Admission and Funding

The MA In Policy Economics is NOT accepting applications this year.  Please check back on our website in September 2021 for updated application guidelines and forms.

Before 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 MA in Policy Economics program at the Williams College Center for Development Economics (CDE) is very competitive. Each year there are many more applicants 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 employer or government. The CDE will work with individual governments and sponsoring agencies to assist in this process whenever possible. In addition, limited scholarship funds are available directly from Williams College. All admitted applicants are considered for these scholarships.

Application Documents and Forms

To complete an application, you need to submit by December 1, 2019:


  • Application: Part 1


  • Application: Part 2 (official form)
  • Personal Statement (official form)
  • Your CV (1-2 pages only)
  • University transcripts showing individual courses taken and grades received for all university degrees earned
  • Passport information page(if you do not have a passport, submit your birth certificate))
  • Scores from the GRE general test (Required only if the GRE is offered in your country as a computer based test)
  • Scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam (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 December 15 (a second professional reference is optional) Reference should be emailed by the referee to [email protected]

Begin your application here


There are a number of international scholarships for which you may be eligible.  Limited scholarship funding is available directly from Williams College.

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.

  • Citizenship of a developing country and eligibility for a United States J-1 “Exchange Visitor” visa (those holding US citizenship or permanent residency are not eligible for admission)
  • An undergraduate degree with superior performance (many candidates also have master’s degrees from local or regional universities)
  • Work experience on economic development issues. Such experience may be gained in central banks, finance ministries, offices of the President or Prime Minister, departments or ministries of planning, agriculture, health, or environment. Applications from the NGO sector also are welcome. We generally do not consider applications for those whose experience is exclusively in the private sector.
  • Minimum TOEFL score of 550/PBT, 213/CBT, 79/iBT; or IELTS overall score of 6.0
  • Good results on the GRE General Test (required if offered as a computer based test in your country, otherwise strongly recommended). GMAT scores also accepted.

Admissions Timeline for the 2020-2021 session of the MA in Policy Economics:

  • August 2019 through December 1, 2019: 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 2019.
  • January 2020: In countries where the Graduate Record Exam is not available, Williams College may invite a small number of highly qualified candidates to take a proprietary math and reading test*.
  • January-February 2020: Interviews for the top candidates are conducted by telephone.
  • February-March 2020: 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 2020: Admitted candidates apply for funding. Admission to the MA in Policy Economics does not guarantee a scholarship or other funding. We do offer assistance to admitted applicants to try to arrange funding.
  • June 2020: Admitted students with confirmed funding apply for US visas. This process can take several weeks.
  • August 2020-June 2021: 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 and reading test. These alumni do not have a role in determining who is invited to take 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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