Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program – Application Guidelines

Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program – Application Guidelines

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) offers a remarkable opportunity to elevate and optimize your educational journey. If you are seeking a Scholarship Program that allows you to fully dedicate your energy towards building a solid educational foundation, look no further.

The JJ/WBGSP warmly welcomes individuals from specific developing countries who possess relevant professional experience and have actively contributed to the development endeavors of their respective nations. This prestigious scholarship program is specifically designed for those who aspire to pursue a master’s degree in a field related to development.

Since its inception in 1987, the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) has been a valuable opportunity for more than 6,000 mid-career professionals from 160 developing countries, including Japan, to achieve graduate degrees in fields related to development. As a program exclusively funded by the Government of Japan, JJ/WBGSP continues to provide annual support to these individuals.

For the academic year 2020-2021, the JJ/WBGSP received a total of 1,711 applications, but unfortunately, a significant portion of these applications (1,478) were deemed ineligible. This represents a slightly higher proportion compared to previous years.

The reasons for ineligibility were as follows:

  • No Letter of Admission or Conditional Letter
  • Failure to fulfill employment requirements
  • Lack of a bachelor’s degree before May 2017
  • Incomplete application or wrong type of recommendation
  • Applicants without a Bachelor’s Degree or citizenship from developed countries
  • Applicants who are relatives of WBG staff or ED members
  • Applicants who received Japanese funds for a prior graduate degree

The JJ/WBGSP provides scholarships for 49 Participating Master’s Programs offered at 27 universities located in the United States, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Japan. These programs focus on crucial development areas such as economic policy management, tax policy, and infrastructure management.

However, strongly advises all interested applicants to start the application process as early as possible when the application window becomes available. Taking this proactive approach will increase the likelihood of completing the application within the specified timeframe.

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Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements for the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) are outlined in great detail within the Application Guidelines for each application cycle. These criteria are strictly adhered to without any exceptions.

In general, applicants from developing countries must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Hold citizenship of a developing country that is a member of the World Bank.
  2. Not possess dual citizenship with any developed country.
  3. Be in good health.
  4. Have obtained a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) at least three years before the Application Deadline date.
  5. Possess a minimum of three years of recent work experience in a development-related field after completing a Bachelor’s degree.
  6. Currently employed in a full-time paid position related to development work during the scholarship application submission period. Applicants should have accumulated at least three years of paid development-related employment within the past six years from the Application Deadline date. Part-time employment that meets the criteria can also be considered (refer to FAQs—Window 1 for more details). A suggested list of development-related topics can be found in Annex 2 of the Application Guidelines. Applicants from developing countries listed as Fragile and Conflict States in Annex 3 of the Application Guidelines may be granted an exception due to limited employment opportunities in those countries.
  7. Have received an unconditional admission (excluding funding) to at least one of the JJ/WBGSP participating master’s programs located outside the applicant’s country of citizenship and country of residence. The admission letter must be uploaded before submitting the scholarship application. Refer to “How to Apply” for further details on the application process.
  8. Not be an Executive Director, alternate Director, or staff member in any capacity at the World Bank Group, nor a close relative to any of the mentioned individuals. Close relatives are defined as mother, father, sister, half-sister, brother, half-brother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew.
  9. Applicants who declined a previously offered JJ/WBGSP scholarship or who previously received a JJ/WBGSP scholarship but did not graduate are not eligible to

Scholarship Prizes

The JJ/WBGSP scholarship offers several advantages to its recipients:

  • Economy class air travel between their home country and the host university at the beginning and end of the scholarship period. Additionally, a travel allowance of US $500 will be provided for each trip.
  • Tuition for the graduate program and basic medical insurance are obtained through the university.
  • A monthly subsistence allowance that covers living expenses including accommodations, food, books, etc., throughout the scholarship period. The amount of this allowance will vary depending on the host country.

It’s important to note that the JJ/WBGSP scholarship covers the duration of the graduate program or two years, whichever is less. However, there are certain expenses that the scholarship does not cover. These include costs associated with VISA application(s), expenses for bringing or supporting family members, extra-curricular courses or training, courses that do not meet the minimum credit requirements for the degree, language training not provided by the graduate program, additional travel during the study program, expenses related to research, supplementary educational materials, field trips, workshops/seminars, internships, educational equipment such as computers, and resident permit fees.

It’s also worth mentioning that the JJ/WBGSP scholarship should be seen as supplementary financial support and should not duplicate other sources of funding or fellowships. If you become a semi-finalist or receive the scholarship, it is important to inform and provide documentation to the JJ/WBGSP regarding any other scholarship funds you have.

List of countries whose citizens are eligible for this scholarship

Below is the list of countries whose citizens are eligible for the Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP):

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Dem. Rep.
  • Congo, Rep.
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Egypt, Arab Rep.
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • The Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Iran, Islamic Rep.
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Lao PDR
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Micronesia, Fed. Sts.
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • São Tomé and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent
  • Sudan
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • West Bank and Gaza
  • Yemen, Republic of
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Method of Applications

To be considered for the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program, applicants must adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Submit only one completed application electronically through the online application site. The deadline for Window 1 programs is February 29, 2024.
  2. A complete application consists of the following components:
  • Two recommendation letters
  • One completed Application Form
  1. When completing the Application Form, applicants must upload scanned copies of the following documents:

(i) Documentation proving that the applicant meets the eligibility requirement regarding the number of years of recent development-related work. For specific details on the type and extent of required documentation, please refer to the FAQs section.

(ii) The applicant’s Bachelor’s degree diploma. If applicable, also include the diploma of the applicant’s most advanced graduate degree. Please note that transcripts should not be substituted for diplomas.

(iii) Curriculum Vitae (C.V.) using the format provided in Annex 4. The C.V. should be written in English or the language of the master’s degree program for which JJWBGSP funding is being sought. If the work was unpaid, it should be listed under a separate category called “Volunteer Work.”

(iv) An unconditional Letter of Admission to a participating master’s program for the upcoming academic year. This program should be listed on the JJ/WBGSP website, should be the one the applicant is seeking funding for, and should be located outside of the applicant’s country of citizenship and residence.

(v) Applicants are advised to draft a JJ/WBGSP Scholarship Application but refrain from submitting it until they have uploaded an unconditional Letter of Acceptance from a participating master’s degree program.

For more detailed information about the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program, interested candidates can find additional resources and updates on the program’s official website.

Interested in the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program. LEARN MORE.

Mode of Selection

The evaluation process for eligible scholarship applications from developing country nationals in the JJ/WBGSP follows a specific procedure designed to identify candidates who have the greatest potential to make a significant impact on the development of their respective countries after completing their graduate studies. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Each application is reviewed independently by two qualified assessors. They assess and score the applications on a scale of 1 to 10. The assessment considers four key factors and the level of coherence among them:
  • Quality of Professional Experience (30% weight)
  • Quality of Professional Recommendations (30% weight)
  • Quality of Commitment to the Home Country (30% weight)
  • Quality of Education Background (10% weight)
  1. The average score given by the two assessors is used by the JJ/WBGSP Secretariat to select the finalists. During the selection process, the following criteria are taken into account:
  • Ensuring a reasonable distribution of awards across different geographic regions.
  • Ensuring a fair distribution of awards across genders.
  • Considering any unusual circumstances or hardships faced by the applicants when assessing their employment experience and other aspects.
  • Giving priority to applicants with limited financial resources for graduate studies abroad, given that all other factors are equal.
  1. The finalists for the Participating Program scholarship are presented to the JJ/WBG Steering Committee. This committee includes members of the World Bank Board of Directors and WB management. Final approval is obtained from the JJ/WBG Steering Committee, and the winners are promptly notified.

Through this rigorous evaluation process, the JJ/WBGSP aims to identify and support individuals who demonstrate strong potential to contribute meaningfully to the development of their home countries.


Please note that if you are not admitted to one of the 49 Participating Master’s Programs, you will not be eligible to apply for a JJWBGSP Scholarship in 2024.

To align with the academic calendars of the JJWBGSP Participating Programs, the application process for 2024 will be divided into two rounds:

Application Window #1: From January 15 to February 29, 2024, at 12:00 noon EST, applications will be accepted for the JJWBGSP Participating Programs that are currently open for applications.

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