The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program (JISPA) Partnership Universities

The JISPA offers graduate-level scholarships for study in Japan. Its objective is to contribute to institutional capacity building in economic policymaking to promote the sustainable growth of emerging and developing economies in Asia and the Pacific.

Level: graduate
Study in: Japan: National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Hitotsubashi University, International University of Japan (IUJ), University of Tokyo (UT)
Disciplines: focus on banking and other financial sector issues, in addition to core macroeconomics subjects.
Quota: 36
Application Deadline: December 10, 2011
Benefits: tuition-related costs and most living expenses

Since its inception in 1993, the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia (JISPA) has targeted promising junior officials from key economic policymaking agencies as part of the International Monetary Fund’s capacity building efforts. With the long-lasting support of the Government of Japan and under the administration of the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo, the JISPA has awarded graduate-level scholarships for study in Japan to nearly 530 officials from over 20 emerging and developing economies in the Asia and the Pacific region.

JISPA graduating scholars now occupy key positions in macroeconomic agencies in the region, including senior positions in central banks and ministries of finance. Against this background, the JISPA has developed a solid reputation and established itself as a prestigious program among Asian officials. The JISPA is evolving to meet the changing needs of the macroeconomic management agencies under this rapidly challenging global economic environment. The curriculum offered by each partnership university provides a greater focus on banking and other financial sector issues, in addition to core macroeconomics subjects.

The JISPA targets highly motivated government officials who may serve as future macroeconomic policy makers with the capacity and vision to contribute effectively to the economic development of their countries. Scholarship awards are made on the basis of the candidate’s academic record and work background, mathematical and statistics skills, English language proficiency, and potential for contributing to the macroeconomic and financial management and economic development of their country. The assessment also includes qualities such as the candidate’s commitment to public service, willingness to learn, and openness to new ideas.

The scholarship covers tuition-related costs and most living expenses for the scholar herself/himself. Officials who receive the JISPA scholarship cannot accept other scholarships. Scholars are expected to devote full time to their studies while in Japan. The program comprises two tracks: the partnership track, discussed in Part II of this brochure, and the open track, discussed in Part III. Because of the strong competition for scholarships, the JISPA is highly selective. In 2012-13, a total of 36 new scholarships are available to candidates for the partnership track. There is no fixed limit on new scholarships for the open track, but generally only a small number of scholarships are awarded.

The partnership track of the JISPA allows scholars to study a specially designed graduate level course concentrating on
macroeconomics at an IMF partnership university. The partnership universities are:

  • National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS): one-year and two-year programs
  • Hitotsubashi University: two-year program
  • International University of Japan (IUJ): two-year program
  • University of Tokyo (UT): two-year program All subjects, including the thesis component, are taught entirely in English.

The universities offer subjects that cover essential elements that will allow scholars to enter the macroeconomic policy dialogue at an international level.
All of the universities have a strong macroeconomicoriented focus on:
(1) macroeconomic policy formulation;
(2) central banking and monetary policy;
(3) financial markets and institutions.

They also offer various optional subjects that will allow scholars to pursue their particular interests, relevant to the topic of their master’s thesis or policy research paper. This thesis component is considered one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of
the program.

Subjects are taught by dedicated professors, many of whom have experience working as professionals of the IMF, World Bank, and other international institutions, as well as senior government officials.

The application deadline for the partnership track is December 10, 2011. After an initial screening of applications, selected candidates will be contacted by the IMF to arrange an interview, which is typically done in their countries with representatives from the partnership universities.

A math and/or English examination may also be administered at this time. Final selection will be made on the basis of the interview, math and English competencies, the application form, and any other supplementary information.


The scholarship covers tuition-related costs and most living expenses for the scholar herself/himself.


Under current program guidelines, candidates must be a national of one of the following countries:
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao P.D.R., Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pacific Island Countries, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

Candidates should also currently work for employment from one of the following or related government agencies: central bank, ministry of economy, ministry of finance, ministry of planning/development, ministry of trade/commerce, tax administration, national statistics bureau, or financial regulatory agencies. The program will also consider officials working in other areas of government that have a significant impact on the formulation or implementation of macroeconomic policy.

Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent with at least 16 years of formal education. Names of schools and attending dates beginning from primary school must be listed in the application. In some cases, 15 years of formal education may be accepted if there is an official explanation (a country’s particular educational system or other exceptional circumstances).

Applicants must have an English language proficiency, which needs to be demonstrated as equivalent to or more than an official TOEFL score of 550, CBT213, or iBT79-80. If TOEFL scores are not available, then an overall IELTS score of at least 6.0 can be substituted.

Priority is given to applicants (1) whose age is below 40; and (2) who have not yet obtained a master’s degree from a university outside of their own country.

How to Apply

For both the partnership and open track, eligible candidates should submit the following:

1. Completed application form (preferably typed). The applicant for the partnership track is requested to apply through the online application system which is available on the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific website at http://www.imf.org/external/oap/schol.htm

2. Official transcripts and official copies of diplomas or degree certificates from all undergraduate and graduate schools. An official copy means a certified copy of the original document with an official seal obtained from the administration office of the university attended. Copies attested by organizations/persons not having notarized/legal bearing will not be accepted.

3. Two reference letters: References should be from applicants’ supervisor at work and/or an academic advisor or professor.

4. TOEFL/IELTS certificate (if available): The TOEFL/IELTS test score must be from an examination taken after December 10, 2009. If a score is unavailable, the applicant will be requested to sit for a TOEFL/IELTS examination prior to receiving a final decision on the scholarship award. For the open track only, eligible candidates should also submit the following:

5. Admission letter or enrollment certificate of the University of Choice (open track applicants only): Applicants for partnership track are not requested.

All submitted application material must be presented in English or be accompanied by an official English translation. The material will be considered under the control of the IMF and provided to the relevant schoo (s) and the Government of Japan as it sees appropriate. None of the material will be returned to applicants.

Application material should be sent by mail to the IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (see address below).

Application Deadline
December 10, 2011

More Information

For further information on the application procedure, please contact:

Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia
IMF Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
21st Floor Fukoku-Seimei Building
2-2-2 Uchisaiwai-cho
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0011
Tel. +81 3 3597-6708
Fax +81 3 3597-6705
Email: jisais@imf.org
Website : http://www.imf.org/external/oap/schol.htm
Download brochure: http://www.imf.org/external/oap/pdf/JISPA2012_web.pdf