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Inside the CDE

Conf Historical Persistence in Comparative Development Conference

henry bruton The passing of Professor Henry Bruton

Meet the Class of 2015: 30 students from 22 different countries

rc2Brochure: General information about applying to the CDE program

rc3aWorking Papers: On economic development topics

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Admission and Funding

admission11Before You Apply

Please read through all information on this page before completing the Application so that you are aware of all requirements of the admission process.

Admission to the CDE is very competitive. Each year there are many more applicants (more than 300 in 2014) than available places. Selection is based not only on specific high qualifications (see below), but also on who would benefit most from the program. In addition, interview results and at least one reference are important factors.

Candidates are responsible for securing their own financial support for studies at the CDE. Candidates should first explore the possibility of training funds from their government. The CDE will work with individual governments and sponsoring agencies to assist in this process whenever possible.

Application Documents and Forms

To complete an application, you need to submit by December 1, 2014 Extended deadline January 5, 2015:

  • Application Form(.doc or .pdf)
  • Data Form (.xls or .xlsx only)
  • Your CV (1-2 pages only)
  • Transcript of your first university degree showing individual courses and grades received
  • Proof of nationality and date of birth (copy of passport or birth certificate)
  • Scores from the GRE general test submitted by December 15 (Required if the GRE is offered in your country as a computer based test )
  • Scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam by December 15 (Not required if the sole language of instruction at your university was English)
  • Professional (not academic) reference on the official reference form submitted to Williams College directly by your referee by January 1 (a second professional reference is optional)

Begin your application here


There are a number of international scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Review the funding information and apply for as many scholarships as possible. This list is not exhaustive and you should explore other potential sources of funding as well.

  • An undergraduate degree with superior performance (many candidates also have master’s degrees from local or regional universities)
  • Work experience on economic development issues, as would be gained for example in central banks, finance ministries, offices of the President or Prime Minister, departments or ministries of agriculture, health, environment. Applications from the NGO sector also are welcome.
  • Minimum TOEFL score of 550/PBT, 213/CBT, 79/iBT; or IELTS overall score of 6.0
  • Good results on the GRE General Test or GMAT (required if offered as a computer based test in your country, otherwise strongly recommended)
Admissions Timeline for the 2015-2016 session of the MA in Policy Economics:
  • September 2014 through December 2014: Candidates submit written applications. Candidates should register for the GRE (required if computer based exam is offered in country of residence) and the TOEFL or IELTS exam (test of English Proficiency). GRE and TOEFL tests should be taken no later than December 2014.
  • January 2015: In countries where the Graduate Record Exam is not available, Williams College may invite a small number of highly qualified candidates to take a math test. Following the math test, interviews for the top candidates are conducted by telephone from Massachusetts.
  • February – March 2015: Admissions decisions are made. Williams College faculty and staff review the information we have collected from individual applicants and make final admissions decisions.
  • March – June 2015: Funding work. Admission to the MA in Policy Economics does not guarantee a scholarship or other funding. Instead, we help admitted applicants to try and arrange funding.
  • July 2015: The USA visa process. This can visa can take several weeks..
  • August 2015 – June 2016: Intensive MA in Policy Economics in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Following the June graduation, students are required to return to their home countries.

Graduates of the MA in Policy Economics program assist us in the admissions process by arranging logistics for the math test. These alumni do not have a role in determining who is invited to the test, in scoring the test, or in making admissions decisions. Only the staff and faculty of the Williams College Center for Development Economics are involved in admissions decisions.

Please understand that the admissions process is highly competitive. We receive several hundred applications for 30 places in the program. Each year there are many talented candidates to whom we cannot offer admission.

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