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). Learn more about how to apply for a JJWBGSP scholarship 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. This program may be restructured. There are no plans to call for fellowship applications before Fall 2018.


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) has provided support to developing country nationals who are PhD candidates in developing countries and working in academic and research institutions in a developing country. 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 last cohort of fellows was selected in 2017. The Program is currently being considered for restructuring, and there are no plans to issue a call for applications before Fall 2018.


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?

Details on Eligibility Criteria for each call for applications are provided in that call’s Application Guidelines, and these detailed eligibility criteria are strictly adhered to. No exceptions are made.

Broadly speaking, 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 February 2018. 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 scholarship application must be completed online and include two professional references. The scholarship application must also include an unconditional (except for secured funding) letter of admission from the preferred master degree program that the applicant wants JJWBGSP funding. Note that if the applicant is admitted to several master degree programs, he/she must choose at the time of submitted the scholarship application which program to attend with JJWBGSP funding. We have requested our preferred master degree programs to issue all letters of admission prior to the closing deadline for our scholarship application.   Any documents an applicant provides by email, post or any means other than the online application form will not be reviewed. Applicants who submit more than one scholarship application are disqualified. 

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 opportunities in those countries recently or currently in conflict.

For a scholarship to a JJWBGSP Preferred Program master degree, the JJ/WBGSP Secretariat uses the average score of the two assessors to identify the list of semi-finalists. The semi-finalists will be required during the review process to provide supplemental documentation, 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 assessors 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.

The JJWBGSP Secretariat presents the  finalists for the preferred program scholarship 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.

The JJWBGSP Secretariat presents the finalists for partnership scholarship 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) provides scholarships for no more than a two-year duration to a limited number of Japanese mid-career professionals who are dedicated to the alleviation of poverty and enhanced shared prosperity in developing countries, and who have been admitted to or are currently enrolled in a master’s or PhD graduate degree program outside of Japan and in development-related fields.

Applicants seeking master degrees are encouraged (but not required) to seek admissions in institutions participating in our Preferred (.xlsx 49 KB) and Partnership (.xlsx 15 KB) Programs. Graduate degrees related to Foreign Service, Diplomacy, Business (including MBAs) and Law (including LLMs), Medicine (including MDs) are not eligible for financing by the JJWBGSP scholarship.

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 next call for applications for a JJWBGSP Scholarship will open February 2018.

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.

  • 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.
MULTIMEDIA

Announcements


  • JJ/WBGSP:
  • All candidates who won a scholarship from the 2017 Call for Scholarship Applications for JJWBGSP preferred master degree programs have been informed. The next call for scholarship applications for the preferred programs is scheduled for late February 2018.
  • RSM Fellowship Program:
  • This program may be restructured. There are no plans to call for fellowship applications before Fall 2018.

More Annoucements

  • Columbia’s MPA in Economic Policy Management’s application for enrollment in Fall 2018 is available now. The deadline to apply is Friday, January 5, 2018. As a partner program with our JJWBGSP scholarship, candidates for admission may be short-listed by Columbia and asked to apply for a JJWBGSP scholarship.
  • Yokohama National University's Program in Public Policy and Taxation is accepting applications for enrollment in Fall 2018. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 28, 2018. As a partner program with our JJWBGSP scholarship, candidates for admission may be short-listed by Yokohama and asked to apply for a JJWBGSP scholarship.
  • University of Tsukuba’s Program in Economic and Public Policy (PEPP) is accepting applications for enrollment in Fall 2018. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, February 28, 2018. As a partner program with our JJWBGSP scholarship, candidates for admission maybe short-listed by Tsukuba and asked to apply for a JJWBGSP scholarship.

Study

Learn about what alumni are doing: 2016 survey results


Quote of the Week

Roberto Prado De Vasconcellos

United Kingdom

"It is fascinating to meet other people from other parts of the world who share so many common traits with you. I believe that learning from so many different and interesting people (professors, colleagues, etc) made me learn a lot about myself as well."