About JICA

According to Wikipedia, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, often abbreviated as JICA, is a governmental agency that coordinates official development assistance for the government of Japan. It is chartered with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries, and the promotion of international cooperation. JICA is responsible for establishing a wide range of initiatives that promote international cooperation between Japan and developing countries. 

Scholarships Offered by JICA

In the educational realm, JICA sponsors a number of scholarships for those interested in pursuing higher studies in Japan. One particularly well-known scholarship is called Innovative Asia in which the organization annually awards the scholarship to almost 200 students from South and Southeast Asian countries, which are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

After you have finished your bachelor’s degree at a partner university with JICA in your home country, you will have a chance to be sponsored to continue to advance to your Master’s or PhD degree at a Japanese university afterwards. There is a list of universities that partner with JICA, which consist of top tier universities in each respective country. 

The Innovative Asia scholarship covers the following expenses for participants of the program.

  • Tuition at Japanese university master’s/ doctor’s degree programs (and research student) (actual cost)
  • Allowances for living expenses (fixed amount)
  • Outfit allowance (general outfit and shipping) (fixed amount)
  • Mobilization allowance (fixed amount)
  • Moving allowance (lump-sum payment for rental contract)
  • Books (fixed amount)
  • Interior research (fixed amount)
  • A round-trip airfare (actual cost)
  • Expenses for support programs during the study in Japan, including the costs of observation tours and internship (actual cost)
  • Tuition for Japanese language and business manner training (fixed amount)

Besides the Innovative Asia scholarship as an example above, JICA also offers a wide range of scholarships depending on the nationality of applicants. Some other JICA scholarships for Master’s and PhD programs include: 

  • Republic of the Union of Myanmar Long-term Training Course on Administrative Capacity Development: a program developed to promote the administrative capacity of public servants in Myanmar
  • African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative): a program offered for young Africans in both the public and private sectors with the goal of developing human resources to support the development of the private sector in Africa, and to promote cooperation and collaboration with Japan and Japan’s private sector. After finishing their Master’s degree at a top-tier Japanese university, students will be placed for an internship at Japanese company afterwards for 6 months. 
  • Project for the Promotion and Enhancement of the Afghan Capacity for Effective Development (PEACE): the goal of the program is the enhancement of infrastructure development and agriculture /rural development by improving the professional capabilities of the ministries. 
  • SDGs Global Leaders Course: a program for government employees, university professors, and other professional experts… from the countries of ASEAN, Oceania, South, East, and Central Asia, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. By participating in the program, these professionals in the academia or the public sector can hone their skills and experience to become the potential leaders of the future, and to develop their capacity to assist their countries in meeting their Sustainable Development Goals by allowing participants to earn either a Master’s or Doctoral degree at a high level Japanese university

How to Apply for JICA Scholarship at PhD Level 

In order to apply for JICA Scholarship, applicants will have to undergo these steps. 

First, they will need to acquire the agreement to supervise from a faculty member of a program that they are interested in. A number of universities offer the matching service, for example, the e3 program Hokkaido University, which helps match students and supervisors. In the case that the applicant has not received acceptance from a prospective supervisor, they are strongly recommended to submit their application documents on the online system of the program during the matching period so that e3 office will forward your documents to your prospective supervisor.

Once the applicant clears this round, they can proceed to the next steps of document check. Applicants shall receive the notification of the results of this round after approximately 2 weeks. Compulsory documents to apply for the Doctoral program typically include:

  1. Application form. Applicants are required to provide information on their personal and educational and/ or employment history. 
  2. Photos of approximately 3.5 x 4.5 cm
  3. Research proposal. Applicants will need to explain in detail about their motivation to apply for the Doctoral program, the purpose of their research, and the methods of how they plan to conduct their research, as well as their research history.
  4. Abstract(s) of publication(s) including conferences in which the applicant is the first author. The abstract is accompanied with full reference information including: name(s) of the author(s), title, and publication information.
  5. Academic transcripts of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree.
  6. For those who are expecting to graduate, applicants are required to submit the originals or certified copies of graduation certificates for each graduated program.
  7. Recommendation letters from supervisor in the most recently graduated /expected to graduate program, or others familiar with your academic or professional work. Depending on the school, some universities might require two to three recommendation letters. 
  8. Documents to prove English proficiency. On average, the minimum English proficiency requirements are: TOEFL iBT Test:79; TOEFL PBT: 550; IELTS: 6.0; TOEIC L&R: 730. Applicants need to require the test organizers to directly send the proficiency certificate to the university based on the institution code of that university. 
  9. Photocopy of passport


With the aim of strengthening the connection between Japan and countries that Japan provides official development assistance, JICA also plays an important role in sharpening the human capital capabilities of these countries. With a generous amount of scholarships available for PhD students, JICA is helping to fuel the dreams of many aspiring professionals in the developing world to make their nations a better place for future generations.