Scholarship Programs

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
August 2006
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Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia

The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia is a program for graduate studies in macroeconomics or related fields at several leading universities in Japan. The objective of the program is to contribute to institutional capacity building of transition and developing economies, by providing educational opportunities to promising junior officials in central banks or in ministries of finance, economy, or planning in East and Central Asia and the Pacific region.13

The program, which is operated under the JSA, currently awards up to 55 scholarships a year. For the academic year 2005, 40 new scholarships were awarded, and a total of 50 scholars were studying in Japan under the program.14 There are two forms of scholarships. Scholars accepted under the “partnership track” participate in specially designed master’s courses offered by one of four partnership universities,15 whereas the “open track” is available to candidates who have already been accepted to a graduate-level program, at either the master’s or PhD level, in macroeconomics or a related field at any leading university in Japan. The program is currently administered by the IMF’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Tokyo.

A set of skill-refreshing courses (SRCs) was introduced for the 2005 scholar group, which aimed to better prepare scholars by offering math and English courses prior to commencement of their regular studies at the participating universities. Thirty-two of 40 new scholars participated in the SRC conducted at the International University of Japan.

Since the first students were accepted under the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Asia in 1993, a total of 351 scholarships have been awarded, and by the end of the academic year 2004, 246 scholars had graduated from the partnership universities. Table 6 shows the distribution of scholars by their country and organizational affiliation. Most scholars have expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the program and subsequently with the career opportunities that have opened to them.

A number have taken up mid- to senior-level positions in their respective agencies, and have direct input into policy initiatives.

Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies

Japan also provides financial support for a scholarship program for qualified Asian nationals who want to study economics at the doctoral level at one of the leading universities in North America to pursue a career at the IMF or in their home country governments. The program covers tuition and reasonable costs for two years of study; scholars are expected to cover the remaining years of study, typically through additional funding from their universities.

The Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies, which is administered by the IMF Institute, began with a class of nine scholars seeking to obtain a PhD in economics in the 1996 academic year. In each succeeding year, 15 scholars from Asian countries who have independently gained admission to a leading U.S. or Canadian university in the field of economics have received this scholarship.

An annual orientation program for each incoming group of scholars is conducted at the IMF in Washington, D.C., to expose scholars to the IMF and to provide them with an opportunity to meet other scholars embarking on the same studies. At the end of the third year of study, scholars are expected to complete a 10- to 13-week summer internship at one of the departments of the IMF, during which they engage in supervised research and other professional work under the guidance of an experienced IMF economist. Thus far, all eligible scholars have completed their internships.

The number of applications received has grown significantly over the years, with well over 100 applications received in each of the past three years from a growing number of countries. The quality of the applicants has also improved, in terms of both their academic record and graduate school examination scores. While participating in the scholarship program, scholars are also required to maintain high grades and good academic standing. The high academic standards of the program are now widely recognized. Many distinguished universities in Asia and North America recommend that their students apply. Table 7 shows the distribution of scholars by country since the beginning of the scholarship program, and Table 8 lists the universities attended by the scholars and the number of scholars at each institution during the program.

Table 7.Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies: Number of Scholars by Country, 1996–2006
Number of ScholarsScholars per CountryRepresentation per Country
China (including
Hong Kong SAR)252422111112214.0
Kyrgyz Republic0000001110032.0
Table 8.Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies: Number of Scholars by University, 1996–2006
Number of Scholars
United States
1. Boston University12126
2. Brandeis University11
3. Brown University1212111110
4. Columbia University2311152116
5. Cornell University12115
6. Duke University211116
7. Georgetown University1416
8. Harvard University1113
9. Indiana University11
10. Johns Hopkins University11125
11. Massachusetts Institute of11
12. New York University12216
13. Northwestern University11
14. Ohio State University, Columbus224
15. Princeton University22
16. Stanford University1231119
17. University of California, Berkeley112
18. University of California, Los Angeles1311118
19. University of California, San Diego1113
20. University of Chicago1112122111
21. University of Illinois-11
22. University of Maryland, College Park11114
23. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor212117
24. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis1111127
25. University of Pennsylvania1231119
26. University of Rochester11114
27. University of Texas, Austin112
28. University of Virginia112
29. University of Washington, Seattle11
30. University of Wisconsin, Madison111418
31. Vanderbilt University112
32. Yale University11114
33. McGill University11
34. University of British Columbia11
35. University of Toronto11

A total of about 60 scholars have graduated with PhD degrees in economics; 16 of them have joined the IMF’s staff. In addition, one scholar has worked as a professional consultant to the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office while completing her PhD program. In FY2006, five scholars—two from Japan and one each from Hong Kong SAR, Korea, and Tajikistan—joined the IMF’s Economist Program, which is the main entry point for economists seeking to join the organization after completion of their studies. This is the highest number in any year since the inception of the scholarship program. Table 9 shows the employment of graduates from the first eight intakes—that is, academic years 1996–2003.16

Table 9.Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies: Employment of Graduates from the 1996–2003 Programs
IMF Economist Program04042100
IMF mid-career economist01000000
IMF other employment00001000
Other international organization00000000
Academic position31510111
Studies in progress000110121211

During 2004, the IMF Institute, with the assistance of the Institute of International Education, conducted a tracer study to locate and obtain information on the professional career paths and profiles of past scholars, with contact information updated in 2005. Notably, scholars express a high degree of satisfaction with the scholarship program and their internships, and an increasing proportion of scholarship program graduates are applying for the IMF’s Economist Program.

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