution in a member developing country of the World Bank;
  • Giving preference to applicants who have not received a JJ/WBGSP scholarship for a master’s degree program.
     

The finalists are presented to the World Bank Robert S. McNamara Steering Committee (composed of some members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection of the winners of the award. The RSMFP Secretariat notifies the public on this website that the selection is made and individually informs the winners of the Fellowship.


The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) ) is open to women and men from developing countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a master degree program in a development-related topic.   

JJWBGSP offers scholarships for over 200 Preferred Programs (.xlsx 49 KB) spanning a wide array of development topics and for 14 Partner Programs (.xlsx 15 KB)  at universities in U.S., Africa and Japan in key areas of development, including economic policy management, tax policy, and infrastructure management.  JJWBGSP scholarships for developing country nationals are not available for any other master degree program.

A JJWBGSP scholarship provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

View a detailed list of benefits. After earning their degree, developing country scholars commit to return to home to use their new skills to contribute to their countries’ social and economic development.

What can an applicant do before the call?
Who is Eligible to Apply?
How to Apply
Selection Process
Scholarship Benefits

What can an applicant do before the call?

  • Read information posted on this website and review eligibility criteria carefully.
  • Apply to one or more of the JJWBGSP preferred (.xlsx 49 KB) and partnership (.xlsx 15 KB) master degree programs.
  • Begin gathering required documentation for the scholarship application, including: your current curriculum vitae (c.v.), proof of employment for each record of employment since earning a Bachelor’s degree, and certified copy of the certificate of your most advanced university degree earned.
  • Identify two professional recommenders.
     

Please note that application guidelines that provide detailed application instructions will be posted on this website during the open call.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Developing Country nationals must:

  • Be a national of a World Bank member developing country;
  • Not hold dual citizenship of a developed country;
  • Be in good health;
  • Hold a Bachelor (or equivalent) degree earned at least 3 years prior to the Application Deadline date;
  • Have 3 years or more of recent development-related experience after earning a Bachelor (or equivalent) degree;
  • Be accepted unconditionally to enroll in the upcoming academic year in at least one of the JJWBGSP Preferred or Partner masters degree Programs;
  • Not be an Executive Director, his/her alternate, and/or staff of all types of appointments of the World Bank Group or a close relative of the aforementioned by blood or adoption with the term "close relative" defined as: Mother, Father, Sister, Half-sister, Brother, Half-brother, Son, Daughter, Aunt, Uncle, Niece, or Nephew;

*Please note: All eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made. Eligibility criteria WILL NOT change during an open call for applications. However, this information is subject to change between the close of one application process and the opening of the next.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply for scholarships to both Preferred and Partner Programs. The process to apply to a Preferred Program and to a Partner Program differs:

Those seeking a JJ/WBGSP Partner Program scholarship (.xlsx 15 KB) must first apply for admission to one or more of the Partner Masters Degree Program(s). Inquiries on how to submit an admissions application to a partner program should be submitted to the respective university. 

After reviewing submitted applications, each Partner Master Degree Program will identify a short list of eligible candidates who will then be invited by the JJWBGSP Secretariat to apply for a JJ/WBGSP scholarship. View the complete list of JJ/WBGSP Partner (.xlsx 15 KB) master degrees offered

Those seeking a JJ/WBGSP Preferred Program scholarship (.xlsx 49 KB) must, in parallel, apply for admissions to one or more of the Preferred Program(s) and apply for a JJWBGSP scholarship through an open call typically announced within the first two months of a calendar year. The next call for applications for a JJWBGSP Scholarship to one of our Preferred Programs is scheduled to open January 25, 2017. View the complete list of JJ/WBGSP Preferred (.xlsx 49 KB) Master Degrees currently offered.  

When the scholarship applications for the Preferred Program is open, the finalized list of preferred programs, the application guidelines, online application, and a finalized list of eligibility criteria will be available on this site. The application must be completed online and include two professional references. Any documents an applicant provides by email, post or any means other than the online application form will not be reviewed.

Applicants should only submit one scholarship application. The online scholarship application will give the opportunity to list up to 5 Preferred Master Degree Programs for possible funding. At the time of submitting the scholarship application, the scholarship applicant is not required to have been admitted into one of the Preferred Programs. However, semi-finalists will be independently contacted by the JJWBGSP Scholarship Program to submit by a specific date a letter of admission for the upcoming academic year that is unconditional with the exception of secured financing from one of the JJWBGSP Preferred Program Master Degrees noted on his/her scholarship application.

Selection Process

The JJ/WBGSP uses the following process to review eligible scholarship applications from developing country nationals, with the aim of identifying the candidates with the highest potential, after completion of their graduate studies, to impact the development of their countries.

Two qualified assessors independently review each eligible application and score the application on a scale of 1 to 10, taking into account four main factors and the degree of cohesion among them:

  1. Quality of Professional Experience (30% weight)
  2. Quality of Professional Recommendations (30% weight)
  3. Quality of Commitment to your Home Country (30% weight)
  4. Quality of Education Background (10% weight)
     

JJ/WBGSP awards scholarships to applicants who have had at least 3 years of full-time paid employment in the applicant’s home country or in other developing countries acquired after receiving the first Bachelors (or equivalent university) degree within the past 6 years; and are employed in a paid full time position at the time of application.  The only exception to this criteria is for developing country nationals from a country on the list of Fragile and Conflict States noted in the Application Guidelines that are posted during the call for applications.   In these exceptional cases, we do take into consideration the limited employment opportunitie in those countries recently or currently in conflict.

The JJ/WBGSP Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers to identify the list of semi-finalists. Semi-finalists for a scholarship to a JJWBGSP Preferred Program master degree will be required to provide supplemental documentation outlined in the “SELECTION PROCESS” of the Application Guidelines, including a letter of acceptance from a JJWBGSP Preferred Masters Degree Program noted in the submitted application that is either unconditional, or conditional only upon the securing of financing.

The JJ/WBGSP Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following criteria to select the finalists:

  • Maintaining a reasonably wide geographical distribution of awards, that takes into account the geographic distribution of eligible applications;
  • Maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender that takes into account the distribution of eligible applications across gender;
  • Giving scholarships to those applicants who, other things being equal, appear to have limited financial resources
  • Unusual circumstances / hardships, when assessing the employment experience and other aspects of an application.
     

Once all documentation is received, finalists for the preferred program scholarship are presented to the JJ/WBG Steering Committee (composed of members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection for a scholarship. The Secretariat informs the scholarship winners in July.

Finalists for partnership scholarship are presented to the World Bank’s Executive Director for Japan for approval on a rolling basis, matching the JJWBGSP Partner university’s admission cycle. The Secretariat informs the scholarship winners to a partner master degree program soon after approval.

Scholarship Benefits

The JJ/WBGSP scholarship provides the recipient with the following benefits:

  • Economy class air travel between your home country and the host university at the start of your study program and immediately following the end of the scholarship period. In addition to the two-way air travel, scholars will receive a US $500 travel allowance for each trip;
  • Tuition for your graduate program and the cost of basic medical insurance usually obtained through the university.
  • A monthly subsistence allowance to cover living expenses, including books. The amount of the allowance varies depending on the host country.
     

Please note all JJ/WBGSP scholarships cover the duration of the graduate program or two years, whichever is less.

The JJ/WBGSP scholarship does not cover:

  • VISA application(s) costs
  • Expenses to bring and/or support a scholar's family members;
  • Extra-curricular courses or training;
  • Language training not provided by the graduate program;
  • Additional travel during the course of the study program;
  • Expenses related to research, supplementary educational materials, field trips, participation in workshops/seminars, or internships; or
  • Educational equipment such as computers.
     

Note: The JJ/WBGSP scholarship may only supplement, and does not duplicate, any other source of financial support/fellowship you might have. If selected as a finalist or if you are awarded a scholarship, you must inform the JJ/WBGSP if you have other sources of scholarship funds. The JJ/WBGSP stipend may be withdrawn completely or partially if during the scholarship period the Program has evidence of additional sources of support.


The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) is open to women and men Japanese nationals who are mid-career professionals whose work is dedicated to the alleviation of poverty and enhanced shared prosperity in developing countries.  After earning their degree, Japanese national scholars are expected to advance their professional career with a keen focus on the alleviation of poverty and enhanced shared prosperity in developing countries.

The JJ/WBGSP Japanese Nationals Program provides scholarships for no more than a two-year duration to a limited number of Japanese mid-career professionals who have been admitted to or are currently enrolled in development-related master’s or PhD graduate program outside of Japan.

Applicants are encouraged (but not required) to seek admissions in institutions participating in our Preferred (.xlsx 49 KB) and Partnership (.xlsx 15 KB) Programs. Please note MBAs, LLMs and graduate degrees on international diplomacy / international relations are not accepted areas of study.

These scholarships provide tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance. View a detailed list of benefits.

The call for applications for a JJWBGSP Scholarship is scheduled to open January 25, 2017.

What can an applicant do before the call?
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Selection Process
How to Apply

What can an applicant do before the call?

  • Read information posted on this website, review eligibility criteria carefully
  • If not already admitted, apply to a master degree program focused on development
  • Begin gathering required documentation for the scholarship application, including: your current curriculum vitae (C.V.), proof of employment for each record of employment since earning a Bachelor’s degree, certified copy of the certificate of your most advanced university degree earned
  • Identify two professional recommenders and two academic recommenders

Please note that application guidelines that provide detailed application instructions will be posted on this website during the open call.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Applicants Must:

  • Be a Japanese national;
  • Be under the age of 45 on the Application Deadline date;
  • Hold a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent university degree) earned at least three years prior to the Application Deadline;
  • Be in good health;
  • Have at least 3 years of full-time paid development-related experience since earning a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent university degree) and within the past six years from the date of the Application Deadline;
  • Not employed by the Government of Japan or its related agencies, including local governments and the Central Bank at the time of application;
  • Not be an Executive Director, his/her alternate, and/or staff of all types of appointments of the World Bank Group, or a close relative of the aforementioned by blood or adoption with the term "close relative" defined as: Mother, Father, Sister, Half-sister, Brother, Half-brother, Son, Daughter, Aunt, Uncle, Niece, or Nephew;
  • Have not received any scholarship funds from the Government of Japan to help finance a graduate degree;
  • Be accepted or currently enrolled into a graduate program focused on poverty alleviation and shared prosperity in developing countries.

Please note: All eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made. Eligibility criteria will not change during an open call for applications. However, this information is subject to change between the close of one application process and the opening of the next.

View a description of the JJ/WBGSP Japanese National Program Benefits HERE.

What is the Selection Process?

For those applicants who meet all eligibility requirements, the following process and criteria are used to review completed applications, with the aim of identifying the candidates most likely to contribute to the alleviation of poverty and shared prosperity in developing countries after completing their graduate studies.

Step 1: Two qualified assessors independently review each eligible application and score the application on a scale of 1 to 10, taking into account three main factors and the degree of cohesion among them:

  1. Quality of Academic Experience and Recommendations (20% weight)
  2. Quality of Professional Experience and Recommendations (40% weight)
  3. Quality of the Completed Application Form (40% weight)

Note: The relatively lower weight for academic excellence is because the eligibility criteria of admission to a graduate program pre-screens for academic excellence.

The JJ/WBGSP Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers to identify the list of semi-finalists.

Upon request, semi-finalists for a scholarship who are not already enrolled in a graduate program will be required to email to the JJWBGSP Secretariat a letter of acceptance to a graduate program noted on the scholarship application that is either unconditional, or conditional only upon the securing of financing.

The JJ/WBGSP Secretariat uses the average score of the two reviewers and the following other criteria to select the finalists:

  • Maintaining a reasonable distribution of awards across gender taking into account the distribution of eligible applications across gender
  • Giving scholarships to those applicants who, other things being equal, appear to have limited financial resources

The finalists are presented to the JJ/WBGSP Steering Committee (composed of members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management) for final review and selection of the winners of the award. The Secretariat informs the scholarship winners in July.

How to Apply?

The application must be completed online during the period a call for applications is opened. Once the application form is submitted online, the applicant will receive within 2 business days an email from the JJ/WBGSP Secretariat informing the applicant of his/her application identification number.

The application number is needed to complete and submit by posted mail to the JJWBGSP Secretariat the package of required documentation, which includes: your current curriculum vitae (C.V.), proof of employment for each record of employment since earning a Bachelor’s degree, certified copy of the certificate of your most advanced university degree earned, and recommendations from two professionals and two professors, using the recommendation form that will be provided to you along with the application guidelines.

  • JJ/WBGSP Annual Report

    JJ/WBGSP Annual Report

    The Joint Japan/World Bank Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) began in 1987 as part of a special Japanese initiative to strengthen human resources in developing countries. It was set up by the government of Japan in partnership with the World Bank. Japan's commitment to invest in human resources in developing countries is rooted in its own experiences after World War II. The country's startling postwar economic growth and its fundamental transformation from World Bank recipient to major World Bank donor were grounded in the rapid growth of its broad human resource base. This distinct development pathway has led Japan in its desire to support the poorest countries in their endeavors to enhance the expertise and skill levels of aspiring practitioners and leaders, to contribute to policy reform for economic growth and social development.
  • JJ/WBGSP Tracer Studies

    JJ/WBGSP Tracer Studies

    The eighth Tracer Study focuses on several main points historically seen to be crucial to the success of the program, namely: a) Are recipients completing their degrees? b) Are recipients returning to their home country or another developing country? c) Are recipients securing employment in institutions and sectors that afford them opportunities to contribute to the development of their countries? d) Are recipients applying and sharing their newly-acquired knowledge on the ground? It is encouraging and gratifying to note that this study demonstrates that the program is achieving its mission. An overwhelming majority of scholars have attained their degree, returned to developing countries, and gained employment in strategic positions to lead and influence public policy, with positive impacts on the lives of thousands, if not millions, of people.
  • JJ/WBGSP Alumni

    Twenty Years of Investing in Human Capital: Celebrating our Alumni

    The year 2007 marks the JJ/WBGSP's 20 years of investing in human capital in developing countries. The booklet "Twenty Years of Investing in Human Capital: Celebrating our Alumni" highlights some of the program's alumni who have made remarkable career progress after completing their study under the JJ/WBGSP and who are making significant contributions to the development of their home countries. Each profile is unique, yet each and every one of them assures us that the scholarships provided jointly by the government of Japan and the World Bank have been bringing about positive effects on development through human capacity building. Twenty Years of Investing in Human Capital: Celebrating our Alumni (in Japanese) The first section introduces the alumni with diverse backgrounds who now occupy high positions in various institutions in their countries; the second part introduces the six alumni who, at the regional conferences held in May 2006 in Nairobi and Hanoi, received awards for the outstanding research they carried out under the JJ/WBGSP. The booklet has been published and presented at JJ/WBGSP Tokyo Conference on June 6, 2007 in two languages: English and Japanese.
  • Awarded Theses

    Awarded Theses

    In 2005, the JJ/WBGSP launched the Scaling-Up Program as a better means for leveraging knowledge acquired by the sponsored scholars and to foster a network of development practitioners, including JJ/WBGSP scholars and alumni. During its first year of activity, the Scaling-Up Program held two regional conferences, in Kenyaand in Vietnam, where it provided an opportunity for alumni to hear outstanding papers presented by the scholars, and to network, share knowledge, and discuss current development issues in the presence of the World Bank staff, Japanese government representatives, and academic institutions. The publication "Awarded Theses 2006" includes six selected papers awarded at the above mentioned two regional conferences. Awarded Theses 2007 To date, the Scaling-Up Program has held four regional conferences that gave alumni opportunities to hear outstanding papers presented by the scholars; and to network, share knowledge, and discuss current development issues in the presence of the World Bank staff and Japanese government representatives. Two successful regional conferences were held during fiscal year 2007—one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in March 2007 and one in Tokyo, Japan, in June of that year. The conference in Tokyo where its graduates and some 150 distinguished guests from around the world gathered at Keio University marked 20th anniversary of the JJ/WBGSP. Many successful scholarship recipients shared testimonials regarding their experiences in the study program. The publication "Awarded Theses 2007" includes six theses presented and awarded in Dar es Salaam and Tokyo.

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